Cab Drivers

Given that I don’t have a car, I have been carted around by a host of colorful characters since I moved to Chicago. I probably take at least 4 cabs a week, so that’s about 200 different drivers a year.

Yesterday Mom asked if I’d ever had a repeat cabbie, and the answer is yes. At least twice. And I remember them because they were women. One of them was a young grandma who had a line-up of stuffed animals on her dash. She’s taken me home from O’Hare twice. The other was a fashionably dressed eastern European gal in her early 30’s, who clearly ran her cab like a business.

The weirdest was Ray St. Ray — the singing cabbie — who’s pretty famous. He’s even been on the national morning news shows.

Quite frankly, I enjoy a good peaceful cab drive — one where I can talk on the phone if I want, rather than with the cab driver. But there definitely wasn’t a choice with Ray. From the moment you step in, it’s entertainment central. (Good thing I’d had a drink before I climbed in — I was primed to find him moderately entertaining.) He asked what kind of mood I was in, and then broke into song accordingly.

Last night my flight into O’Hare was delayed 3 hours due to high winds, and my flight landed at exactly the same time as all the other delayed flights — which meant the cab line was long. Once it was my turn, I crawled in and learned that my driver had been sitting at the airport for two hours, waiting for the landing ban to lift.

And then he chatted my leg off.

For whatever reason, I tend to rehash Middle East Peace on trips to and from the airport. This guy was Palestinian, and he grew up in Jerusalem. He told me about how his friend was killed by the Israelis during the conflict, and how he hopes peace will come to the region.

I find this topic pretty interesting, especially given that I recently finished Queen Noor’s biography (former queen of Jordan — an American woman who married King Hussein). Even though one of my friends is Israeli and I actually spent two weeks in Israel about 10 years ago, I didn’t really understand all the politics until I read that book. Granted, it’s gives a glowing review of King Hussein that is probably not quite realistic. But it explains in great detail how the Zionist movement came to pass and the implications for the uprooted Palestinians.

Sigh. Who knew getting home was a matter of solving world peace.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    DIY said,

    Did he have a picture of Jimmy Carter on his dash?

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