Originally appeared in the S.F. Examiner on Jan. 8, 2020.
“I just need to hit a lick or something, and everything will be OK,” the guy in the back of my taxi tells me, bringing a torrent of dismay to a semi-conclusion. “It’s not like I’m asking for the world, you know? I mean, something’s gotta give. I can’t keep building cardboard forts to stay out of the rain. You know what I mean?”
Even though most of his statements end with questions, I realized soon into the ride that he wasn’t seeking affirmation. He just wants to talk. Been on a roll since I picked him and his black Labrador up outside the Whole Foods on California Street.
At the time, I was on a radio call, looking for someone named Sylvia. While he didn’t fit the description, he was the only one around who wanted a taxi.
I sensed right away that he was on the skids. A reality he also knew was unmistakable, which is why, after making sure I was cool with the dog, he immediately handed me a wad of cash.
“How far south can I go for $53?” he asked. “That’s all the money I have to my name.”
Read the rest here.
[Image from the San Francisco Postcard Collection – Street Scenes from Behind the Wheel.]