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Drivers at the Cab Garage

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Samarov
1448 Rider
 Posted 4 years, 5 months ago

This is an excerpt from Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab.

    Some of the drivers hang around the garage like house cats. You see the same ones puttering around, playing listless games of pool, or just pacing back and forth. They’re not the ones waiting for their cab to get fixed, nor the ones hoping one becomes available; these ones park instead of  driving and prefer the fumes from the body shop to those of the moving vehicles on the streets. How they make their living is a mystery.

    A recurring drama plays out nearly every time there are more than three or four of us waiting in line to pay the leases on our taxis: a guy will get in line, stand for a minute or two, then wander off to chat with friends or use the bathroom. When he returns inevitably the line has grown longer and he’ll attempt to convince the newcomers of his rightful place. Depending on their disposition and his approach, this seemingly simple situation can escalate into a hilarious screaming tirade, often resolved by a self-appointed elder statesman who takes it upon himself to explain the proper etiquette of the queue. The funny thing is that no one involved ever remembers the last time and is apt to repeat the performance when they come in the next day. The two most grizzled ones get into it over the good old days-- the first insists medallions cost 32K, the second dead sure they were 50K at the time in question. "He still smoking the cocaine, the old fool!" the burnout shouts to all within earshot as the object of his scorn walks away, the disagreement apparently settled. Maybe standing and waiting is too much drudgery and a bit of entertainment makes it all…

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This is an excerpt from Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab.

    Some of the drivers hang around the garage like house cats. You see the same ones puttering around, playing listless games of pool, or just pacing back and forth. They’re not the ones waiting for their cab to get fixed, nor the ones hoping one becomes available; these ones park instead of  driving and prefer the fumes from the body shop to those of the moving vehicles on the streets. How they make their living is a mystery.

    A recurring drama plays out nearly every time there are more than three or four of us waiting in line to pay the leases on our taxis: a guy will get in line, stand for a minute or two, then wander off to chat with friends or use the bathroom. When he returns inevitably the line has grown longer and he’ll attempt to convince the newcomers of his rightful place. Depending on their disposition and his approach, this seemingly simple situation can escalate into a hilarious screaming tirade, often resolved by a self-appointed elder statesman who takes it upon himself to explain the proper etiquette of the queue. The funny thing is that no one involved ever remembers the last time and is apt to repeat the performance when they come in the next day. The two most grizzled ones get into it over the good old days-- the first insists medallions cost 32K, the second dead sure they were 50K at the time in question. "He still smoking the cocaine, the old fool!" the burnout shouts to all within earshot as the object of his scorn walks away, the disagreement apparently settled. Maybe standing and waiting is too much drudgery and a bit of entertainment makes it all a little more worthwhile.

   The drivers spotted in the garage are rarely encountered out in the city, but maybe they’re unrecognizable when driving rather than fighting over their spot in line or bullshitting with their buddies. So much of it is context--stripped of their taxis, away from the streets, they’re not the ones out there trying to hijack your fares, but just guys trying to get through the day.

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Comments

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    emerymahon
    48
     4 years ago

    I always figured taxi drivers didn't really interact with one another? Am I wrong? Was it like a club, comraderie?

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      Samarov
      OP 1448 Rider
       4 years ago

      Many did, though I kept to myself. One of my favorite parts of the job was that there were no coworkers.