One thing I don’t think I will ever understand about being a taxi driver is the way our passengers view us and relate to us. We are relative or even total strangers to our passengers, yet many of them voluntarily tell us extremely intimate things, and behave like our understanding and confidentiality are just part of the ten dollar fare. They will argue in front of us, make out in front of us, break up in our cars, even have sex in our cars… without giving it a second thought. Maybe this is weird to me because I am a basically private person; if I had an argument with my wife or girlfriend, I would keep it to myself until I got out of this stranger’s car, and I just can’t imagine what combination of alcohol and drugs would make me think it would be a good idea to perform a sex act with a woman in a moving taxi. Perhaps copious amounts of tequila and a double dose of Viagra, but still, I doubt it. Maybe this can be attributed to booze-induced exhibitionism and abandon, but it really goes deeper than that. People tell me the most intimate details of their relationships, their marital problems, their work issues, their sexual peccadillos, their drug use, their criminal history, and a litany of other things that are decidedly none of my business.
One night I picked up a giggly couple in their late thirties at a bar that hopped in the back seat and are groping and pawing each other, and the guy says that we need to go to the woman’s beach condo, and then to the nearest hotel. She gives me the address, and on the drive they are kissing and whispering furtively to each other. When we got to the woman’s condo, they both got out and went inside, and I wondered why they aren’t staying here… after all, it seems apparent to me that they are looking for a place to get laid… what’s wrong with her place? They come back out and she is carrying a small overnight bag, and we head out to a nearby beach hotel. The guy pays the fare, and I looked over my shoulder and wished the woman goodnite. She looked me dead in the eye and said, “My husband will kill me if he finds out about this… you won’t say anything about this, will you?”
And my regular customers tell me all sorts of things, just by virtue of repeated rides in my car. Some of it can be attributed to alcohol, but I know extremely intimate details of the lives of dozens of my passengers, stuff their parents and children and brothers and sisters and best friends and doctors and attorneys don’t know. The thing is that almost NONE of these people even know my last name. The thought occurred to me that it might be as simple as, “Well, who the hell is the taxi driver going to tell?”
But I write a blog… I can tell the world if I choose to. And a lot of my regulars know that, but tell me this shit anyway. Perhaps I just exude a vibe that tells them that it is OK to tell me this stuff… like they know my confidentiality is assured, like a lawyer or a doctor or a psychiatrist.
Clayton from my previous post Clayton Makes The Blog is an excellent example. I know a great deal about him and his babe, Clara. They have told me about where they work and what they do and youthful indiscretions and family stuff and even more private things… I see them at their best and at their worst, and they don’t even know my last name. I think of them as friends and excellent customers, but how can you not know your friend’s last name? But come to think of it, I don’t know Clayton’s last name either. Like I said, these relationships we form are kinda weird.
A few weeks after Halloween, I picked up a fairly buzzed Clayton and Clara from a party, and Clayton told me that he had finally manned up and popped the question, and they were now engaged. Clara beamed as she showed me her ring, and I got a serious case of the warm fuzzies seeing how happy she was. Clara is beautiful, inside and out… simple, natural beauty that looks good in jeans and some lip gloss, smart and sweet, and I told her once that twenty years ago and single, I would have been sticking to her like a cheap suit. Trust me on this… I meet hawwwt girls every nite that are very, very ugly on the inside. And Clara just looks radiant in the yellowish glow of my car’s interior light, but I suppose a girl is never more in love than right after she has said, “Yes.”
We head out for home, and Clayton says, “Yep… we decided to go for it, man… become grown-ups, responsible people and all that… I gotta marry this girl… and you know about it before our families know, dude…”
I congratulated them and we talked about married life on the drive, which I happen to love. I dropped them at home, and as I drove away, the thought occurred to me that maybe I should make a blog post congratulating them. But then I remembered that Clayton said I knew about their engagement before most of their friends and family, and I nixed that post. Yes, my blog is anonymous, and Clayton isn’t Clayton’s real name, but he has told me that he has told numerous people about my blog, especially after his Halloween misadventure, so his friends, family, and co-workers might read the post, and I might have spilled the beans. For all I knew, Clayton and Clara were waiting for Christmas dinner to announce their engagement. Twenty years ago, I opened my yap and unknowingly blew the Christmas surprise for my brother, purchased by his then-girlfriend, and to this day, I still regret that, even though she is long gone and he is married to another woman. Clayton and Clara didn’t have to tell me that they were engaged, so I decided to maintain their confidentiality, and I nuked that post before I ever started writing it.
