Thursday, July 31, 2008

My old cab partner and a lot of cursing

An old mystery has been solved. I do a lot of personal stuff in North Park -- renting movies, going to restaurants, etc. I don't live there, but I like the area. Once in a while somebody would yell at me as I drove along. Usually it was prophane, like: "Cabbie get the fuck out of my neighborhood!" Once it was: "We don't like fucking taxis around here! Fuck off!"

I would always scan around, but I never saw the perpetrator. The North Park crank is the third time I found somebody who had an irrational hatred of cabbies -- maybe sometime in the past these people got taken the long way round, and their hatred is deep at this point. Who knows? It's not uncommon, so I pay it no mind.

Well, Saturday night I was in the middle of a long ride, and we made a stop at the Pink Elephant at 30th and University. I was waiting while one of my two passengers ran into the bar to find a friend, then we were going to continue on to El Cajon. Somebody came to the passenger window and said, "Can I have a ride?" Without really looking, I said, "No, I'm driving someone right now," and motioned to the back seat. The guy repeated the statement, like an idiot. This is typical of some of the people we find on the streets.

Finally I looked right at him, and it was Tom, a former cab partner of mine. Even though he left the company under a cloud, and sort of left me holding the bag, there were no hard feelings. Being a former cabbie, he knew exactly how to imitate a dumb customer. We laughed and chatted while I waited for my customer to come back.

Then, hearing his voice again, everything clicked. I accused him of being the guy who tells me to "fuck off" whenever I'm around the area. He admitted it, and we had a great laugh at that. "Yeah," he said, "I see you around here all the time. I'm just messing with you." I asked him if he'd ever run into random citizens who actually do that to cabbies, and he said yes, that's why he imitated it.

Tom is moving to Rhode Island in a few weeks. I wished him well.

As an aside, the two ladies I was driving at the time I met Tom were very entertaining. One lives in San Diego, and the other is a friend visiting from Arizona. They had been out drinking and told me about all the guys (described as pathetic) who tried to take them home.

They said one even tried the "cancer approach." It has been tried many times in the past, they said. Apparently some guy had bought them drinks and ended up saying that because he has cancer and doesn't have long to live, maybe they could have a threesome?

I asked them if he could have been telling the truth. They thought not, considering how often they've heard the line. "Besides," one of them said, "cancer isn't very original." Eventually there was a lull in the conversation, and I said: "Did I mention I have Lou Gherig's Disease?" That brought gales of laughter, but alas, it wasn't effective.

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