People ask if driving a cab is scary, if I ever feel threatened.
Naw, I say, I just stay alert and do my best to avoid trouble. But, they ask, what about the glass partitions? Isn't there a reason the city requires those?
From what I understand, the city made the partitions mandatory about 20 years ago following a wave of robberies and shootings of cab drivers. But me? I think they were really installed to protect passengers from cab drivers.
Take the other day. I pull up to a cab stand, getting in line behind two other cabs in front of me. I proceed to read my newspaper when I look up and notice the driver of the lead cab animatedly talking to the driver behind the wheel of the car directly in front of me. The guy is completely engrossed in what he is saying, waving his arms excitedly, when he points directly at my car, no, directly at me. This gets my attention, as I don't have any idea who this driver is. They continue talking for a bit when a woman walks up and gets into the lead cab. The driver breaks away from his conversation and runs back to his cab.
After he pulls away from the stand with his fare, the driver of the car in front of me gets out of his cab and walks back to my cab. I roll down my window.
"You da guy?"
What guy? I ask.
"Da guy who stabbed Georgie?"
"You were driving dis cab last night?"
"Da guy said da guy driving dis cab stabbed Georgie, dat Georgie cut in front of you on a stand and dat you got into an ahgument and stabbed him wid your key. Sent him to da hospital."
"But tell me, how'd ya get out of jail so soon?"
Now, I don't know this guy, never heard of Georgie (although some of the other cabbies later told me that Georgie is well-known nutcase with hair-trigger temper), and though I was driving this cab the night before, anyone who knows me knows I would never get into big argument over who's ahead of whom on a cab stand, much less do anything violent, no matter how wronged I was. This clearly was a case of mistaken identity.
Yeah, that was me, I said.
Don't ever cut in front of me on a cab stand. Now, scram, before I get irritated.
Being a badass never felt so good.