Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Taxi!"

In the continuing line of discussing communities worldwide, and how to understand more about them, I submit the following:

“Taxi!”

I love taxis. A bit odd, admittedly, yes. But I have found them to be an interesting study of humanity.

In the past year, I have done a lot of traveling, and had the opportunity to use a lot of taxis, in various cities and countries. I am by nature, a curious person, and will ask a taxi driver a few questions to feel them out, and if they are agreeable, I will converse with them as much as possible.

In the past year I have had the following experiences in cabs:

-Had a driver hug me goodbye at the airport for listening to his tears over his daughters’ psychological trauma after coming back from Iraq, I thanked him for her service, and he thanked me for giving him some information on where they could go to meet Iraqis that were thankful. She had served in Fallujah in very tough conditions the entire time, and hadn’t felt at all that anyone was grateful there for what she did. I can tell you, it isn't every day that people see a huge black man hugging his small white female passenger with tears in his eyes, and tears on my cheeks, as he bid me goodbye at Dulles Airport. One of the most rewarding moments....I'll never forget it. (Washington DC)

-Had a driver argue with me over the Palestinian-Israel conflict, over women’s roles in society, and over US foreign policy while in London. (more on this later)

-Had a driver in Amman ask me for a $500 “loan”. I first said “you are seriously asking me to give you $500?” He said, “ya, inshalla, you can help me”. To which I replied, “even if I could, which I can’t, I don’t carry that kind of money around with me.” To which he replied, “It’s okay, we can stop at the bank on the way to airport!” (he had told me that he had liver disease, and his eldest daughter wouldn't be able to finish college without the $500 that day of course!)

-Had a driver in NYC tell me of his immigration from Peru to the US, and how he has built a future for his children here that he is so proud of, and to which I added, “see, you are exactly the kind of person that makes a great American!”

-Had a driver in NYC (27 year cab veteran) discuss the aftermath of 9/11 and tell me the entire story of that day and the ensuing months from a cabbie’s point of view.

-Had many, many drivers in Los Angeles ask me where Maine was? What country it was in? (“Isn’t that part of Canada?”)

-Had an Egyptian driver in NYC discuss Middle East politics with me in a much more knowledgeable way than any professor of the subject could that I know of. And he appreciated my Arabic, so I forgave him for thinking I was German at first….when I tipped him, he said, “you are American alright!” and I answered back, “that’s because you didn’t ask me for it, as the Jordanians often do! He laughed heartily, and I added, “and you, are a true Arab male”. He asked,“what makes you say that?” I laughed and told him he called me “the beautiful lady” far too many times…..he laughed back appreciatively.

If you want the pulse of a city, talk to as many cab drivers as possible, and you'll get it!

5 Comments:

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1:47 PM  
Blogger PANAMA GEDDY said...

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6:53 AM  
Blogger DC Cab Rider said...

Some great taxi stories. If you have a moment, I would love to have you share some of them on my site, devoted to riding in cabs in DC.

It's a new site, but I share your enthusiasm about a good cab ride.

5:50 PM  
Blogger DC Cab Rider said...

Oops, forgot to leave address

http://dccabrider.blogspot.com/

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Medical Blog said...

I love taxis. A bit odd, admittedly, yes.
But I have found them to be an
interesting study of humanity.

2:20 PM  

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