Secret Lives of Taximeters

TaxiOS-Meter-by-Christian-Lewis-web

“I Drive S.F.” column published in the S.F. Examiner on Feb. 14, 2019.

“Just so you know,” says the guy in the back of my taxi. “This isn’t what you think…”

Driving a taxi can be dreadfully dull at times. During the day, most of the radio business involves transporting folks from their homes to shopping centers or doctor appointments around The City, and vice versa. A big part of the job is also listening to what passengers had for lunch, the graphic details of their illnesses, or just itemized descriptions of the sale items they scored at Ross Dress for Less.

Still, when a guy with two Pomeranians flags me at Haight and Stanyan, looking for a round trip to Golden Gate and Leavenworth, my curiosity doesn’t exactly go wild.

Nights can be just as predictable.

This isn’t the first time I’ve driven someone to Pill Hill who’s drenched in sweat, despite the brisk evening air. It’s not even the first time I’ve taken someone on what appears to be a drug run while they’re supposedly walking the dogs.

But my current fare does catch me off guard by questioning these kinds of assumptions.

“It’s not?” I reply, more curious to find out what he thinks I’m thinking than what’s really going on.

“Well, I suppose you do see a lot of shit driving a cab.”

Before responding, I flash back to a ride earlier that afternoon with a man going from the Potrero Center to Duboce Triangle who spent the entire time talking about the great deal he got on a package of briefs. “Yeah, but I try not to judge.”

It’s hard to tell if we’re still on the same subject, though, once he starts ranting about health insurance, nurses with vendettas, the stigma of permanent medical records and how single payer will be the end of doctor/patient confidentiality.

“I could have a bullet hole in my chest the size of Arkansas but they wouldn’t give me anything stronger than Advil because my chart says I’ve been to rehab.”

What that has to do with the matter at hand is beyond any hypothesis I care to fathom. I just let him do all the talking.

Read the rest here.

[photo by Christian Lewis]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.