Black is Beautiful

Color no border

Thanks for indulging your driver with last week’s detour, folks!
Now, it’s back to our regularly scheduled ride…

Christian – night cabbie, best friend and Spermula band mate, called me late last night with some juicy gossip. (Actually, 4am is simply “morning” for the day driver.)

Apparently, a politically-active firecracker we know named Tyler (works for Luxor Cab) was involved in a high speed chase around Union Square. It was with some rich kids come in from the ‘burbs of Marin – from over the Golden Gate, to drive around San Francisco for some late night fun egging cars. But Tyler is NOT one that you egg! (He once slashed the tires of a Lyft on Polk Street just cause the dude was breathing. And with the driver STILL in the vehicle, engine running!)

Story goes that around three in the morning, Tyler was in the Westin St. Francis cab line in trendy Union Square across from the plaza. He was blasting techno full volume from his taxi while waiting for his turn to bribe the doorman for an airport… and with his windows ALL down. So, these kids come rounding the corner from Post Street, screeching tires and hanging out of their Cadillac Escalade all yelling obscenities – unquestionably, hopped up on goofballs, before proceeding to bombard Tyler and the whole of the INSIDE of his Luxor with eggs! (They made a real yolk of his cab!)

Note: Christian says he thinks it was the loud techno that got the Marin Boys’ attention.

Anyway, TYLER GIVES CHASE!!

The Escalade led, ZOOMING around late night partiers and cable cars, running circles (and red lights) around the square at high speeds, with red light cameras FLASHING on them every couple blocks! And this, with Tyler in HOT PURSUIT in his taxi and yelling over his CB radio for Luxor’s dispatch to call the police!

Eventually, the cops DID catch up to the chase and Tyler fell back, lest he get cited, too. (Not sure how he’ll handle the red light cameras.)

Ultimately, the Marin Boys, not being from the city, took an ignorant turn down Powell Street thinking that they could access Market and maybe make their escape to the highway. (Best guess.) But SOUTH down Powell leads to a dead end at a pedestrian plaza just BEFORE Market… AT THE HISTORIC CABLE CAR TURNAROUND!! The Marin Boys crashed their Escalade into some cement pillars there, and then all jumped out trying to make a run for it on foot, to no avail. The cops were all over them. Apparently, it was quite the scene, with guns drawn and knees in the Marin Boys’ backs, and such.

Needless to say, Tyler parked his cab and approached the scene to jeer the kids. Then, Tyler told the police he wanted to collect on the $100 vomit charge from their prisoners, for his impending cab clean up. It’s a San Francisco MTA regulation: $100 for any bodily fluids dispersed in the taxi, resulting in the need for significant clean-up and/or time down. (It does not specify, human or chicken.)

I haven’t checked if it’s a full moon, but with this craziness in the air, I wonder what it portends for MY day! Hopefully, nothing. Hopefully, I will have a nice, boring Monday, with nothing to report to you. Okay?

On that note…
5:15am:
I’m in my “regular” Ford Fusion spare – 2976, and alcohol wiping her insides down, out in the Citizen’s Cab lot. Think we’ll start out mellow, just to keep things cool whilst I sanitize, with some KDFC 90.FM classical… Ah, Debussy!
Late in the day…
2:35pm:
Success!!

A boring day! (With mediocre money!) And nothing to report!

Suddenly, a voice rings out through the Fillmore “Jazz” district, as I roll through cruising for flags. And just when I was considering whether to quit while ahead. (Well, while mediocre.)

Hmm…

But that raspy, gruff sound that’s breaking the Fillmore air, barking, “TAXI!” – though decidedly NOT jazz – still, tugs at my heart…

Someone needs a ride.

I pull hard over to the curb, and check my rear view to see from whence this plea originates… It’s a down on their luck-looking black couple, who are now hobbling up towards 2976, from the bus stop at Turk in front of the police station. (And right across from where there was a recent gang hit, point blank, on a dude who was found at a considerable disadvantage, riding shotgun in a car trapped in the McDonald’s drive-thru here. Which is also RIGHT ACROSS from the POLICE STATION! How embarrassing!)

As I continue to size up my new fares in the rear view, I take note as the skinny middle aged male half of the couple rushes for my back seat – with a brown paper bag in hand, obviously concealing a bottle, of something. It’s more his female partner, with her dyed purple, straightened hair, and cane, ABOUT 500 POUNDS OF HER, that’s “hobbling” towards the cab. And with a series of ripples emanating outwards from her MASSIVE thighs, out THROUGH her tight black yoga pants, with EVERY waddle…

Jeez. I feel for LaQuisha. This must be a rough life.

