Friday, July 27, 2007

'I might be mentally ill'

My last ride of the night was Scooter, a regular who's always plastered. He works at a lawn and patio store in my zone, and every cab driver around here knows him. All the bartenders do, too. He's usually so drunk he can hardly walk, and tonight was no exception. Sometimes he's wasted when we pick him up at work, meaning he drinks on the job. Some of the other workers at that place drink heavily, too. Be careful where you buy your potting soil.

When I got the bell the dispatcher said to go to a bar to pick up Scooter. The other driver I was next to on the cab stand said: "Think he's drunk enough for a 20?" We all know that when Scooter's really hammered, he gives a $20 for his short rides (usually $6 on the meter). I responded: "It's after 1, so hopefully."

I brought him from the bar to his house. I didn't run the meter, and he didn't need to tell me the address. On the way there he was mumbling to himself. I caught, "I might be mentally ill."

Me: You think so?

Him: Maybe. I drink so much...

Sad thing, he may be right. Alcoholism and mental illness go together quite often. He gave me $20 and said he'd be out again tomorrow night, then literally staggered off towards his apartment building.

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