Coffee Rhetoric: Taxi Tales
Showing posts with label Taxi Tales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taxi Tales. Show all posts

January 17, 2011

Taxi Tales: The Return of Eubanks ...

The weather here on the northeast has been absolutely dreadful. We got slammed with snow... beyond belief. Even by New England standards it was massive. I suppose it was finally our time this year. In any event, there was one particular afternoon due to piss poor plowing efforts I found myself needing the services of the Yellow Cab Company. A day where I couldn't fathom traveling via public transportation and just needed to get to where I needed to go, without standing out in the frigid air. I just was not in the mood. The snow accumulation was overwhelming and trudging through it proved to be an annoying hindrance to my mobility as it was.
This time around, a yellow van bearing the YELLOW CAB logo, rumbled in front of me. A larger vehicle seemed very fitting considering the elements. I hopped in, grateful to be out of the cold and in spite of the strong smell of onions and spicy ground meat. I reiterated my destination to the driver. He turned around, mouth full of Jamaican beef patty... orange, flaky crust crumbs in the corners of his mouth and said, "I'll take you wherever you need to go!" Suddenly, recognition crossed his face... "I remember you! Yup! Remember I dropped you off someplace, umm... where was it... I remember because I recall you getting called at the last minute, to go there for a meeting... at the um... Where was it??" 
I frowned, perplexed, because I had no recollection as to who he was... when suddenly I got hit with a horrible dose of recollection... I groaned inaudibly... for dear Goddess it was Eubanks!!! Keeper of lucrative corporate secrets. I rolled my eyes and hurriedly scrambled to put on my large, dark shades... hoping to mask the dismay in my eyes (I like a relatively silent ride). 
"Oh. Right." I said dryly. 
Eubanks immediately started in on the opaque, round-about theories and rhetoric... picking up where he left off from before. 
"Yes, I remember you said you were a writer..." he continued. 
"Um, yeah... right" I answered reluctantly. 
"Yeah, because I have all of these ideas, but I don't really know how to reach the people at the top!" He said... gobbling the last of his Jamaican beef patty. My stomach grumbled as he crumpled the wax paper sleeve in his hand... 
"I need a sweet, nice woman... with a good manner about her... to write letters for me and make phone calls for me. I need someone who can get passed the secretaries, because I can't ever seem to get beyond that point!" 
"Hmm. Interesting." I answered ... disinterested and not up to the task. 
"Well... I need... Well, I don't like to tell too much of my business and plans. I'm not sure if you're like me. And I don't want to give too much away, especially to them CEO's, because that's how they make their money... that's how they get rich. Know what I mean?" Eubanks said. 
"Right. They steal ideas." I answered half-heartedly. 
"Right!" He exclaimed. "What I need is a nice young woman, with a sweet voice, who can talk her way passed the secretaries and appeal to the CEO's. I don't want to reveal too much because the ideas I have could make you millions." 
I sighed, then suggested, "Yes. It's best that you don't reveal any of this stuff to me. I don't know a thing about how corporate America works... or even how to navigate it. I've been working for non-profits for most of my work history. So go ahead and keep it to yourself... Ummm... what route are you taking exactly? This ride seems awful longer than necessary." 
"Yes, but you can write, and you seem like you can sweet talk your way with CEO's. I need someone to write letters..." 
I interrupted Eubanks, and reminded him... once more that I know virtually nothing about CEO types... "I'm really not that sweet." I said emphatically. I'm guessing the same, dry monotone I speak in most of the time was lost on him. 
"OK, I'll tell you the companies specifically trying to reach... You know, I'm not just a cab driver. I hold a lot of secrets and info..." He continued on with his proposal...
"Right." I answered. Unfazed. 
"The two companies I'm interested in cracking are Chrysler and American Airlines." 
"Hm. Never heard of those places. Don't ring a bell. Sorry." I lied.
"Information is not free nowadays." Eubanks just kept proposing... emphatically... "You have to pay for information these days." 
"Google costs nothing. I'll be if you punched the name of those foreign sounding companies, I've never heard of in my life, you'd find contact info." I shot back.
"Yeah. Right." Eubanks answered. 
The rest of the ride was silent. I arrived at my destination... and thrust cash at him, and scrambled out... 
"What time you coming out of that building?" Eubanks asked.
"I'll probably be there all day and late into the evening." I lied. 
"You sure you don't need me to drive around another way? You're the Queen of Sheba. You call the shots." 
Without hesitation I answered, "Nope," and got out... but not before Eubanks handed me a small stack of YELLOW CAB cards...
"Call me if you get out early." 
I accepted the cards... but not before letting a couple of them flutter inconspicuously to the floor of the cab. 
I have a feeling this Eubanks chapter is to be continued... 