J.J. pops in back and slides over, before looking anxiously back through the rear window of the cab for his love, and holding the door open in anticipation. Or more likely, for fear that cabbie will drive off before she makes it. (I get the sense J.J. has not been treated well by other hacks.)

Two minutes later…

LaQuisha braces herself on the roof of the taxi, throws her cane in to J.J., and then slams herself into the back seat next to him. And 2976 sinks down low, REAL low, mainly on LaQuisha’s side.

Then J.J. slurs, “Drivah! We makin’… cuple stahps. You kno dat Boos’ Mo’bil ahn Ma’ket? Aht 6th? Mabee 7. Sumwher ‘roun dere. Maybee 8thhh… I tell you, wher ta go. I di-rec you, drivah. ‘N maaaan, don leeve us! You don woree… You gittin payed.”

Then, a sweet voiced, seemingly emotionally intelligent (and seemingly sober) LaQuisha, “I apologize for my husband, driver. He’s doesn’t handle his liquor well. We need to go to Boost Mobile on Market, first. I’ll need to run in there and pay my bill there. Could you please wait? Then, we’ll be needing a ride to 8th and Mission.”

Driver, “No problem. I will be your chauffeur. Like Driving Ms. Daisy… er, but in reverse! Boost Mobile on Market, it is. Then, 8th and Mission. But I forget exactly which block Boost is on… 6th or 7th sounds about right. But there are no left turns on Market, so it would be good to approach it from the right direction. You seem like good people, though. If we hit it wrong and there aren’t any cops, I’ll swing a U for you.”

I check the rear view to find LaQuisha smiling big at my Driving Ms. Daisy remark. That’s cool. But, whatever. This is my job. This is not even a case of white guilt. It’s nothing. The only color I see here is green. Besides, I like driving “real people” as Ms. Palin puts it. It’s sad that J.J. is even worried about getting ditched. (Though, I suspect he has good reason for concern.)

As we roll down Golden Gate towards Market, J.J. continues slurring out incoherent directions, mostly openly surmising about turns going the wrong way onto one-way streets, and flailing while trying to remember exactly which block “Boos Mo’bil” is on. J.J.’s WAY drunk, and still rambling about me not leaving them after the first leg of their ride.

Then, as we roll down McAllister, passing City Hall and the United States District Court, J.J. suddenly throws his now empty bottle out of the window and onto the sidewalk.

And LaQuisha is NOT happy! (Nor, am I.)

La Quisha, “J.J., what the hell you doin! Don’t be disrespectin’ our driver!! He’s gonna git a ticket!!”

Then LaQuisha softens, as she looks to address Driver in the rear view.

“I am so sorry for my husband, driver. I’ll keep a watch on him. He won’t do anything like that again. I apologize.”

Driver, “Yeah, probably not the best idea throwing liquor bottles out of the cab around here, what with all the cops around Civic Center and all. It’s actually legal for you guys to drink in the cab. But not really to throw out bottles.”

J.J. barks at the information, “Ye-ah! My lass drivah try ‘n kick me owt fer drinkin’! ‘N iss leegal!”

In an attempt to make light, for the sake of my now embarrassed LaQuisha, Driver laughs it all off nervously, with, “But it’s NOT legal for ME to drink!”

And with that, I raise up my two-thirds empty water bottle, adding, “So don’t tell anybody this is actually vodka I’m drinking! Ok!?”

I check the rear view…

Alex Sack

Alex Sack, born 1970, is a taxi driver who grew up in the Washington D.C. suburbs of Maryland. He attended several different colleges and universities around the D.C./Baltimore region as a music major for 4 & 1/2 years before quitting - pre-diploma - to the horror of his father. He tried his hand as a professional musician/songwriter seeing him through travels domiciled in New York City’s East Village, Los Angeles (where he scored a few songs on The Disney Channel's 'Even Stevens') and San Francisco - where he's ultimately put down roots. Alex is a single dad to two boys, currently ages 14 and (a hormonal) 16. His post-natal fallback occupation as Operations Assistant at a start-up clean-tech engineering consultancy came to a sudden end with the one-two punch of the owner’s fatal skiing accident in Tahoe and the subsequent downturn in the economy.This - and an acquired nervous twitch to cubicle work - has led to his latest job...

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