This week’s column for the S.F. Examiner is a night in the life of a crack baby…
It’s been a weird night. I’m still waiting to hear back from the lab about my drug test to renew my A-Card, which is about to expire in a few days. In the meantime, my cab has become a mecca for dope deals.
So far tonight, my backseat has hosted transactions of heroin, weed, molly and blow. Hey, it’s San Francisco. Everything’s cool, unless you’re a taxi driver who smokes a little pot during his free time. Then you have to jump through a bunch of regulatory hoops to keep your job…
Bill Graham is breaking. As M83 fans pour out of the auditorium past the metal barricades into the steady rain that hasn’t let up all evening, I wait in the intersection of Grove and Polk for a fare. But there are no takers. I swing around to the Larkin side and strike out there, too.
As I head down Grove, I hear, “Taxi!”
I look around.
On the other side of Hyde Street, I see two guys and a girl pushing a stroller with a clear plastic sheet draped over it. They’re flagging every taxi that goes by, even though none have their toplights on.
When they spot me, the mother and her companions cross the street. I pull over and hit my hazards.
A sense of civic duty kicks in. It’s my job to get this family out of the elements. But as they get closer, I realize this isn’t your typical family out for an evening promenade in the pouring rain. They all have scarred faces, missing teeth, hollow eyes and dingy clothes that suggest they spend most of their days sitting on the filthy sidewalks of San Francisco.
I’m beginning to wonder if there’s really even a baby in that stroller.