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Cab #3329

Date: July 7, 2006
From: Wicker Park
To: Near North Side

The Cab: My first Mohawk cab - the ones with the rooftop advertising wedge. ("Allstate Deduction Rewards"). Otherwise clean, sturdy, and nondescript.

The Driver: A pleasure. At first I thought he was Italian. Then I felt stupid when he told me he just got back from vacationing in Argentina, where he is moving next year with his wife. He intimated that he was from South America. Am I that bad at discerning accents?

Regrettably, I didn't get his name. But boy did he love to talk. And not in an annoying way. He's been driving a cab for 38 years, and he's seen the city change. That $35,000 three-flat? It now goes for a million. "It's incredible the money they spend," he says of the city's new residents. "Whaddya gonna do? Things change."

Even a studio these days goes for $600, $700, $800. "A studio. You know what a studio is? A little room. You cook in it, you sleep in it . . . all in one room."

Most satisfying, though perhaps a safety hazard, this fellow wants to look at me as he talks. So he adjusts his rear view mirror so he can. But then, do I look at him to talk as I have been, or do I look at his face in the mirror? I can't decide, and go back and forth, which probably marks me as neurotic, and possibly short of cash.

At Crosby and Division, we commemmorate the site of his first robbery. Further along Division Street, he tells a tale I think I've heard before: A wealthy man promises a huge tip, but adds only a quarter to the fare. Later, he realizes the big tip was the man's suggestion that he take all the money he has and buy a plot around Cabrini-Green. Just let it sit vacant, and pay the taxes. Because some day . . .

"That was his tip!"

And then it turns out the man is from Italy after all. His wife is from Argentina. They've had a long, happy marriage.

The Driving: I didn't even notice.

Overall Rating: 4 extended arms. I deduct one arm from perfection just because I'm suspicious about that tip story.

- Steve Rhodes


Posted on July 7, 2006

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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