November 30, 2010

Taxi Tales: Eubanks

 As a karate expert, I won't pontificate about the seemingly fluctuating state of mental illness amidst today's cult of personality. There's nowhere for people to go in these crazy times and the numbers are too damn high (spoken in this voice).  

That disclaimer of sorts aside, every now and again I'll find myself in the most random of random-est situations. It has finally dawned on me that for the past seventeen years of my life, I've been walking around with an invisible WEIRDO WHISPERER stamp emblazoned on my forehead, only visible to members of the Special People's Club. A signal akin to that whistle only audible to cats and dogs. Of course, I nor those with any semblance of sanity or stability have the ability to see it. Which makes it somewhat difficult for me to navigate and avoid certain personalities and circumstances. I mean, what other explanation could there possibly be for the strange, David Lynch-like encounters I find myself becoming an unwilling participant in?  ... 
While en route to a meeting at a facility I've never been to before, I decided a cab would be my likeliest bet, if I were to successfully reach my destination within a certain time-frame and in avoidance of having to walk up and down that particular street looking perplexed, searching for some elusive building. The directions I was given were opaque at best and I just wasn't in the mood for all of that hunting foolery. I dealt with shoddy directions two weeks prior, while carrying a heavy package to a post office I was told was only "three minutes away" from where I was working. It wasn't fun.
The cab driver was a chatty, middle-aged Black man. The cab? A raggedy and stale, onion-y smelling vehicle that rattled... the type of taxi where late-night 'business deals' took place... transactions squirted and crusted to a dry, inconspicuous stain on the backseat. It certainly wasn't one of the fresher looking or smelling ones. Pressed for time, I Kanye-shrugged and scrambled on in the back. Foreboding told me I'd be in for an unusual ride when my driver parked across the street from me, then called my cell phone claiming not to see where I was... despite my standing in front of a major, looming historical building downtown waving madly at him... in his line of vision. He stuttered, "I'oun see you... ummm where you at? Oh, that's you? Want me to stop in front of there?" I hung up on him, rolled my eyes, and just crossed the busy street. 
Upon getting in, the cabbie apologized for the state of his car and explained he was driving that one until his new one was ready. I shrugged my indifference and repeated the address I needed to get to. He made small talk, then kicked around ideas as to where the building in question might be. Then suddenly... 
"Are you the type who likes to hold your feelings inside?" 
Confused by the question, I pressed my lips together then shot an "oh boy, here we go" look in his direction. I didn't answer. 
"Well, I'm the type who likes to hold my feelings inside," he continued. "See, it's because I know a lot of information. Information the government don't want nobody to know about." 
I stayed silent and turned my head to look out the window. 
"You have a business card?" He asked. 
Looking down at my purse, I spied the top of my card holder nestled against my wallet, and pushed it down deeper, feigning as if I was digging for one. 
"No. Sorry. Fresh out." I lied, dryly... turning back to the window. 
"See, I know a lot of things. Big money maker stuff, but if I can just get a hold of some of these CEOs ... and just make that connection..."
"Oops, looks like we're here!" I interrupted. "That's 227. That must be the building!" I said, already halfway out the cab as I thrust 8 dollars at him. 
"Miss, you sure you outta cards? Because I really need to talk to someone to help me get this secret out there. Trust me, it's a big one that'd make people a lot of money. There's stuff I know about the government folks don't even know about. I don't even really like talking about it. I usually hold it inside" He pressed. 
"Yup, all out." I answered brusquely, still trying to scramble out. "Thanks again!" I said, fearful my holder would fall out... spilling several of my glossy cards on the floor of the cab as my judgement. 

