Taxi Cab Confessional
I caught a cab home at 1am, not on the company dime this time, but because it's my Friday and I was spent and my eyes hurt and I just don't feel like it. Couldn't really afford it, but.
New York City cab drivers have this thing they do - you give them a destination and they drive off in the most confident manner before calling their dispatchers, speaking in their own language (not English, usually) and figuring out how the fuck to get there from here. It's such a city thing, like even the cab drivers don't want to look like they haven't lived here for their entire lives.
So my cab driver is talking through his bluetooth headset, not getting lost or anything, and I assume he's got a great spotter on the other end of the line.
But something strange happens.
We stop at a light in the middle of Brooklyn, off the highway and on street level, at a particularly quiet T-intersection, the long side of which parallels a big warehouse (so no cross traffic) and I manage to pick up the other side of his, I now realize, extremely quiet and tender conversation.
I hear the voice of a little girl speaking in Hindi.
I thought about the time difference between here and New Delhi, and realized that it much be early morning there, that he was probably saying goodbye to his daughter on her way out the door to leave for school. It's a fiction that lives entirely within my own head, really, but the feeling of family, of distant family, was overpowering.
And then I realized that all I'd given him was my address and he knew exactly which way to go, shaved three dollars off my fare. And I felt really rotten because I'd read his name off of a laminated piece of plastic instead of asking him for it himself.