Reprise this week, passengers!
(Eh, just because.)
It’s an oldie, but goodie. An excerpt from
It’s 2:45 in the PM and I’m rolling a Citizen’s Cab spare, 2402, down Fillmore fresh from a fruitless jaunt through Pac Heights. As my day shift winds down, I’ll continue working these well-off commercial strips; next turning right onto Union, and then up towards North Beach and down into the Financial.
Not long on Union, a dude in a red and white, stars & stripes-themed baseball cap, with matching sweat-suit jumps out into the street from in front of Lululemon to flag me. Something smells weird. But, whatever. Cow Hollow’s a sociable part of town. I shouldn’t have to filter for crazies over here.
As I pull over, I come to realize that my future fare is some sporto Arab guy. (Oil money?) But something’s definitely off. Borat opens the shotgun door and silently points at my “office” spread out on the front seat, before he then points likewise at my backpack on the floor. Hey! Is Borat directing me to move my stuff??
I point towards the back. And I politely direct.
“Oh! Passengers usually sit in back. Unless, you have a condition or something. Can you sit in the back?”
But Borat just stays the course, firm. And again, unrelenting, he silently points at my stuff!
I am getting the picture now that Borat is kind of intense. He’s sporting a big, dark beard, but no mustache. And he has piercing brown eyes that stare right into you. Hmm. Very out of place here in Cow Hollow… Or America for that matter! (Despite his quite patriotic garb.) Jeez. Borat has yet to utter even a single word!
Shit. Is dude mute? And, damn. I did not heed Rose’s “mind your intuition” cab school Commandment. (I hope she’s not reading this!) My doors really should have been locked, too. Ugh. (Sorry again, Rose.)
Oh, well. I move my shit to the back. Borat gets in front. And, still mute, just points straight ahead. Apparently, “straight ahead” is his drop. WTF??
Double-ugh! Yet another Rose cab school Commandment transgression, #5:
“Never go until they give you a destination.”
“Where to?” I query, in my attempt to clarify.
But, Borat just stares all steely-eyed and serious, right at me. And he once again just points straight ahead, in stubborn silence. It is now that I start to strategize about how I’m going to get rid of this guy!
All of a sudden, Borat yanks HARD at the lever under his seat and adjusts it all the way back REAL fast, as it slams BANGING to a stop! And without flinching, he rolls up his window. And without asking first, Borat TURNS OFF THE RADIO! He now turns to stare deeply into my eyes, before Borat finally speaks.
“YOU! Will be my driver… today!”
He continues to stare straight through me with a burning intensity. I sense that Borat has decided that he likes his new acquisition, as he now lets me in on the deal.
“A Russian… kick me from cahb. I want see San… Fran… cisco. I am told must see your… Gold… Bridge. Take me to your… Gold… Bridge!”
Then before I can acknowledge, Borat barks “Turn right! Here!!”
Borat points firmly right.
I try to interject to inform that this is the wrong way to the Golden Gate Bridge.
However, it seems that Borat has other ideas. He confidently cuts me off, again, quite insistent with,
Then proud and confident, assured, “I like the woman. Where are… the woman? Take me.”
Driver, “Oh, I guess North Beach is a good spot. Lotsa strip clubs there. (Heh, heh.)”
Borat responds, “Take me to your… North… Beach… Left! Here!!”
Borat, “Left! HERE!!” Continuing, “I want… Yemeni… restaurant. I stay near… Yemeni… restaurant.”
And Borat hands me a business card for a Hostel that he’s apparently staying at, in the Tenderloin.
Borat continues to stare at me, hard! And it’s freaking me out, man! This dude is seriously off! Or, hmm… casing San Francisco for the next 9-11!!!
Driver, in an attempt to cool things out a bit, “So, where are you from?”
Then, more deep, suspicious staring, before eventually, “I am Kuwaiti.”
Borat continues, “Where I find… woman?”
Driver, again, “Uh, North Beach.”
Borat, “Where is… North… Beach?”
Driver, “Uh, just a few blocks east. But we are going the wrong way.”
Borat commands, “Take me!” Before immediately adding, “Take left! Here!!”
Driver, all futile, “But…”
Borat, “Left! Here!!”
Well, “left here” just happens to be the WRONG WAY up Hyde, north on a ONE-WAY, three-lane thoroughfare heading SOUTH! I don’t acknowledge Borat’s direction and I just resign to taking the next left up Leavenworth. (Hyde’s companion three-lane thoroughfare heading north.)
But Borat takes exception, “You NOT take left!”
And he resigns himself, “Ok… Take next left.”
Now exasperated, I blurt, “Hyde was one-way, the wrong way! I couldn’t. Look, I gotta keep my license clean. Ok, we’ll take the next left up Leavenworth. But will it be a right or left next after that?”
I get in the right-most of three lanes as we come to a stop at a red on Lev, at Bush. There is another car at the light in the farthest-most left of the three lanes. And then, Borat suddenly intones, with confidence,
WHAT THE FUCK?!?
Driver, “It’s HIGHLY unsafe crossing Leavenworth like this!”