The Meddler

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I am a deflater of balloons…a popper of bubbles, and a devoted disabuser of illusions.

I meddle…………………sometimes silently.

What is high must be brought low, and what has been humbled and wounded must be raised up and mended.

It just comes naturally.

Does that make me a Democrat? A Socialist?

Or simply a disgruntled Humanist?

A taxicab is the most liberal of vehicles…any paying ass on the seat…and the variety of character that slides across the Naugahyde, covers the full spectrum of social strata. The seat that held two prostitutes may have been warmed by the governor; while he had inhaled the fumes of the pot dealer that preceded him. I thought about it all the time…particularly when the contrast was so striking (the above sequence actually occurred).

A woman emerged from her palatial home on Jackson Street, impeccably dressed in some designer something or other, whose name I wouldn’t know for years. She sat regally in the back, as if the cab were her private limousine, and the air around her seemed to grow stiff and stale.

She wanted to go to the new Nordstrums  on 5th and market.

It had been my practice, that for certain passengers I would take a scenic route whenever possible. Not out of the way, just down interesting streets. I thought this passenger might enjoy a cruise through the tenderloin. The sight of the city’s huddled masses has a curdling effect on expensive perfume. I drove slowly past the cutting edge, a line of destitute men and women stretching for several blocks.

The papers had been full of stories of impoverished families joining the growing lists of homeless, and it was nearly Christmas.

As we passed, my elegant passenger asked:

“Driver, why are all these people standing in line?”

I looked at her for a few moments in the rear view mirror, wondering if she had been vacationing on Mars for the last few years, and said,

“For food.”

She replied,

“Well, I don’t see why they let them do that right here downtown, why don’t they send them to the Mission district or somewhere…?”

I said nothing, and waited patiently when she had me double park on busy Fifth Street; waited while angry drivers cursed at me for blocking the street; waited and watched for a police car;  waited while she took a very long time to pick something up from her husband (perhaps she was “Mrs. Nordstrum); and throughout the silent trip back to Pacific Heights, I felt I knew with certainty, exactly where Marie Antoinette had been reborn.

My next fare, was a few blocks away…and as I rang the bell, I could hear angry shouts and curses from female voices inside.

Out came a fifteen year old girl in skin-tight everything, smoking a cigarette and projecting her toughness:

“Christ, I fucking hate them, can you cash a check?”

Nooooo…..”, I said. Most conversations didn’t leave room for elaborate answers…and this girl had an agenda.

“That’s okay, take me to the supermarket on California, they’ll cash it…my parents have an account there.”

She smoked and swore at the very same parents for the next seven blocks. I watched her walk into the market, and despite her attempts to ooze sexuality, I could not see beyond the image of a child dressed up in Mommy’s clothes, right down to the too-big-for-her high heels. Her little feet sloshed around in them and the teetering only made her look clumsy.

After half an hour, she finally came back with cash, and two bags of groceries. She gave me an address in the Western Addition.

On the way, she confided to me that she was moving out of her parent’s home “as soon as fucking possible”, and in with her boyfriend, who her parents hated because he was black, and a junkie who sold drugs.

Is he?” I said, kind of lamely.

“Yeah, but he only does it for fun…and he’s got to get money, so he sells shit.”

She further volunteered that she was telling her mother and father to go fuck themselves, and giving up her inheritance. She and “her man” would make it okay without “their fucking money” (which just paid for the groceries).

“Does he love you?”, I askedalso lame, but pertinent, I thought.

“Oh yeah, he’s got two other chicks that want him, but he said he wants to marry me.”

We had reached the address she asked for, and there sat the boyfriend with two other guys on the front steps of an apartment house.

She rolled the window down and waved.

They laughed.

As she gathered her grocery bags, I ventured…

“Hey, it’s none of my business, but don’t give up on your parents so easily, do what you want, but someday you might want to go home again.

She paid me and with a sarcastic smirk, said:

“Right.”

I watched her walk across the street to her boyfriend, who, without taking the groceries from her arms, put his hand up the back of her miniskirt, and rubbed her ass while they stood there talking.

I turned the corner, and hoped I’d run into the Governor.

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~ by theoxherd on January 8, 2013.

4 Responses to “The Meddler”

  1. I hope to hail you next time i’m in the city:) …and here’s hoping to hop in after the governor,too.

  2. once again, Like is the wrong word. But it is amazing how we remained alive and in good shape despite having done so many stupid things when young.

  3. magic painting btw.

  4. Interesting life of a taxi driver. your photos are magically beautiful…

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