Monday, March 20, 2006
More cable television
It was a weird night. I waited almost three hours at the garage for my cab to come in, and when I finally got out, it seemed like there were fires breaking out all over the city. Around 6:00, 3rd Ave was closed at 26th St with fire trucks and cop cars taking up the entire avenue. It stayed that way for the next few hours, but the radio didn't have anything to say about what was going on, so I don't know the story. Then an hour later, the fire trucks descended on Lafayette and Astor Place. I had a passenger, so I didn't stick around to see what happened.
Meanwhile, last night there was a fire in the building across the street from mine. When I told a few of my passengers about all this, some of them had recent fire stories of their own. One said that she entered the subway this morning and it was filled with smoke, but the train came anyway and she got on. Another said her office building caught fire yesterday. Is it fire season or something? What the hell?
Anyway, around 8:00 I picked up the guy pictured above. He was going to a hotel on the east side and I didn't pay much attention to him until I heard him talking on the phone. His voice sounded oddly familiar so I turned to look at him when we were stopped at a red light. I recognized his face from somewhere but couldn't pin it down just yet. I said, "I hope you don't think this is weird, but you look really familiar." He answered, "Well, I'm an actor, it could be because of that."
Right when he said that, I realized he was the guy who played Brenda's boyfriend for a while on the HBO series "Six Feet Under." His name is Justin Theroux. When I got home and looked him up online, I realized I also recognized him from David Lynch's Mulholland Dr., in which he played a movie director.
I felt a little weird, calling him out like that, but he didn't seem to mind. I apologized for it and said, "You probably get people saying stuff like that all the time." He said, "Yeah, sometimes. I imagine you get the same thing in a different way, with people always commenting on the fact that you're a female cab driver."
I was kind of surprised that he realized this. Most people just get in and think they're the first person in the whole entire world to observe that I'm a female cab driver. What they don't know is that I hear some version of "Oh, a woman!" or "You're my first female cab driver!" or "What's it like to be a female cab driver?" somewhere between 20 and 30 times a night.
I try to be gracious about it, but it gets grating after a while. Usually around number 15 is when I start to lose it and say snarky obnoxious things like, "I really don't know what it's like to be a female cab driver as I have nothing to compare it to, you know, because I've never been a man." One time an elderly man, in response to this, said wryly, "Oh, you haven't? Are you sure? Well, there's still time."
I did not ask Justin Theroux what it was like to be a male actor, but I did almost forget to collect the fare from him. Almost. He paid, tipped decently, and got out. I drove away and spent the rest of the relatively slow night trying to avoid the fires.