I submitted this to NY Times Metro Desk / City Room Blog, but never heard back… So before it’s outdated, I’d like to share the following experience with you…
Monday night was a night like no other night(s). I was working late, and therefore out later than usual for my seven and a half month pregnant self. I grappled with taking the subway and then waddling up St. Nicholas to our apartment. So, while it was a stretch, I decided to spend the money on a cab home to Harlem around 10 o’clock.
Ever since reading Matt Flegenheimer’s piece on the changing culture of Taxi Drivers in the city, I had taken to asking any driver I encountered what their personal experiences were. The majority American-born drivers of “TAXI” no longer existed. Most of today’s drivers were immigrants. The driver-passenger relationship of old had faded away.
I was immediately thrust into the most pleasant and fluid conversation with a rare breed of taxi driver: A non-accented white guy.
I recalled the American born taxi-driver interviewed and photographed for Flegenheimer’s article, whose name I had not imprinted (John Abrahams).
Maybe it was the impending lunar eclipse, but this trip, I never mentioned it.
After a collision with a young man as I made my way to the yellow taxi van my “minority” driver drove, we kibitzed like old friends even before I told him where I was going.
“So other than getting trampled, how was your day?”, he said in his soft spoken professorial tone.
Topics ranged from my friend’s poetry, staying out as one gets older (and while pregnant), and even my hometown of Detroit, where his wife was from. He was a native New Yorker.
There were so many questions I wanted to ask him. I didn’t want the ride home to end.
I paid, we chatted some more, laughed and I checked his name plate before sliding out the non-traffic side to my doorway: