3.24.2009

Drivers & Riders



Part III of a three-part reverse-chronological series.

Image: An animal more commonly seen in New York City, a Sikh taxi-cab driver from India or Pakistan poses for a photographer. In D.C., we have more Arabs drivers but also many from West Africa.

**

Dozens of area cab drivers urged the D.C. Council last week to rescind aspects of the law that last year changed the zone system to metered fares, arguing their profits had fallen by 30-40 percent.

Though the city won’t return to the Byzantine zone system, by which cab drivers assessed fares based on any number of considerations, including weather, baggage and personal temperament, the drivers made some fair points. The drivers argued at an oversight hearing of the D.C. Taxicab Commission that they should be allowed pick up multiple passengers per ride and to assess higher fares for longer distances.

**

After hailing a cab in Georgetown one night, I find myself trapped inside of a fast-moving box of steel and plastic that smells vaguely of musk.

As we speed down M Street, the Arab man turns to regard me. “Do you know the trouble with the world?” he says.

I do. It’s the Jews.

**


In Melbourne, the cabbies and livery drivers are mostly white—and they don’t blame the Jews, only the Arabs.

Indeed, Australia teems with working-class whites doing the most ridiculous jobs unseen in America. A beautiful young woman, a marketing or sales type here, a graduate of Sarah Lawrence, picks up cigarette butts with one of those long implements used to pick up cigarette butts. Nearby, another young woman—a pretty redhead I name “Sheila”—drives past on a forklift. She is smoking a cigarette.

As we drive at a steady (and slow) 100 kilometers-per-hour, the lanky Anglo man turns over his left shoulder to regard me.

“Do you know the problem with the world?"

I do. It’s the Arabs.

**


In my hotel suite, I turn on the television and there’s Ellen Degeneres, talking about Twittering. So I’ve never really spent much time overseas and there’s Ellen, telling a story about visiting the Parthenon and then tweeting about it, so I send a Twitter and someone in Canada says, “Hey, I’m watching Ellen Degeneres right now, too!” Except that’s a lie because of the time difference and it’s not even a live show anyway.

Ellen does not mention the Jews and Arabs. She dances.

**

In my two-state solution for the city’s hired car business, I propose modestly that we accede drivers their demands, as they work hard, 12-hour shifts, many of them, to provide the rest of us with a valued service.

Yet, they must give, too. In the solution, cab drivers may discuss only local politics, weather and sports, steering clear of the international realm. Thus, cab drivers may be permitted to discuss Jews only in the most pedestrian and neutral ways. For example:

“I understand Jews celebrate Festivus in October, as part of their 6,000-year cultural heritage.”

“Yes, I heard that, also. Very interesting.”

“You know, we Arabs and Jews have so much in common—except they have more nose hair, I think.”

“Sir, I’m going to have to report you.”

“What, what, what!? I’m just saying!”

**

In D.C., you better recognize a real cab driver, son.



**

This blogger does not have AIDS.

15 comments:

  1. Bill CosbyMarch 24, 2009

    M@,

    Remember to eat the Jello!

    ReplyDelete
  2. G
    E
    O
    R
    G
    E
    T
    O
    W
    N

    P
    R
    E
    P

    4

    L
    I
    F
    E
    !

    G
    P

    4

    L
    I
    F
    E
    !

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dead blog.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Another terrible fucking creative writing adventure from M@. Dude, just quit.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Huh? I don't get this. DC Cabs have their problem but these aren't them.

    Real problems:

    1. The cabbies who are one their phones non-stop, including quite a few who flaunt the hands free rules.

    2. No real licensing system. I had a cabbie once who was an extremely elderly gentleman who would not drive faster than 10 miles an hour, turning a 20 block trip into a 20 minute adventure. As an added bonus, even at that speed, he ran a stop sign an hit a pedestrian.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Why would anyone need to take a cab? Just how lazy do you gotta be? Or is it another way to show how important you are (when you're not)?

    Cab drivers. Cab passengers. Cars. Three good reasons to hate DC.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I used to live on Connecticut and what used to be Klingle Street. I found out that Klingle was border of one of the fare zones, so I would always walk one block south before hailing a cab. I was still routinely charged for 2 zones. So screw you, DC cabbies! I am glad they are losing money now.

    (Love the blog, by the way.)

    ReplyDelete
  8. funny post. shun the nonbeliever. shuuuuuuuuuuuuuun.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I once got in a throwdown with a cabbie. I got in the cab over by the Farragut North metro and headed over to Georgetown, its a 2 zone ride and the guy tried to say it was a three zone ride
    so after some heated arguing, I said, "lets call a cop", he said fine, "I wrote down where you got in the cab, it was ...". I said, "BS, I have a metro card that says I came off the metro @ farragut north". He took the 8.25, or whatever a 2 zone trip cost, with no tip and didn't bitch after that.

    Fuck the DC cabbies. VA cabbies seem to get by just fine and their fare structreis lower and they have far fewer places where they can pick up fares, while most of their fares are not likely to lead them someplace where they are close to picking up another fare.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I figure I can ride cabs twice a day, all month long, for less money than I'd spend on a buying and owning a personal vehicle.

    It's when you're not in a cab (driving behind them, or crossing the street) that you'd like to see them suffer a slow painful death.

    ReplyDelete
  11. When did the cabbie techinque of honking-horns-to-get-potential-fares'-attention start?

    Apparently it's common in Lagos, Nigeria.

    When I hear that bs, I yell out, "Taxi!" and keep walking. F them all. Or almost all.

    ReplyDelete
  12. How can someone write so much and say nothing?

    Huh M@?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Says the anon cunt who just chats shit with ZERO fucking content?

    Ha ha, tell you what, you make more of an effort and I'll stop fucking you up?

    DEAL OR NO DEAL BITCH?

    ReplyDelete
  14. AnonymousMay 08, 2009

    backseet riders you got no idea the stress of driving all day with amtatuers and tourists....

    ReplyDelete
  15. AnonymousMay 08, 2009

    Tell me about it...

    ReplyDelete