Why I Love Taking Cabs in D.C.
Updated: Nov 26, 2020
“You’re behind some great drivers tonight,” I joked. We had been stuck behind someone in a traffic circle who was obviously confused by them (no hard feelings–that was me 10 years ago) and then someone in the left lane with her right turn signal on, who decided to turn left at the red light.
“Ah, it’s okay,” he said in a thick accent reminiscent of Borat. “It doesn’t bother me.”
“You have a lot of patience. If I drove all day, I think I’d just be angry all the time,” I told him.
“When I get narvus, it is bad for bizness,” he explained. “If a driver get narvus at me, and I get narvus back, it just… raise my level. And why?”
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” he continued, “and I have learned. Early on, when I had only been doing this for 5 years, a family got into my cab–two kids, man, woman. Then a driver got narvus at me and I got narvus back at him, and the family got out of my cab saying ‘No, no, that’s alright.’ So I never did that again. Getting narvus at other drivers is bad for bizness.”
“Last week, I pull over for a lady, and a cab from over here cut in front of me.” He motioned with his hands to demonstrate how he had pulled over to the curb from the right lane, but the other cab had been in the left lane and cut him off abruptly in an attempt to get the fare. “But he was narvus. And the lady, she walk over to my cab. And I had my window down and he came over and was yelling. And the lady was saying, ‘Why? What is going on?’ And I was smiling at her, saying ‘I don’t know,’ but on the other side, my hand drop under the window, and I been giving him the finger. That is why he get so narvus. But getting narvus? It’s bad for bizness. Joking is good for bizness.”
I rode to National Airport in the cab of a self-identified serial entrepreneur. “I was watching the History Channel last night,” he said, about eight minutes into our trip. “It was a show called ‘The Men Who Built America,’ and they were talking about Vanderbilt and the railroads, and the next one’ll be about Edison. But what I didn’t know, is that the country was in debt back then–just like it is now. And you know what they did?”
“They borrowed $100 million from J.P. Morgan,” he continued. “Not from China like we do now, but from a person. Can you imagine? Being the guy who bailed out the country? Made me look at the bank bailout completely different.”
“Where are you going?” the cab driver asked me as I got into his car at LAX. As I started to tell him, he interrupted with “You just show me?”
“Sure, I can do that,” I answered. Long silence. “Turn right here, left up there… right… and left here.”