Hi there, George checking in from the memory storehouse with another entertaining brain echo from 1997. I’ll make an effort to find something from another era next week.

From 1994-1997, I drove a Chicago cab. It was the perfect complement to a University of Chicago education. I freelanced for a large corporation, I saw the seedy underbelly of the Loop and I rubbed elbows with hardworking immigrants from two dozen different countries.

It was seriously cyberpunk!

One thing I learned quickly is that white cabdrivers were rare. This led to a variety of reactions on the part of my white customers but the most memorable was a lady who called me “poor thing,” quizzed about my life situation (it was fine) and gave me a huge tip – presumably so I could turn my life around.

I was on an adventure. But this subset of my customers treated me like I was a homeless waif fallen from grace in a 19th century morality play. So I wrote a poem about it (back in 1997). Here you go.

No Le Entiendo

taxi taxi
bright and yellow
clean and dark
o taxi mine
leased, not owned
$74 a day, plus gas
and maintenance
“Oh, you’re white.
You’re a
WHITE CABDRIVER!”
“Que?” I say
“No speeka Ingles.”
they shut up
not a word
spoken
no more
rude
nosy
comments
it worked!

Okay, it’s horrible poetry. I should have put a warning. “Warning, amateur poetry. Eyes may bleed.” This is why I write science fiction, okay?

But I thought it was funny when I did it.

Photo Credit: Paul Sableman CC-BY

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