I try to abide be the golden rule of never discussing politics or religion. But when a passenger breaches the topic, well, I don’t want to seem unsociable.
I took this cool guy from home to work at the FedEx hub, and after some small talk about his job, he said, “Ya know, Republicans just don’t care about average Americans, they only care about the rich.” “ I hear ya, my friend,” I responded, eager to launch into my tirade. “They believe if businesses are not regulated, then businesses will make so much money, it will trickle down to the rest of us. But, they’re blind to fact that this theory never worked and only leads to greed which then leads to a disasterous economy.” “They said they’re going to undo everything Obama has done,” he said, obviously referring to that narrow minded simpleton Senator Mitch McConnell. “They can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?” I asked. I pointed out that after the big Republican victory in the mid-term election of 1994, Bill Clinton accomplished more than before. “Over the next two years when voters see what the Republicans are really about, Obama will be re-elected and more Democrats will return to Congress. But, I’m as frustrated as you and there’s not much I can do about it except cast my vote.” We continued in this vein until we got to FedEx where we shook hands and bid each other to keep the faith.
Ask yourself this: Over time, what have the Republicans done to improve our lives?
Other than Eisenhower’s interstate highway system, I can’t think of a single thing.
Now ask the same about the Democrats, and here’s a few:
1. Social Security
2. Federally insured bank accounts
3. Veterans Benefits
4. Voting Rights
5 Civil Rights
6. Medicare and Medicaid
7. Healthcare reform
8. Financial reform
Picked up a young woman in Midtown headed for the airport. She was returning to Australia after visiting her boyfriend here. Talk about your long-distance romance, I thought. “Why don’t you move up here?” I asked. “I’m a physician, and I’m about to start training for surgery,” she replied. “If I moved here, I would lose that opportunity.”
I love talking to foreigners. I got a guy at Oak Court Mall and took him to the Hilton. He was from Germany, but wasn’t very talkative. I kept expecting him to say, “You vill take me to de hotel.”
Around dusk, I picked up a passenger at Target going to his hotel. When he got in the cab he said, “Howdy mate.” “Australia,” I replied. “South Africa,” he quipped. He was cool. He lives in Toronto where he said the temperature was in the forties, and that he doesn’t like cold weather. “What’s the weather like in your country? I asked. “365 days of golf, “ was his answer. He’s a partner in a marketing firm and was here to meet with Hilton Wolrdwide. He had worked in several of the big ad agencies both in the U.S. and Europe. I told him my background. We commiserated over similar experiences along the way. I would have liked to share a beer with him. Got a nice tip.
Took a young guy on a round trip from his apartment to a couple of stops and back. He has cerebral palsy, and walks with his legs bent low, almost in a siting position. It was obviously very difficult for him. His name is Antonio and he’s twenty nine. A nice guy with a healthy attitude and good sense of humor. Said he prefers not to use a wheel chair. He said people often stare at him, so I told him to tell them that he’s getting ready to take a big shit. He laughed.
I got a signal to go to the Residence Inn downtown where I picked up a family of four who were headed to a wedding reception at the Pink Palace. The father sat up front. They were from Florence. Alabama. I told him that I spent the night there once when I rode my Harley on the Natchez Trace Parkway up to Nashville. He proceeded to tell me about everyone he knows who has had a motorcycle accident. Apparently he knows a bunch of dumb asses.
Around midnight I picked up a guy at the Med. I could hardly understand a word he said. It wasn’t just Ebonics, but maybe a combination of that and a speech impediment. I was able to figure out he was asking me to take him to Millbranch and Winchester for ten dollars. “No problem,” I said. Along the way he was very talkative. All I could do was shake my head as if I understood. At one point, I said, “You sound like you’re from a different country.” He laughed and said, “the country ok.”
Later I picked up a guy a 35 S. Prescott across from Poplar Plaza. It was a round trip to a seedy neighborhood north of Summer Ave. where he went into a house for a couple of minutes and returned. An obvious drug deal. On the way back he talked about the big Thanksgiving dinner he prepared. When we arrived at his place, he bolted from the cab without paying. I tried to find him and had the dispatcher call him but of course he didn’t answer. It was a twenty dollar fare.
From there I picked up an inebriated CPA at a bar on Highland near the U of M. As he got in he asked, “How’s it going?” “Some mother fucker just ripped me off for twenty bucks!” I exclaimed. “Man, that’s not right, he said. “Look, I’ll give you an extra twenty when you drop me off.” “No man, you don’t have to do that,” I replied. “But I want to make this right. Just turn off the meter and I’ll give you forty dollars in advance,” he kindly offered. He needed to go to his condo downtown which would normally run about fifteen dollars. I accepted his offer because Mrs. Tucker didn’t raise no dummy.
So, all’s well that ends well.
© 2010, Eddie Tucker. All rights reserved.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed on this post are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Yellow Cab, Checker Cab, or Premier Transportation Services.)