He thrust a generic YELLOW CAB card at me. No name on it... 
"Call me please," he insisted, "So I can tell you some of the ideas I have... or just call me if those folks in there start aggravating you." 
"Ummm..." I started... 
"Just call me, uhh ... Eubanks for now." He answered.
"Right." I said. 
"Don't lose that." He warned. 
"Mmm hmm." I answered, finally free of the stale cab's clutches (I was having issues getting the eff out, as if I were being pulled back by some adamant force of nature)
Free of the cab's pull and of Eubank's shifty, money-making secrets. And out into the fresh air ... quickly up the stairs to the building... and no I didn't look back at the cab. 
That invisible WEIRDO WHISPERER stamp must've been glaringly bright yesterday morning ... 

November 26, 2007

Shut up and Drive

Last Tuesday evening, at the last minute, I decided to take a cab to my mother's house. Evening cab rides tend to be a little more tedious for me than those ridden during the A.M. hours.
The crazy, dysfunctional, trashy, lecherous, or geographically challenged drivers always shuttle me to my destination during the witching hour. And such was the case that night. He went on a looong diatribe about how he kicked weed, ciggies, and the sauce a looong time ago at his mother's urging. "I'm in my mid forties now," he said with a slight accent.
"I used to smoke weed aaaaaalll the time and drink a 6 pack every night. Then my mother said I needed to stop doing that. I did a lot of that in my twenties. When I was like 27 or 28. Now I haven't done that for 10 years. I don't drink at all"
"Oh" I said with dry enthusiasm as I stared out at the frigid inkiness. Considering he said he was in his mid forties, the math seemed a bit off, but whatever. I'm guessing he had a toke or a nip between his late twenties, mid thirties somewhere. In any event, I glimpsed his profile in the dark cab, noting a flash of yellow eye white thanks to a little bit of light streaming in off the slick street...
"She told me that sometimes I just need to listen to her. And I did. You know what else I did?"
I pretended not to hear the question, so I didn't answer... wrapped up in my own thoughts and need to get back on track. "You know what else I did?" he asked again. I sighed, "What?" I managed, dryly.
"I stopped hanging out with the old friends. I discovered they weren't my friends, because when I stopped smoking and drinking, they didn't want to talk to me anymore."
"Oh" I said. "That's good. Um, that you dropped your friends." I managed, rolling my eyes ... hidden by the shadows in the backseat.
"Do you drink?" Wanting the anti-vice proselytizing to end, I said with mock enthusiasm "Yup! Sometimes!" wishing for a flask filled with something potent to burn my chest, at that moment.
"I don't mind if people drink sometimes and wanna smoke. But I don't do it anymore."
"Oh" I said... dry.
"Do you smoke weed?" "I don't do drugs." I replied.
"Oh, that's good!"
"Are you cold?"
*sigh* "No. I'm fine."
"Oh, you're a real woman! Real women don't get cold!"
no answer... I merely jerked my shoulders in a careless and tight shrug.
"How do I keep from getting cold?" "What?" I asked, distracted and annoyed.
"How do I keep from getting cold? I'm still cold. And I am getting sick too."
*sigh* "Perhaps you should dress in layers and try wearing gloves. I dunno." I answered, spying his exposed hands on the wheel. I turned my gaze back toward the window, scowling. Once again annoyed at his intrusion into my Cabbies-should-be silent-and sans mindless-chatter-so-the- passenger-can think-time.
"So yes, I think it's good that you don't smoke weed. I think it looks horrible when a woman smokes. To see a woman rolling a joint or smoking a cigarette makes me think she is trash. And I wouldn't want her to be my girlfriend. I don't think it's appropriate for women to roll a joint. Do you agree?"
"It's not my place to be dictatorial to people. I think it looks tacky seeing anybody rolling spliffs." I opined.
"No" he said, "I'm not preaching, but it looks sooo tacky for a woman to be rolling a joint! Don't you agree? I don't wanna be with a woman like that."
*No answer* Shoulders jerk with a tight shrug once again.
"How do I find happiness?"
"Wha-at?!" I asked... my eyes darting over in his direction. Perplexed by this rather Special Ed-ish question.
"How can I be happy?"
I considered suggesting that he get back on the junk. Along with all the other mind altering vices he claimed to've given up, because he was being a reeeal drag during this cab ride. But instead I just shrugged and said, "I don't know. That's up to you to discover on your own."
"I have money. A place to live. A job. But I still can't figure out how to be happy."
"Drink harder booze, chain smoke, and pop anti-depressants" was riiight on the tip of my tongue. But I just shrugged.
"Maybe I could go on vacation. Take a vacation for like two weeks."
"Yup, sounds great. Umm, can you take a left here please."
And so he did. I perked up, glad that our rap session was coming to an end. "Thank you very much" I said as I handed him the fare.
"Thank you. It was nice talking to you." he said.
"Um hm." I answered, as I scrambled to get out of the car quick, fast, and in a hurry. "Take your time" he suggested. I got out with fervor.
"Byyyye" I waved as I ran up the wet driveway, afraid of being engaged again.

