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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Winnipeg, Aruba, Sri Lanka in one cab

Another day, another buck fifty after topping off the tank.  Gas prices are killing us.

Had a guy in the cab who had moved here from Detroit a month and a half ago.  He was very talkative.  Said Memphis is slow compared to Detroit.  “Yeah, it’s pretty laid back here,” I said.  Then he said the liquor stores closed too early compared to his home town where the stores stay open until 3:00 am, and they’re open on Sundays.  Then he went on and on about Memphis cops.  “Man,” he said, “they pull you over for the littlest thing.  They pulled me over for having a taillight out and gave me a hard time about my license.  There were two cops, the one who pulled me over and his backup.” My passenger was black so I asked him if the cops were white.  He said one was white, but it was the black cop who was the asshole.  “He accused me of having a phony license.  It was my Detroit license, but he kept saying it was a phony.”  It turned out that the white cop said the license was OK, and apologized for the other cop’s behavior.

“What’s the deal with the piece of paper they give you and say you have to get your photo made and be fingerprinted at the jail within twenty-four hours?” he asked me.  “That’s a misdemeanor citation.  A misdemeanor is a small crime like shoplifting,” I explained.  “Did they issue a citation to you?,” I asked.  “Naw,” he said, “I saw them give to somebody else they pulled over.”  I said, They probably had a joint in the car.”

When we arrived at his apartment building, he paid me, and just kept goin on incessantly about the cops.  Finally I said, “Hey man, I’d like to talk to you some more (NOT), but I gotta go.”  He got out and continued talking out loud as he went up the stairs to his apartment.

Went to Oak Court mall where I picked up two young men and an older Chinese woman.  I couldn’t figure out their connection since neither of the men were Asian.  They wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe on Beale St.

They were visiting from Winnipeg, and were here to do the Elvis thing.  One of the guys sat up front.  He told me it gets down to thirty below in Winnipeg, and I told him he could have it.  He also said driving a cab there is extremely dangerous because of consistent cab robberies.  There, he said, the drivers seat has a steel plate attached to the back, and there is a shield between the front and back seat.  There also is a light on top of the cab which, when activated by the driver, flashes silently to alert police.  Sound like good ideas to me.  Wish we had all that.

Dropped them off then went to the Comfort Inn on Front St. and three middle-aged men hopped in.  They need to go to the public marina on Mud Island.  They had come to Memphis on their twenty-one foot boat from Tulsa.  Being the geography genius that I am, I said, “How the hell did you take a boat here from Tulsa?”  “On the Arkansas River,” one guy replied.  “Oh.  Well hell yeah if you want to do it the easy way,” I said.  They were planning to go from here to New Orleans but due to lack of places to get gas along the way, they decided against it.  They gave me an eight dollar tip.

In the back seat sat a young woman who appeared to be of Polynesian descent.  She needed to go from her apartment on Central near CBU to the University of Memphis.  Along the way I told her I went to the U of M long before she was born.  “When do you think I was born,” she asked.  I told her 1989, and she laughed and said, “I’m thirty-seven, and I teach at the university.”  “No way!,” I said.  She laughed some more.  She said she teaches economics and finance. I wonder what’s to teach about finance since it’s all about getting turned down by the banks.

Back during Memphis in May I picked up two guys at Oak Court Mall to take them to Gus’s Fried Chicken on Front.  They were probably in their thirties.  Nice guys.  The had come here from Aruba to go to the barbecue festival.  I thought, “Really?  You left Aruba to come here, huh?”  I asked what they did in Aruba and they said they work, drink, play golf, fish and go to the beach.  “So do we,” I said to laughter.  I dropped them off and got a nice tip.  Back in midtown I heard a cell phone ringing in the back seat so I stopped and reached down behind the seat and pulled out a Samsung phone but couldn’t figure out how to answer the call.  Then I got a message on the computer terminal to radio the dispatcher who told me that one of the Aruba guys left his phone.  I went back to Gus’s, walked in and handed him his phone and he gave me a twenty.  Nice.

The other day I picked up a guy at Stax and took him to the Civil Rights Museum.  He was here on business but wanted to do some sight seeing in his free time.  He was from New York but was born and raised in Sri Lanka.  He said he grew up listening to Stax music and had to see the place. He asked where he could hear some live music and I recommended Rum Boogie and BB King’s since he was staying at the peabody.  I also suggested some good restaurants.  when he asked me what do people from Memphis call them selves, I said, “Memphians, but then there are those I like to call Memphomaniacs, including yours truly.  He got a laugh out of this.  Nice guy.


  1. I love to travel but I don't to talk too much. I just like to watch views, no talking.

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  2. That's an interesting story. I wonder if the Sherwood Park taxi drivers around here have had such crazy experiences!