05 March 2010

Cabbie Chronicles#1: Heroin Legacies

On Tuesday, I took a cab to work, as my partner is out of town this week, and my oldest daughter drove my car to school that day.

My cab driver was a regular type dude, the kind of dude with the cap cocked on the side of his head and a toothpick hanging out the side of his mouth ... no problem ... these my type of dudes, the cool dudes from the hood. He living an honest hustle, he's driving this cab, doing his thing .... all right.

I get into the cab and he says, "Good Morning, just wanna let you know my meter broke. Where you goin?"

I said, "33rd and Market."

He said, "A'ight, that's gonna be about a quarta."

I said, "Dat's 'bout right .... I usually do about 20 to 25 on this run."

He was like, "A'ight, cool. I been gettin' good people dis mornin', no arguments 'bout my quotes on da fare."

I said, "Nah, you got it. Dat's about right."

So we start the ride, and I quickly adapt to him talking on his earset and talking to me at the same time. I quickly figure out when I'm spoken to, and when he's talking to a friend, or rather, not talking to me. It always seems like people from the hood automatically know how to hold multiple conversations at one time....

As we're riding along, agreeing on the route, he does get twisted in the directions a bit, but quickly makes up for the time. When we're on 34th Street, about 3 blocks from Market Street, my cab driver is feeling comfortable with me (I guess) and shares his story:

"Yeah. You know. I'm the son of 2 heroin addicts. I been holdin' down this hustle for 3 years now, finally gettin' my life on track. I been outta jail for that long, and I am NOT goin' back. I been in jail, and outta jail, twice, I'm not goin' back no more. Things done changed in there ... when I went the first time, there was mostly old dudes in there, you know, and not alot of us young dudes. The last time I was in it was like, damn, totally switched. Now there's mostly young dudes in jail and not that many old dudes ... somethin's not right ... that blew me away ... I was like, naw, I'm not doin' this no more. When the judge asked me, "Why you deal drugs?" I didn't tell him my parents were heroin addicts. I would NEVER tell him or anyone (in the system) that. But what am I supposed to do? I was tryin' to feed my family, make a livin'. I'm from the hood ... what else did I know to do? But I wasn't gonna tell him that my parents were heroin addicts. Now I'm a supervisa ... I'm doing good .. I'm makin' it."

I told that brother on my way out the cab as I paid my fare, I was like, "Yo, you do you. You keep doing you. You're doing great." He was like, "Yeah, it's all good!" You have a good day now and thank you!" I said, "Thank you! Have a good day, take care!" I rolled out the cab (yes, I literally rolled), got my bearings, and walked to my office.

And I never learned his name.