by Greg Scott
All the usual stuff about you must be old enough in your jurisdiction, etc. In other words, if you are underage, don't read this unless you have a really cool teacher who assigned it. Otherwise, come back in a few years, when nobody will yell at you.
------------------------------"Where would you like to go," asked my cab driver once I had settled into the back seat.
I gave him my home address. The ride would be about forty minutes from the airport.
Here's what I know about taxi drivers:
1) They are either totally silent or talk non-stop. The first is discomforting; the other is downright irritating.
2) If they talk, they always either talk about sports teams in which I have no interest (Dallas Cowboys--although I used to be a fan, Notre Dame football or any hockey team) or about politics in a way in which I have no idea which leaves me speechless, because they are so full of contradictory statements that I have no idea about what they actually believe. If they do the former, I can carry on a conversation, because I can shift the conversation to some sport or team in which I have a partisan interest. If the talk is about politics, I usually decide to just agree with whatever it is that they think they feel passionately about. Then I conclude by telling them that their position clearly indicates that they should vote for my candidate for whatever position they seem to hold.
3) If they are among the non-talkers, no matter what the current environmental conditions, they will say something like, "If you don't like the weather, you don't have to worry. Around here, the weather changes every fifteen minutes.
Why is it that taxi drivers, and perhaps the rest of us, always believe that our own climate is the only one that is subject to change at the whim of Mother Nature without sufficient forewarning? I think it's because we all like to think of ourselves adaptable to any situation in which we find ourselves, and weather provides an ideal metaphor for that.
4) They all smell either super sweet, as if they had showered in the finest perfume, or the have an odor that suggests that they have been working non-stop in the hot sun for five days without any time to even rinse off the accumulation of dust, sweat and the mixed aromas of city streets--from tacos to burgers, exhaust to fine wine.
5) They are all either, what my mother would have described as "butt ugly," or have a sensuality that is barely below the surface. There never seems to be any driver somewhere in between the two extremes.
6) They are either masters of colloquial English or they have no understanding of the native language but a superb knowledge of the geography of the city, once you are able to communicate your destination.
On this late afternoon ride, my driver seemed to be the only one I've ever had who landed in the middle of those descriptions. He talked, but only enough to ask about my trip and follow-up on a couple points. He never mentioned the weather--current conditions, expectations or the fact that it might change at any point. While there was a brief whiff of perfume, I also noticed a slightly intoxicating human odor--just the slightest trace of sweat in my nostrils after his long wait at the airport in the hot sun awaiting a fare.
If he were hanging around a gay club on a Saturday night, you wouldn't have made a play for him at nine o'clock, but he definitely wouldn't be around until closing. He wasn't the shallow "gym boy" that you might have your eye on, but neither was he the troll that you might accept at closing in order to just get your rocks off.
His English was practiced, but it had an accent that I could not trace to any region of the U.S. On the other hand, neither could I identify it as one of the many accents influenced by the first languages with which I was familiar. It certainly wasn't French, Spanish, German, Russian or Scandavian. It might have been from Eastern Europe, but usually in such cases there are more similarities to either German or Russian.
He was an enigma. Nothing excites me more!
I tried to read his name from his taxi license hanging in the front seat. I could read enough of the letters to know that the combination was not a typical American name, but there were enough blanks in my middle aged vision that I couldn't connect the dots.
Rather than ask his name, I jumped to the next item of discussion.
"Where are you from?" I asked.
"Right here," he replied. "I grew up in Milwaukee since I was ten."
"Where did your family come from?" asked I, for some reason more focussed on his family's heritage than his own life experience.
He told me.
"Do you keep to the customs of the old country, or are you an American?" I asked clumsily.
"Both," he said, but fortunately he continued. "I try to stay in contact with my cultural heritage and my religion, but I also am an American."
"What does that mean?" I asked.
"I want to be proud of my heritage, but I also want to be an American. I try to find the middle way."
"Where do the two come into conflict?" I asked.
In my post business trip stupor, I thought that it was a deep question. My driver let me know that I had not been sufficiently specific. He must have known that I would ask more.
"Rarely," he said, as if that would respond to the essence of my query.
"When does your heritage come into conflict with the American way?" I asked, not sure that I was being any more specific, but this guy was really starting to intrigue me.
"Well," he started as if he was testing me about my own knowledge of the ideals as opposed to the reality of our system, "We are taught to respect authority if it is god-given. You are taught to respect authority if it is asserted by a collection of people who have selfish intensions--if they are in the majority."
"So, are you not motivated by the majority?" I asked. "Doesn't that interfere with the rights of the people?"
"It might," he replied, "but only if you are sure that all the people are included in the majority. Otherwise the claim of respect for the rights of the minority are false."
I have to admit that I was in total agreement with his arguments to this point, but they did nothing to further my interest in this guy in another realm.
"Where does your religion come into conflict?" I asked, trying to trap him in his own web.
"I don't think it does," he replied. "I think it brings all of us closer together."
"Do you have restrictions on what you eat?"
"Of course," he answered without hesitation. "Don't you? Are you allowed to eat people.":
"Certainly not," I said.
"Are you allowed to eat dogs?"
"I really don't know that it is covered by my religion," I asserted. "I wouldn't eat a dog in any case."
"In the same way, we are not allowed to eat meat from certain animals," he said. "It's not a problem."
"So you don't care that you don't have ham?" I asked.
"You don't miss what you've never had," he proclaimed.
"And bacon?" I asked as the true test.
"You don't miss what you've never had," he proclaimed again.
I began to smell more of my target and less of the perfume as I continued. His masculine aroma began to work its way into my libido. I was becoming aroused as I continued what I thought to be an intimate conversation with my driver, becoming more handsome with every turn through the confusing city traffic. His route was more convoluted that what I would have chosen.
"What about sex?" I asked, turning the conversation in the direction that I wanted it to go.
"What about it?," he asked diverting my question like a pro.
"Does your heritage or religion allow freedom of sexual expression?"
"I can do whatever I want with my wife as long if it does not harm her," he replied with confidence.
"Are you married?," I inquired, knowing that this answer would determine my behavior and even my conversation through the next fifteen minutes of my taxi ride and beyond.
"No, I am not yet married," he explained.
"What are you allowed to do for sexual relief?"
"Sexual relief will come when I am married," he replied. "In the meantime, I strive to become true to my future wife."
"In the meantime, are you allowed to jack-off?"
"I can't touch myself to bring pleasure to only me. I can bring pleasure only when it is in the presence of another, my wife."
"Do you mean that you can't relieve your tension by providing relief to yourself?" I asked.
"Any pleasure that only brings relief to me is selfish. That is not the way that we should follow," he proclaimed.
By this time, I had a totally different view of my driver. He was exotic, slightly dark, and very aromatic. The perfume of his existence had totally disappeared. Only his slight body odor was wafting in my direction.
"What if others bring you to pleasure?" I asked hopefully.
"That is unclear to me," he said. "It might be okay, but only if there are not other clear alternatives."
"Your back must be painful after a day in a taxi. How about I offer you a massage?"
"Sure" he said.
"Anything else I can do for you?"
"Only if it is not to simply satisfy me."
"What if it only satisfies you--and one other person?"
"Okay," he said.
I made my move.
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