Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Cab Story

One day I left my office and hailed a cab to take me to the PATCO speedline that runs from Center City Philadelphia to Lindenwold, NJ. Many cabdrivers these days stick to chatting to friends via Blue Tooth, but my cabdriver actually talked to me.

“Are you going to Atlantic City?”

“No, I live in New Jersey.”

“What brings you to Center City?”

“I work here.”

“WHAT? At YOUR age and in YOUR condition you WORK?”

Now I do walk with 2 canes and I am a bit slow, but I cover the waterfront.

Before I could respond he added, “You are independent lady. You do not live off government.”

Now this is a sore point for me. If a woman on welfare gets extra food stamp money, she’s a “welfare queen.” Banks that get bailed out are never said to be “living off the government.” But this would be a long argument for a short cab ride and I don’t like to anger a stranger when I’m riding in his moving vehicle.

“How old are you madam? How many hours do you work?”

I was too tired to think of a clever way to evade these questions so I just answered.

“I’m 58. (This happened several years ago) I work a full 40 hour week.”

Pretty soon he was talking to someone in a foreign language. I did not understand the language he spoke but he mentioned “58” and “40 hours.” He was enormously animated.

As I left the cab he said, “It is an honor to assist such a person as yourself.”

“Does that mean a free cab ride? I asked.

“No,” he said. “I’m an entrepreneur.”

© 2014 Stephanie Patterson

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