A Cab Driver Prepares

by

09/01/2005

W 45th St & 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036

Neighborhood: Midtown

One morning last August, a week before the Republican National Convention, I took a cab to my studio in the Film Center Building on 45th and 9th. My cabdriver was wearing a natty chauffeur’s uniform, cap and all. Once we got going, he smiled at me in the rearview mirror and said, “I guess you’re wondering why I’m all dressed up.” Then he launched into what sounded like a well-rehearsed spiel.

“When I lost my corporate driver’s job last year, I traded in a black car for a yellow one but didn’t see any reason to stop providing professional, courteous, positive service to my clients. Think of me as an icon on your computer desktop. A ‘POSITIVITY’ icon. If you’re feeling down, just double-click on me.”

Then he passed a homemade computer-generated greeting card trough the bulletproof divider. It said, “Thank You…” in fancy script on the front above a bucolic scene of swans on a lake. The message continued inside: “… for being a valued client! I have appreciated serving you. Paul J.– Your POSITIVE Cabby.” And despite my usual cynicism, the guy actually brightened my morning.

I thanked him and he gave me a little tip of the hat in the mirror. Then he became quiet for a few blocks, apparently out of script. At the next red light he said, “Once the convention gets here next week, this traffic’s going to be a fucking nightmare.”

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