I Drive SF column published in the S.F. Examiner on May 1, 2019.
“Oh, Fortuna, blind, heedless goddess, I am strapped to your wheel… Do not crush me beneath your spokes.”
— John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces
My first day back in a cab after a month long sabbatical transpired with more than a few bumps in the road. Ninety minutes into my shift last Thursday, I’m rolling down Castro towards Market, where a big rig is blocking the lane. Undeterred, I follow a minivan around the massive obstruction, but misjudge the amount of space between my taxi and the vehicles in front of me.
To avoid impeding traffic, I veer to the right as much as possible, until my tire scrapes the side of the truck’s loading ramp. Seconds after feeling the thud, my dashboard lights up and the distinctive whomp-whomp-whomp reverberates off Hot Cookie’s glass storefront.
I mutter a string of expletives and find a safe place to pull over. While waiting for the tow truck, I wonder what the universe is trying to tell me. As much as I want to give up and scamper back to Oakland, the rent isn’t going to pay itself. So after the tow truck takes me and the cab to the Yellow garage, where one of the mechanics immediately replaces the tire, I start all over again.
This time, Fortuna smiles on me. I get a ride from the Mission to the Omni hotel. From there, I fight traffic through the Financial to the Hyatt Regency. I hear the doorman’s whistle from a block away and charge into the hotel driveway. When I pull up, a couple is waiting with suitcases.