So a few weeks later, Clayton called me and asked for a pickup for him and his buddy to take them out to a restaurant for some dinner and drinks, and Clayton tells me that he is now a married man. I was surprised, because it was only a few weeks ago that he told me he was engaged. Clayton and his friend have already had a couple of cocktails, and he razzes Clayton about all the women that are now “off the menu”… Clayton held up his hand and looked at his ring, and said, “Yeah, well, they’ve been off the menu for a while now, so it’s no big deal… but now it is official… I am a married man….”
I said, “Lemme tell ya, brother… that ring is an aphrodisiac for some women. But your world has changed now… stay strong, you married well. Steer well clear of these bitches… Clara is definitely a keeper…”
This line of discussion reminded both Clayton and I of complicated, crazy, and kinky ex-girlfriends from our past (something I have in abundance), and we swapped a couple of stories, and agreed that we had both dodged a couple of bullets, given who we married and who we MIGHT have married. I dropped Clayton and his buddy off at the restaurant, and headed back out to work.
Several hours later, Clayton called to be picked up at a bar several blocks from where I dropped him, and he and his buddy are predictably hammered. I playfully said, “How did it go, Mister Married Man…? Were these bitches all up on you…?”
Clayton slurred out, “No, it’s all good… I maintained well… but it does feel weird, though…”
I said, “That will pass, and when it stops feeling weird, it starts feeling RIGHT… but it’s still a big adjustment for a man. You wanna hear a story from just a few nights ago, about a guy that asked me what it is like to be married?”
I told Clayton about three black guys I picked up at a nice hotel… they were college frat brothers from all over the country reunited in Florida, going to an upscale niteclub to bag some trophies… and I truly felt sorry for the women in the club, because these three guys ain’t ghetto ballers in gold chains, they are smooth, educated, professional, moneyed, good-looking and well-dressed… and they have a plan. They apparently have a three-man wing-man tag-team ass-procurement strategy that they perfected in college and it never fails, as long as everyone works together and sticks with the plan, and they are about to deploy it against the unknowing drunken ho’s at Club Plush. These bitches don’t have a chance… these guys are good-looking and smooth… picture Billy Dee Williams in his prime… that kinda smooth.
I said, “Wow… that sounds pretty impressive… I’ve never heard of a three-man strategy before. It sounds like teamwork pays off… There is no “I” in team…”
One guy says, “Yeah, well, there ain’t no “we” either, and if I get my hands on something nice, I am out, and you motherfuggers are on your own…”
His friends start laughing and yelling at him, saying that he is the one that always fucks it up and breaks team discipline, and they start recalling some previous ass extravaganzas they had together back in the day. These guys had some great sexual adventures back in their fratboy college days… I said, “Damn… you guys are making me think back to my predatory single days…”
One guy says, “You’re married? How long?”
“Yep… almost ten years now…”
He says, “You like being married?”
I said, “Yeah, man… I chose well… wouldn’t have it any other way…”
He says, “I dunno, man… not sure I am ready for the whole “married” thing… What’s it like to be married?”
I said, “What’s it like to be married? Gimme your phone.”
He says, “My phone?”
I said, “Yes, gimme your phone… I’m gonna delete every single song on it except one.”
All three guys start laughing their asses off… I said, “That is why it is important to choose wisely… otherwise, you might be listening to “Rapper’s Delight” or “My Sharona” for the next forty or fifty years…”, and all three of the black guys are laughing their asses off as I drop them at the club.
Clayton’s friend says, “Well, “Rapper’s Delight” isn’t that bad of a song”, and all three of us started laughing, and Clayton, very close to that magical sodium pentathol stage of alcohol intake, where one is conscious but it is almost impossible to lie, spoke very warmly and lovingly about his new wife for the rest of the drive. I dropped the two of them off at Clayton’s place, and headed back toward downtown.
So, for Clara… if you are wondering how your new husband talks about you when you are out of town and Clayton is on a boy’s nite out, when he’s been drinking and it is “just us guys” talkin’ shit about wives and old girlfriends, and the taxi driver isn’t gonna say anything…
Well, lemme tell ya, Clayton just adores you, and I approve completely of the way that this guy talks about you when he is buzzed and believes his confidentiality is assured. Clayton is a good man that loves you with all his heart, and I think you chose well, babe…
Now… get to work on some babies, you slackers…