Cab Drivers and Fares
I miss taking cabs in New York, London and Toronto because they allowed me to act like a movie star. I did not take them in Paris because I went there as a student. I was dirt poor, but it was cheap and easy to hop over to Europe when you lived in London.
Cabs allowed me to become a character in a film, on my way to steal a precious jewel, attend the first exhibition of my paintings, or to meet a married lover, who was my childhood sweetheart.
That is why I will become a cab driver in my next life. It is much better to be called a cabbie than A FARE. I was very sad the first day I learnt that I was a fare. I always regarded myself as a passenger, a human being, not copper or silver with a photo of the Queen of the British Empire.
The word fare reduced me to pounds and pennies. I am using the British currency, because only the British, with their weird sense of humour will call a human being, a fare.
After learning about this folklore, I cringed every time British cabbies cranked the meter to start the trip. It was not the meter, but me, the fare, they were cranking. They must have gone digital by now.
Cab drivers should be storytellers. I can imagine a cabbie in his favourite pub after the end of his run.
Hey mate, any cuckoo fares today? Question from the barman, pulling a pint of bitters for him.
Cuckoo means mad and I know cabbies call their fares, no, passengers mad. Teachers call their students unforgivable names. Tiger Woods’ caddies call him mad. You also call the people who pay your salary mad. It is an occupational hazard.
Anyway. That is the problem of being a filmmaker. I see the world as moving characters. Talking about movies, when will cabbies write books that comedian and film producer Chris Rock can adapt to films? They should, because they have the most interesting job in the world.
Hey pops. How was your day at the office?
The usual son, two suits punched each other over who flagged me first, Naomi Campbell in those big sunglasses nearly dropped dead when she paid the fare and I said Bye Naomi. I picked up a fare in Knightsbridge with three dachshunds dressed in blue doggie sweaters. He told me they were triplets, Peter, Pan and Paul and my last fare gave birth in my cab.
Yes pops. That is your usual day.
Cab Drivers That Drive Me Crazy
· Cabbies that don’t know where they are going. Can you imagine a West Jet pilot not knowing where Toronto Pearson International Airport is? I once lost a flight to Winnipeg because the cab driver did not know the way to J.F.K. International in New York. The friend I was with wanted to kill him, because he helped him with directions but the cabbie did not understand English. I missed the flight and my class in Winnipeg waited for the writing instructor to come. I never showed up.
· Cabbies who do not speak the language. How do you drive a cab in Montreal or Paris if you do not parlez vous French?
· Cabbies who want to talk from the airport to a Harbourfront hotel in Toronto. I don’t want a friend. I just want you to take me where I am going. Besides, I need peace and quiet in the cab because I am not Nonqaba, but a character in a movie, contemplating my next move which might be illegal or anti-social.
· Cabbies who want tips in cold cash. Cash, what cash? Plastic is king now and do you take the Diners Club card? What? Only VISA or Amex?
· You know what cabbie, get lost!