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May 21, 2007

The Fare That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Nothing went quite right this graduation weekend in my little taxi world. First of all, it wasn't nearly as busy as past years in the downtown bars. I fully expect the newly-minted grads to celebrate their rite of passage by drinking to excess and hailing cabs. For some reason, this year's crop held back some on this score. Shame on them. And, among the folks I did drive, I couldn't quite communicate with my customers smoothly; the hackie flow just wasn't happening. Maybe it was me.

On Saturday night, three guys piled into the rear of the cab outside of Mr. Mike's Pizza. We need to get to Milton, and how much is it gonna cost? Says I, where in Milton?

"Well, we live just about near the center of town," replies the big guy in the middle, who was dressed great. Actually, all three of them were. "Benways charges us $35. Will that work for you?"

Before I could respond, another of the trio adds, "We'll take good care of you."

I understood exactly what he meant:  There's a good tip in it for me for taking this out-of-town trip. But to be cute - and, boy, I'm nothing if not cute - I say, "Well, I prefer to hear that kind of offer from my female customers, but the $35'll be fine."

The guy, chuckles, and says, "Sorry we can't help you out in that way."

So, off to Milton we drive, the three friends laughing and talking amongst themselves. As we approach UVM, one of them says, "Yeah, my ex is real busy this weekend preparing for the graduation. You remember Mike, right? He works in the recruiting office." There follows a rousing discussion about what a catch Mike was, and how'd you ever let him go?

So, now I'm feeling slightly embarrassed about my opening crack to these guys, which I had thrown out there as just a little male hetero bonding. Of course, as gay people, this is probably nothing new to them, but still I'm feeling a little bit of that foot-in-mouth disease.

Next, as we merge onto the highway heading north, I hear them talking about haircuts and the relative competency and price of Burlington's hair salons. So, totally unsolicited, I jump in with, "Yeah, I just can't see the difference between a $15 haircut and one that costs $30." Yup, I'm just a regular guy; gay, straight - what does it matter?

Their conversation grinds to a halt, and, in the rear-view, I see them looking towards me like I'm from another planet - a remote, declasse planet where the difference between a cheap and expensive haircut matters not a whit.

Maybe they're right, I think. Maybe we are on different planets. But I like to believe we're in the same solar system.

May 21, 2007 at 04:51 PM in A Cabdriver's World | Permalink


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Did they tip you well?

Posted by: Question remains | Jun 7, 2007 1:08:01 PM

Hmmm . . . this fare was a while back, but I would say they did tip me well, because - if they had stiffed me - that I would remember!

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Jun 13, 2007 11:51:47 AM

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