Driving the holidays.


During my Sunday (day shift) and Monday (night/morning) shifts

  • I took a couple Mexican guys home from the Tenderloin area to the Mission Sunday night. They were in a (drunk) chatty mood, but didn’t speak much English. I tried what little Spanish I knew and we had a fun time counting up the streets on Mission. Dieciocho… diecinueve…
  • I brought some people from the Outer Mission to “Cell Space” a non-profit community center in the Mission. A few blocks later after dropping them off I was hailed by a bewildered pair of older ladies. They were having an impossible time finding the center, which is hard to distinguish from a run-down warehouse on the outside. As it was only a few blocks away, I felt bad charging them and let them have the ride for free.
  • I picked up an elderly lady in the Mission on Sunday. She was going across Noe Valley to Walgreens. As soon as I started driving, she started panicking, “I need to lock my door! I need to lock my door!” I locked the doors from the driver console, but her panics didn’t subside. I stopped the car and unlocked the doors. She reopened and shut her her door, looking much calmer afterwards. I’m not sure what set her off. I guess she didn’t think her door was shut all the way? I thought it was funny, especially considering how many people don’t shut the van sliding doors all the way, only to hear the ‘door ajar’ chimes all the way to our destination. Most people don’t seem to care.
  • I took a business-ey looking guy to work in the morning. I figured it’d be another trip where I listen to NPR’s Morning Edition while he’s still half asleep. This guy was different, for once. We had a great chat about our respective jobs. I also told him about the part-time video work I do. His wife called him halfway to work — he had left some syrup on the kitchen chair. Thanks, business guy, for the fun ride.
  • I took a guy from one 8 hour shift to start another 8 hour shift across town in the Bayview. Bayview/Hunters Point feels very different from other parts of San Francisco. It seems like the rest of the City forgets that it exists.
  • I picked up a lady in the middle of the night and took her from the Lower Haight to Hayes Valley, just a few blocks away. When we got near her destination she told me she didn’t have any cash, just an ATM card. The closest ATM was at least as far as we had come already. It wouldn’t make any sense to drive for 10 minutes for $5. She knew what she was doing, but there was no sense in getting pissed off about it. I thanked her and let her go without a fuss. Besides, what would a fuss from me look like anyway? I should have paid more attention to her nervous body language, but the whole time I was trying to figure out if she was originally a woman or man.
  • I had a horrible day (in terms of earnings) on Monday. I was looking at going home with only about $60. I was feeling worn out and ready for sleep. As I headed back early to the garage and was about to jump on 280 South, a lady walks out of her apartment with luggage in hand and hails me for a quick trip to SFO. That bumped me up to $100. Thanks, lady.
  • Compare the horrible Monday to an amazing Sunday. I had the second highest shift ever in my short history of driving. You just never know whether or not it’s going to be a good shift.

It’s raining tonight and I start in an hour or so. You would think that’s a good thing. We’ll see.

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2 Responses to Driving the holidays.

  1. I just want to say how I enjoyed reading your blog – thank you.
    Re. your piece on whether peoples complaints about price – I think it’s related to the purchase of something they know is unavoidable, although it’s not really! If they go for a big night out they know they’re going to have to take a taxi home – because, by that stage, they cannot drive anyway it’s a necessity to pay for a cab. Hence the griping – they feel they don’t have a choice – even though they made a concious and sensible decision earlier.
    just my 2c…

  2. kfarr says:


    I guess it’s just human nature to grumble about prices, though most of the time people are quite pleasant even when it’s a long and pricey trip.

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