November 07, 2005

To the yellow cab driver who dropped me off Friday...

...I appreciate the fact that you gave me your business card several months ago, when I first rode in your rickety cab. I've used it a couple of other times since then. It's useful to know that I can call a reliable cab driver to pick me up, when I'm bogged down with groceries and the bus just isn't an option. Yellow cab drivers can be an irritating, rude, or downright crazy lot, so knowing I have a semi-reliable driver to call on is comforting. You're nice. It was kind of you to help me unload and then carry my groceries to my door, about two months prior. You engage me in interesting, taxi-cab confessional type repartee, as I smile politely in the backseat... feigning interest. I nod at the right moments... inserting, "wows" or "that's insane" to show I'm somewhat interested in what you're saying. It makes the ride go by quicker. While I do appreciate you coming at my beck and call, your suggestion that I add you to my cell-phone directory fell on deaf ears. I found it somewhat bothersome that you would have moxy enough to tell me to do so. This past Friday night, however, really took the cake. You got me home, safe and sound. I live in the midst of party-central, so I was excited when you found a parking spot, right in front of the door to my building. It made transporting my groceries from your trunk to my door, easier. I didn't have to cross the street. Anyway, thank you so much for helping me unload my edible cargo. Now that I have the niceties out of the way, I'd like to ask you to never, ever yell out the following as I'm walking to my door: "It was nice seeing you again coffey0072! I was so happy when I saw your number show up on my cell phone. Call me sometime! You know... to talk!" This, my cab-driving friend, prompted the smokers huddled outside the overhang of B. Cafe and Bar to turn around, befuddled as they looked from me to you, and back at me again. The confusion on their faces apparent, because they couldn't seem to make the connection. Your loud request got lost in translation. Not to mention it was an odd thing for a cab driver to yell out to his passenger. Me? I shrugged my right shoulder in response, a quick jerk translating into, "whatever, man." I opted not to spew the smart retort lingering on the tip of my tongue. I'd hate to not be able to call you, if I'm stumbling out of a bar or am stranded somewhere. Reliable cabbies are few and far between, as I stated before. But sir, you will get called, when I need a damn ride.
Sincerely, Coffey0072.