Monday, August 9, 2010
I got a call for Costco, on Mission, and found a couple in their 30’s with a basket full of groceries, and a hyperactive 5 year old waiting for me. After we loaded everything in the back, while I tripped over the 5 year old a couple of times , until we all got in and I found out their destination. After I put it in drive and started to cautiously proceed, since there was a lot of foot traffic, I had to slam on the brakes a couple of times. Then just as I thought that it was clear to go, a dark skinned man darted in front of me with a shopping cart, as he glared at me.
The man sitting up front with me, said, “I thought that Hindus were just crazy cab drivers, but I guess they can’t even drive shopping carts safely. Praise be to Allah,” he said, as I thought to myself, Hindu’s don’t worship Allah, their deity is Shiva or Krishna, among others, but I try not to correct my passengers, unless they ask for my input. Nobody like’s their cab driver to know more than them, unless it’s the “Cash Cab.” So I try to play dumb for a tip.
As I proceeded through the parking lot and onto Hawthorne, into the rush hour traffic, his continued reference to Allah and a Hindu made me think of a negative encounter that I had with a couple of Sikhs, a few years ago, since Sikhs combine Hinduism and Islam together, so the Allah reference would work.
“I was travelling South on Commercial, and turned into the Mongolian grill parking lot,” I told them, “since it’s the only way that you can get onto the street I was called to.”
As I entered the driveway, I saw 2 men with turbans on their heads, indicating that they were Sikhs, walking on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. Their temple was just a couple of streets away, so it wasn’t unusual to see them in the area, but they became visibly upset when I drove into the parking lot. They started shaking their fists and yelling about something. The only thing that I really knew about Sikhs, other than the fact that they were the result of combining the best parts of Hinduism and Islam together, was that one of them assassinated Mahatma Gandhi. So I decided not to stop and see what upset them, but drove past them to my destination.
As we were laughing about Hindus, Allah and angry Sikhs, I caught a red light with two cars in front of me. When the light turned green, the car in front of me didn’t move, then the light turned red again, and their emergency flashers came on. I decided to pull around them, but, when I stepped on the gas I found that my cab was stalled. When I turned the key it failed to start my cab, and as I continued to try, I continued to fail in my attempt to get the engine going. Then the key wouldn’t even turn, as I pulled it in and out of the ignition, occasionally turning it upside down. Finally I had my passenger sitting up front with me try to turn the key, but it was jammed in the ignition.
I couldn’t believe this was happening, and at the same time my passenger started to talk about bad Karma. Finally I had to give in and accept that I needed a tow truck, and acknowledge the bad Karma suggestion. I tried to reach the dispatcher to tell him that I needed a tow truck and another cab to take my passengers to their destination, but because it was the busiest part of my shift the radio was jammed with calls and I failed to get through. Every so often I tried to start my cab while I was trying to get through on the radio, but failed on both accounts. After nearly 10 minutes, the key turned, the ignition turned over and my cab started, as I pulled in front of the stalled vehicle and finally got through on the radio.
“I’m going to 6059 Battle Creek,” I told John the dispatcher, as I turned East on Highway 22. We drove all the way to their house without any problems, and on the way there I vowed that I would never make fun of another religion, even if they were going to hell for holding a false theology. After I helped them carry everything into the house they paid me and gave me a $3.00 tip.
Later that night I picked up a woman who had been attending her 20 year class reunion, and had me drive her home. On the drive there, we began talking about how much 20 years can change a person. Then she started talking about how times were different from when she graduated from high school in 1990, till now. I thought to myself, “then imagine how different it is from 1965, until now”?
She told me that her daughter, who is now in high school, came out of the closet to declare that she was gay, when she was 12 years old. At first I didn’t say anything and there was silence, but then curiosity got the best of me and I asked how her daughter could determine that she was gay at such an early age.
“How old were you when you realized that you were straight?” She asked.
“Back in the 1950’s things like that weren’t even in our vocabulary,” I told her. She then asked when I had my first orgasm, and what I was thinking about.
“Naked women,” I told her.
“If you were gay then it would be naked men,” she said.
As we continued to drive the conversation became very explicit, and of a sexual nature, until my passenger said, “I can’t believe that I’m having this conversation with you, this is more intimate than I talk to anybody other than my sex partners.”
I didn’t say anything after that, but kept silent, until we picked up her boyfriend, at his apartment. Then we proceeded to a convenience store and to her apartment, where I dropped them off. She gave me a $5.00 tip and I thanked her for the conversation, as she and her male friend exited my cab.