Taxi Driver

Over at Sarah’s, Robert Ferrigno describes a Bay Area cab ride and the search for characters from actual experience.

Long before obesity was all the rage my friend Norm set out to become the largest man in the world. He needed a sedentary job with junk food potentialization.

A taxi medallion in NYC cost as much as a seat on the stock exchange. Norm scouted the NYSE only to discover the nearest hot dog vendor was down on Broadway; he became a ‘relief driver.’

A relief driver just pays rent to the medallion owner and works a shift. It’s usually a night shift unless it’s a major holiday. You pick up your taxi at the garage, pay the Danny Devito guy the rent and hit the streets. Norm would cruise Museum Row, not for fares, for hot dogs. He’d get really annoyed when people woud jump aboard and want to go somewhere.

Norm would sometimes recruit friends to drive his shift. He had three rules; no high flagging, no drinking in the cab itself, no sex in the backseat.

He never could figure out why fares wanted to have sex in the back of his cab. He’d high flag it down Second Avenue to a sound track of moans and groans. One night he had an epiphany. It’s the potholes man. Norm would careen from lane to lane in search of the best potholes NYC had to offer. They’d hit the roof in the back; twenty dollar tips flowed like water.

Of course there was no hundred million dollar bonus like Dick Grasso got for being fired from the stock exchange. And Norm wasn’t tallest to become the largest man in the world; but Estonian ballerinas rarely have orgasms on the trading floor of the NYSE. Unless it was their turn to ring the bell.