The Navel of a Hack

I’m kind of frazzled by all the traffic downtown. I’ve been bad by not eating breakfast lately, opting instead to just give my PB sandwich to whatever homeless guy I catch at a red. This probably doesn’t help with my mindset. And I’m back to feeling stuck and antsy to move.

It also does not help that, at present, I’m stuck in the slow moving left-turn lane that inevitably backs up on Main, before Market, in the thick of downtown. It’s been several light cycles spent waiting before the upcoming left turn onto Market, and I’m behind only one car, a Mercedes SUV, waiting for the green.

Cue Uber.

Suddenly, a white Prius with no plates pulls up on our left, adjacent the parking meters. And Uber lets out a passenger, and signals before squeezing around the crosswalk bulb-out to wedge in front of the Mercedes.


Uber just cut in front of a full block of waiting cars, including mine!


Well, no point in holding on to this. The light turns, Uber completes his wedge in front of the Mercedes, as yet ANOTHER Uber, a grey Honda minivan, with NO PASSENGER, comes ZOOMING up the parking lane and sweats ME, while  attempting to CUT IN between me and the MERCEDES!!!


I inch forward.

Uber inches forward and sideways, almost hitting both ME AND the MERCEDES!

And all are inching forward waiting for the heavily populated crosswalk on Market to clear for our left.


There’s an opening on my right, in the straight only lane. And I take it! FLOORING IT ahead and AROUND and to the side of the white Uber Prius and the black Mercedes SUV behind him, who are both waiting for pedestrian traffic to clear, while leaving grey Honda Uber minivan in the dust in the rear view.

Take THAT, Uber bitches!!!

And I promptly come to a red in the left of the two lanes on Market, at Davis.

There are two MUNI buses on my right, as Honda Uber Minivan pulls up behind me. And the light turns.

And Citizen’s Cab 26 stays put.


Hmm. It seems that Honda Uber Minivan takes exception.

With the green, the buses on my right inch across the intersection. And Honda Uber Minivan takes the movement to gun it out from behind me, behind the buses, in a desperate attempt to quickly come around and cut me off, to pass in front.

But Citizen’s Cab 26 hits the “power” button on his Prius. (Yes, the Prius has a “power” button.”) And Citizen’s Cab 26 GUNS it up alongside Honda Uber Minivan, keeping pace and keeping him trapped behind the buses. But NOT without Honda Uber Minivan first swerving jerkily, and weaving HARD, and coming within less than an inch of my cab!!

As the next upcoming red at Battery Street presents a bus island between the two westbound lanes, and there are two buses trudging along in the right lane, Honda Uber Minivan has NO CHOICE but to cue up behind me at the red, again trapped.

Thought: Hmm. Unless, once green, he plans to pass over the double yellow and into oncoming rush hour traffic! That would be completely insane, though. But not wholly unexpected from a desperate Uber driver who, as many of them do, has no doubt been sleeping in his minivan all night while in from Vallejo, or Stockton. And after having nightmares about how much he’s spending on gas in his minivan. (San Francisco’s cab fleet, meanwhile, is required to be hybrid or natural gas.)

Anyway, WILL he try crossing the double yellow???

It should be noted that your driver has this accounted for, as my foot is shaking wildly on the brake, hair trigger and ready to jump on the gas, to gun it once green, and to pace!!!

The light turns.

And Citizen’s Cab 26 stays put.

Suddenly, a large spray of questionable liquid comes flying from behind, splashing all over my taxi. I check the rear view.

Hmm. Interesting development.

Do I escalate?

Get out of the cab and approach??

Nah. Uber would probably run me down as he passes over the double yellow.

Do I find some coins or some such to throw back at Uber?

Nah. It’s illegal. And I have a camera. And while this guy will no doubt be NOT be driving for Uber a month from now, I can’t let this guy drag me down and cost me MY livelihood!

Hmm. What would Clinton do, in a debate with Trump???

Ugh. Take the high road, and let it go.

I simply turn on my rear windshield wiper, for a couple swipes, wait for the yellow… and roll.

And Honda Uber Minivan runs the red that I’ve left him, of course. And, possibly nervous that I may turn him in, cuts off of Market FAST, as he heads up Sutter towards Union Square.

The adrenaline rushes through me, still. But I’ve made my point, I think to myself. As I come to a stop at the next red at 2nd Street, behind another Uber, and alongside one Uber and one Lyft cued back to back in the lane to my right.

Which invariably brings us back to belly button gazing…

All of this anger, this disappointment and frustration, is it a test from the Universe? A lesson from God?

Whether, or not, an objective reality, a driver could see it that way, a working hack could take something positive from this, as fertilizer out of which to grow.

Or, he could stay mad.

Therein lies free will. It is your choice.

And today, I choose to hold off on NPR. Hold off on the incessant drama that is the world. No, today, I choose soft rock…

I switch to 98.1FM – The Breeze.

“You’re listening to 98.1, The Breeze FM, taking the stress out of work.”


Taking the stress out!?





Photo by Alex SacK

Check out Alex’s Book 1 – San Francisco TAXI: A 1st Week in the ZEN Life…
& Book 2 San Francisco TAXI: Life in the Merge Lane…

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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 15 and 17. 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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