White guilt and the taxi hustle

“THIS is terrible, I am cursed. YOU are the THIRD one in a row,” the middle eastern taxi driver snarled from the front seat, his eyes glaring at me through the slit of the rear-view mirror. “How can I possibly make any money today with such undesirables?”

I looked around, but it was just me and him inside the car. All I had said up to that point was one word: “Skokie.”

Skokie, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, was apparently the butthole of the universe in the world of local taxi drivers with high expectations.

“How can one eat with such a short fare?”, he sucked on a Gogurt and continued with his rant.

This guy was no Stick Man and had many tasty snacks in the queue. He was sportin’ some serious girth and had solved that puzzle a long time ago. I was thinking if I had wanted to travel farther than Skokie, I would have stayed on the plane.

He seemed to be doing pretty well for himself with his Gucci loafers and Rolex watch. In Chicago, cabbies own their vehicles. This one was a brand new Prius with all the battery-powered bells and whistles. He was flying’ through traffic, that thing could really move. He told me if I threw up in his cab it would be extra, and if I was a meat eater that would be extra still.

He had memorized his script and had it down pat like a rainmaking telemarketer. He was good. Somehow, he had transformed me into a guilt-laden, cheap-ass white racist skinflint and proceeded to shame me out my hard earned blue-collar Dinar. He shared with me that he had recently visited his brother who lives in Redmond Washington right next to Microsoft campus. He played good cop, bad cop all by himself, despite the chilly atmosphere in the car, I was starting to seriously sweat, waiting for him to throw a shoe at me.

“Is your brothers house a Yurt, and how many goats does he own?” I wondered.

No, I learned it’s a 4,000 square foot house that’s practically made of gold.

“Do you have any kleenex up there, I’m getting a little weepy,” I said.

After dumping me and my bag just shy of the Skokie Holiday Inn, so he could make a u-turn, and accepting my miserly 40% “white guilt” tip, I’m sure he got back in line at the airport and greeted his new fare with,

“THIS is terrible, I am cursed, you’re the FOURTH one in a row.”

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