When Time is Not on Your Side


Originally published in the S.F. Examiner on October 23, 2019.

Timing is everything. With taxi driving, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. So when your timing is all out of whack, the whole city feels like the wrong place.

The other morning I’m on the throne at the Marriott Marquis, watching the doorman load suitcases into each cab in front of me, expecting to get an airport ride myself any minute.

The sidewalk outside the hotel resembles a luggage outlet. All colors, sizes and styles.

After a few minutes, a woman pulling a small red number approaches the doorman. He raises the whistle that summons taxis to his mouth. As I put the cab in gear, ready to swoop in for what I’ve been waiting for patiently, my back door opens. Three tourists climb in.

“Can you take us to Pier 33?”

Pulling away, I look over my shoulder ruefully. The cab behind me takes my place. I hear the doorman say the words I desperately wanted to hear: “Airport. Domestic.”

A short while later, I’m at the Fairmont. After 15 futile minutes without any movement, I abandon my post, flip around and head down Mason Street. I go through the intersection slowly, my eyes peeled on the front of the Mark Hopkins. Halfway down the hill, I hear a whistle.

Read the rest here.

[photo by Douglas O’Connor]

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