Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Another cab ride, late.

My driver last night as I got into the front seat of my ride-share was Methuselah himself, or Job, or maybe a combination of the two.

It was late when I rested my gluteus into his black leather interior, and to be completely clear, I wasn't really in the mood for chatter.

He was, however. Maybe in a city where the average age now seems to be 35 or so, he was happy to see someone more or less of his tenure sitting alongside him in his gleaming black GMC Yukon.

"George," he began. He had the lilt of Haiti in his voice and his talcum white hair set off his ebony skin. I looked at his forearms strong on the wheel. They had steel cables running through them like a retired power-hitter.

"George, we is working too hard."

"You don't get any medals for that," I answered with more than a touch of Gary Cooper.

"No, no medals for getting up at four, hitting the city at 4:45 then driving until nine."

I recited a line from Arthur Miller's "Salesman," which I have been ruminating on of late.

"A man is not a piece of fruit," I said. "You can't just eat the orange and throw away the peel."

"No one is throwing me away," he said as we headed across town on 86th Street. "I have a 17-year-old daughter. She is going to college next year. Pre-med."

I nodded in copacetic agreement. 

"My 30-year-old just became a doctor. I worked hard so she wouldn't have debt."

"That is what I am doing, man. 22 Gs it will cost me next year, and I am doing it."

"Nobody knows what it means to be a man. Being a man is paying your bills, doing right by your wife and raising your kids to do better."

"No medals for that, George," he said as he neared my apartment.

"You are a good man, my friend," I said shaking his husky hand. "You are a good man."

I would have invited him out for a beer. But he had to get home and so did I.

As I shut the front door, gently, without slamming, I said, "A medal you deserve."

He laughed a knowing laugh and we waved lightly goodbye.

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