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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Taxi 11

Remember back in the 80s when cell phones were big and bulky and had a six inch antenna?  They looked like a gravy boat on a stick.  Today, cell phones can do everything short of waxing your pubic hair.  They’re called “smart phones.”  I have a dumb phone.  Just the basics.  I hardly even use it.  Hell, I don’t even answer the phone at home.  I carry a cell phone because I ride a Harley and my wife thought it would be a good idea in case of an emergency.  So I carry it with me everywhere in case of an emergency, like ordering take out.

What I don’t get is all these people who walk around, constantly glued to their phones, having long-winded conversations no matter where they are.  We used to say “looked like the phone was attached to his head.”  Well, I’ll be damned.  Now they literally are attached to their heads thanks to Bluetooth.  So it’s common to see people everywhere who appear to be talking to themselves, and you know what we used to say about them.

I was in a restaurant the other day for lunch.  Not many people there, but there was one woman sitting a couple of tables away from mine all alone, eating lunch with her friend who was on the other end of the phone.  I guess the friend was also all alone in a restaurant somewhere.  I could hear every word, even with her mouth full.

Have you ever wanted to grab someone’s cell phone in mid-converstion and say to the other person, “Scotty, get a lock on the Romulan.”

My mother used to talk on the phone for hours at a time.  It was her way of socializing.  Whenever I walked into the room, she would start speaking in Yiddish so I couldn’t understand what she was saying.   Like I really cared.  I’ll never forget that historic night in July, 1969, when man first stepped foot on the moon.  I, like millions of others worldwide, was glued to the TV in anticipation of the most significant event in recorded history.  My mother, of course was on the phone in the other room.  As the capsule began its descent to the surface, I ran into the other room and said excitedly, “They’re about to land on the moon!”  Mother began speaking Yiddish, and to this day I’ll swear she said, “My son’s crazy.  He thinks we’re landing on the moon.”  I’m sure I heard the word “mashugana” which is Yiddish for crazy.

The other day I picked up a guy at a popular Midtown.  Turned out to be the owner.  He came out of the building talking on his cell and got in the cab talking on his cell, not even acknowledging my presence.  I alway greet passengers with a friendly, “Hey. How are you today?”  But this guy simply ignored me, and I could tell by his conversation he was an arrogant little prick, so I thought I’d have a little fun.  On the way to his home, I repeatedly swayed the cab from left to right and watched in the rearview mirror as he rocked back and forth, left to right, right to left.  Upon arrival, he handed me the money, got out and walked to his door, the whole time on the phone.

The rocking back and forth reminds me of the best talk show story I ever heard as told buy comic Jay Thomas.  It’s such a great story, Letterman has Thomas tell it every year a Christmastime.

When Thomas was a young long-haired hippie in the early 70s, he worked as a DJ on a local radio station.  One day he and his engineer had to do a remote broadcast from the grand opening of a new car dealership.  The star attraction was none other than Clayton Moore, The Lone Ranger, in full costume complete with mask and six shooters.   When the festivities ended, someone apparently failed to provide The Lone Ranger with transportation, so he asked Thomas if he’d give him a ride to the hotel.  So the three of them pile into Thomas’s old, beat up VW with The Lone Ranger in the backseat.  Thomas and the engineer, who were completely stoned, couldn’t believe their good fortune of being in the company  of The Lone Ranger.  When they stopped at a red light, someone in a Cadillac rear ended them.  As Thomas got out to investigate, the Caddy drove off.  Well Thomas wasn’t going to let this guy get away with it so he gave chase at high speeds, weaving in and out of traffic, and looked in the rear view mirror to see The Lone Ranger rocking back an forth left to right, right to left.  When he caught up with the culprit at a stop light, Thomas got out and banged on the guy’s window causing him to get out of the car.  “You ran into my car,” shouted Thomas, “and I’m going to call the cops!”  “Oh yeah,” the guy said, “who’s going to believe a dirty hippie?”  At this point The Lone Ranger walks up and said, “I will, citizen.”

I picked up a woman at her house east Memphis to take her to work.  As she shut the cab’s door, the radio started playing the William Tell Overture.  I turned to the passenger and said, “And away we go.  Hi Ho Yellow.”  Thankfully she got the joke.  I should record that music and play it everytime someone gets in the cab.

Things were kind of slow in Midtown, so I checked the computer and saw a trip available in the Summer-Germantwon Road area, 14 miles away.  There was no cab in the area so I raced out there and won the fare.  It was a woman who sounded like she was from Jamaica.  She talked to herself, so I let out with my best De Niro:  "You talkin' to me? Are you talkin' to me?"

© 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.)

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