The Divercity of St. Francis

We pull up outside of LaShawna’s SRO and I hit the meter, which currently reads $13.40. And LaShawna digs through her pockets and extracts several bills – four ones and a two dollar bill -and places them on the center console armrest.

And she tells me to hold on, as she leans out of her window and yells up to her husband, who is leaning out of a window on the third floor of the hotel.

LaShawna once again begins to sniffle again, as she yells, “I NEE AH TIN! TROW MEE DOWN AH TIN!!”

And a crumpled up bill comes falling to the ground.

LaShawna jumps out and grabs the bill, and leans in my open shotgun, “(SNIFF!) He-yah ah twinty. You been reel niice ta mee. You keep sis-teen, drivah.”

Drivah hands back LaShawna a ten. Then, he looks deep into her eyes, assuring, “Keep the faith, baby. The answer is there…”

And LaShawna nods with a drying up sniffle, as she takes the ten and turns back to her man.

As under his breath, Drivah repeats back to himself as he rolls, “Yeah. Keep the faith.”

And immediately, the Cabulous taxi-hailing app smartphone velcroed to my dash goes off.

“Cha-ching! – 2878 Green. SFO. Fairchild.”

SWEET!

I’m not terribly close to Cow Hollow. I don’t know HOW I got this order… But this is an airport!

I ZOOM up Franklin! And in no time, I’ve traversed across Cow Hollow to where Green ends, right adjacent The Presidio. I triumphantly hit ‘Arrived’ on the Cabulous app, as come to rest in front of 2878 Green, on this block of stately old mansions. (A domain proximate to the likes of Danielle Steele, the Getty’s and George Schultz.)

Soon enough, a 50-something Fairchild – I glean through the bleach blonde hair and overzealous work on her nose and chin – comes sashaying out with a single suitcase. And driver hits  the meter, as he jumps out to help load Fairchild’s bag into the taxi’s hatch.

“SFO. United. International, driver,” Fairchild offers smiling, with a flip of her locks.

And as we settle into the cab, Fairchild expounds, “It’s a beautiful day for Mexico! Don’t you think? But first, driver, we are to meet my girlfriend at the corner of Van Ness and Green. She is coming with.”

Driver, “Well, I think ANY day is a beautiful day for Mexico! I have a retired friend living pretty large down in Baja. So, is it Puerto Vallarta? Or, Cabo San Lucas? Or…”

Fairchild, “Oh! I simply LOVE Puerto Vallarta! Actually, there is a quiet little village just outside of Puerto, at which I vacation often. Absolutely LOVELY! But today, it’s yet another jaunt down to Cabo.”

Driver, “Sounds great. Hey! How much Spanish do you need to know, when you’re down in Mexico? Is it just the basics, like, ‘¿Dónde está los baños?’ Where’s the bathroom? Ha, ha!”

Fairchild, “Oh, that is a good one to know. But you do not need too much Spanish where I travel. However, ‘¿Cuánto cuesta eso?’ is always a good one to have handy.”

Driver, “Oh? I don’t know that one… What does it mean?”

A fortunate Fairchild enlightens…

“How much does that cost?”

 

 

_____

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Photo by Alex SacK

www.AlexSacK.com

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 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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