May 15, 2008 at 2:10 am (culture)

I’ve always felt you can take the pulse of a city by its cab drivers – kinda like you can tell how good the sushi will be based on the miso soup. Or something like that! Anyway, in some places, meaningful conversation in a taxi is easy to come by – with someone from a much different world than yours. But for that inching hour, the traffic is an odd equalizer. You might talk about the state of the city, the politicians who run it, the people who breathe its polluted yet addictive air. It makes for a happy tipper. Here, on the other hand, it’s once in a blue moon that you get a semi-sane driver. Leave conversation alone, you spend most of the time cringing or clinging. Yanne, you tip solely if you are in one piece – both mentally and physically – as the taxi screeches to a halt, khalaas!


  1. Marie Waiss said,

    Taxi drivers in the US usually fall into two groups for me. The first group creeps me out because they are flirty and ask you personal quesions. The second group usually has interesting things to say about their country of origin: Somalia, Russia, India, Turkey, Nigeria, Lebonan, etc. I would seldom get opportunity to talk to these people otherwise living in Orange County, California. So while you get a pulse of the city you’re in, I get a pulse of another country.

  2. altconsens said,

    These guys over here aren’t locals either. They are just frustrated from their low incomes and high traffic. I feel bad for their situation but what’s inexcusable is often the lack of civility.

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