Friday, October 1, 2010

Rabbit, Rabbit

Shift #79

FRIDAY, OCT 1 – Third/Mission to Third/Howard -- $5.80

I’m sitting in front of the Westin-Market Street, hoping, of course, for an airport fare. The first sunrise of October is still a short ways off. A woman with no luggage walks down the sidewalk toward my cab. She seems be be a bit uncertain. She stops at my window and I roll it down.

She: “Can you take me to the convention center?”


She: “That’s it -- Moscone!

“Sure, but first I think I should point out that it’s only a block and a half back that way.”

She: “I know it’s right around here somewhere, but I’ve been walking around for about fifteen minutes now…”

“Hop on in!”

She: “I’m sorry…”

“Oh, no… this is what cabs are for.”

As we loop around several blocks of Financial District one-way streets, I promise her that this is not the “scenic route” -- the traffic patterns give me no other choice.

“Not to worry,” she says. “I’m just glad to be in your cab. It’s been years and years since I’ve been to San Francisco, and everything seems out of place to me.” She’s a pediatrician, from Manhattan, here with thousands of other pediatricians here to attend a national convention, starting today.

Me: “I’m not sure I knew what the word pediatrician meant until I became a father thirteen years ago.”

She laughs. “Parents find that we come in pretty handy sometimes. Like cab drivers.”

We talk childcare for a bit, and then, approaching Moscone, I ask her, “Do any of your patients play the 'Rabbit, Rabbit' game?”

She: “No. What’s that?”

Me: “I learned this little bit of nonsense from my ex-wife about thirty-five years ago, and now I’ve passed it along to my daughter: If when you wake up on the first day of the month you say the words 'Rabbit, Rabbit' before you say anything else, you will have a good month!”

She, a little dubious, but chuckling: “That’s news to me.”

Me: “Well, my daughter and I try to say it every month. So far we haven’t missed one all this year. I said it before I left the house this morning, but she was still asleep. When I drop you off I’ll have to give her a call and see…”

She: “Sounds sweet.”

In front of Moscone, I hit the meter, and tell a little, white, resistance-forestalling lie: “I also have another little tradition -- my first ride of every month is free, and this is my first ride of October. I absolutely can not accept money for this ride.”

She, with no resistance at all: “I am not lost any more. I must certainly be in San Francisco.”


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