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August 16, 2007


The petite lady hit the seat talking and that continued all the way to the airport. It turned out she was an Italian who had immigrated to Denver 10 years ago and was currently teaching French in a Colorado college. The Middlebury College summer language program generates a stream of interesting and lucrative customers, and Angelina was one of them.

"So, you talk Italian, French and, of course, English. That's impressive. Anything else?"

"Well, thank you," Angelina replied. She had those dark flashing eyes which can take you a long way in life. "I also speak Spanish, but I lose it. I don't speak enough, so it goes. How about you?"

"Me?" I said, laughing out loud. "I can barely speak English."

"I can teach you Italian," she said. "It is the most easy. Every word - exactly how you spell it. No exceptions."

"But then I'll have to learn all the hand movements, right? You can't speak Italian without the hands."

"Oh, yes - and also the facial expression."

We zipped up Route 7, happy as calamari in the deep ocean. Man, I dug this woman. I asked, "So, what was your hometown in Italy?"

"Parma," Angelina replied. "You know, where they make-a the cheese."

"Ah-ha," I said. "Beautiful. That's northern Italy, right?"

"Yes, not far from Milan."

"Northern Italy is quite different from the south, I understand."

"Oh, yes - in northern Italy we work!"

We laughed together and I said, "I hitchhiked through the south of Italy when I was a teenager. I can never forget the pizza. So delicious! And they sell it in the bakeries."

A scowl came over Angelina's face. I had hit a sore point. "The pizza is going - how you say? - down the hill now. They make it American-style to please the tourists. The pizza should be the nice thick pasta, the bread, with just a little sauce, really - the fresh tomato. Now they make it thin bread, drowning in the tomato sauce. No good!"

"That's a crime, Angelina. I might never eat pizza again."

I knew that was a promise I couldn't possibly keep, but, in the moment, the solidarity felt good.

August 16, 2007 at 08:37 PM in A Cabdriver's World | Permalink


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Are you married?
Have you ever or would you ever ask a passenger out on a date?
-A. Passenger

Posted by: A. Passenger | Aug 17, 2007 1:13:13 PM

Yup, A. Passenger, I'm married. And my wife has given me specific instructions: Don't date the customers. Oh, well . . .

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Aug 17, 2007 1:17:35 PM

Did you meet in the line of duty? Or was it a non-automotive liason?

Posted by: The Questioner | Aug 17, 2007 9:41:48 PM

Aww, what a romantic question. How long have you been hitched if you don't mind the asking?

Posted by: Lizzy | Aug 18, 2007 9:15:31 AM

Well, put it this way - Ronald Reagan was six months from moving into the White House when I took my vows. And, yeah, that was a romantic question by "A. Passenger." (Blush.)

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Aug 18, 2007 12:37:14 PM

The liason, The Questioner, was supersonic and inter-gallactic. I fell so hard, I haven't yet gotten up.(Our anniversary is this week, so I'm feeling the poetry.)

Posted by: Jernigan Pontiac | Aug 18, 2007 12:45:23 PM

Wow! You two have had the meter running for a LONG TIME! And you're still feeling the poetry. Good on ya! Hope that you and Mrs. Pontiac have a happy anniversary -- and most of all, I hope that she doesn't use your last name!

Posted by: The Questioner | Aug 18, 2007 1:49:29 PM

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