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.

55 comments:

Fish said...

that's awesome that you got to meet him, i saw him in mulholland drive and i thought he was a pretty good actor. never seen six feet under though.

great blog by the way!

scout29c said...

Melissa,

I keep seeing comments from people who read about you in stories from all over the world, and decide to visit your site. You are becoming famous.

One word of caution: When you become famous, you don't have fame, it has you. Remember, once you check into the famous hotel (Hotel California), you can check out, but you can never leave.

Keep telling us about your riders.

PJ Geraghty said...

The answer to your fire season question is "sort of." Winter is commonly a busier time of year for residential fires (especially in urban areas, like NYC) because of the use of space heaters, candles, etc. for warmth. Summer is forest fire season.

Alli said...

I had the biggest crush on that guy when he was in Charlie's Angels 2 (which is a little scary because he played, well, a psycopath). Anyway, I love reading your blog and whenever I hail a cab I always hope that you're the driver......and don't worry, I won't say "Wow, a female cabdriver," I'll probably say something even stupider like "Are you the New York Hack?"

Jane said...

Ooh...that's pretty damn awesome. This is the first time I've read your blog, and I feel I will become slowly addicted.

Anonymous said...

Well at least the bloody bloke tipped yeah huh? To bad you didn't get his autograph...but his picture is worth a thousand moans between the sheets...LOL

stephanie_in_mass said...

I bet those moments are the upside to being a cab driver, you never know who is going get in huh? Since reading this blog that makes two stars in your cab?

UNFJoel said...

Justin was also the evil DJ in Zoolander, and I think he was also in Duplux and Charlie's Angels 2.

LTCCDR said...

What part did he play in Charlie's Angels?

Cee said...

A star sighting, how fun. I see *them* occasionally around where I live, it is always so exciting. Don't worry, I don't approach them I admire them from afar.

I hope the fire season in your area dies down.

Anonymous said...

Weird. I was on 23rd Street last weekend and there was a trash can on fire. Not so odd, maybe, except that everyone was just walking by, ignoring it, and there were no uniformed first responder types to be seen. It was like I was the only person who noticed it.

Pope-rah said...

Have you ever been afraid of any passengers? As a woman I would think you'd get a lot of lewd comments.

connie said...

Great blog. I enjoy your blog. If I ever get to new york I hope i get to ride in your cab

greg said...

Speaking of your celebrity passengers, Teddy Geiger's album hits the stores tomorrow. You can listen to it at AOL Music's Full CD Listening Party through Sunday. (It may be there next Monday, but if it is, they'll move it out of the first spot and you'll have to scroll to find it.)

Anonymous said...

The fire on 3rd and 27th was at Aiello's pizza. Place got burnt to a crisp--I hope no one was hurt.

They had amazing buffalo wings :(

William K. Scurry Jr. said...

Star-FUCKING, is what it's called when done right. I metaphorically tackle hollywoodium-actorius (phylum/genus) like I'm Refrigerator Perry... there's shoes and helmets tossed around the astroturf. Not pretty.

mitch said...

This past week on Staten Island there were 3 big brush fires, all of them were a day or two apart and all within a couple blocks from my house. I hate Fire Season.

Sacha said...

Gee, even I am addicted now. A 30 yr. old women from Kalamazoo, Michigan. And yes, there really is a Michigan....

shirley said...

How cool - I never recognize celebrities unless I'm with more observant friends. I love New York City!

Julia said...

Justin Theroux...I recognized him immediately! I'm such a TV addict it's scary! lol

Leslie said...

OOOh.. I like the fact I can click on his pic and make it bigger... meeoooww..purrrrr. Keep up the good work M. I'm here for the long haul. cheers [ii]}

Eileen said...

I saw a trash can fire this winter too, on a corner in the 20s...hope I hail your cab someday, Hack...

Anonymous said...

I am the only girl where I work at a technical help desk. When I first started 2 years ago everytime I answered the phone I got the response "Wow a girl, is there anyone there who can help me?"

Patrick said...

..damn fires!...

Pat T Hat said...

Obviously: Spring Fire Sales!

... from Baghdad said...

What a beautiful beautiful blog...

A definite MUST READ!

Cheer yo, Melissa!

threetoedsloth said...

But seriously, what's it like to be a female cab driver??

pelican1 said...

Really love your blog. Only found it recently. There used to be a cabbie in SFO that wrote a column a couple of times a month called "Night Cabbie". Mostly he just complained about life. And when I was very young, there was a book called "My Flag is Down" that I have never forgotten. Anyway, you are on my permanent daily reading must. Love it.

By the way I drove a cab for a couple of months in Las Vegas in another life. Very tough job.

itsybitsygod said...

LTCCDR- he played Drew Barrymore's psycho irish-mob boyfriend.

I hadn't even read the post yet and I was already hopping up and down with joy. I LOVE Justin Thereaux! Okay, I don't love him I just think he's incredibly pretty and a really talented actor. I don't even like boys, but I probably wouldn't have charged him for the ride just because he's so GD gorgeous. I'd be a terrible cabbie.

Anonymous said...

It is always fire season in NYC 365 / 24 .

David said...

I love Justin Theroux.

Jzero said...

Would have been classic to insist that you loved him in that movie where he played a jewel thief.

Anonymous said...

I can hardly imagine what it's like to hear the chick cabbie comment 40 times a night.

Back in the '80s when I drove, even then I was one of the 5% or so native-born pale-face Yanks on the job. I too got the OMG reaction half the night ... then they'd ask me what my middle initial was because they were shocked they could pronounce the very common Irish name they saw on my license. Naturally, I had to say: Is MuHAMMed!

Lotsa luck

Jill said...

I met Chad Lowe that way, by saying he looked familiar. He said his name and I said 'Oh, your the guy who's married to what's her face. Then I had to go back to making his sandwich.

The astrological fire sign of Aries began yesterday. Coincidence??

shameer said...

u carry the blues of Newyorkers. blues are still green in New Yoek....
www.movableproperties.blogspot.com

Daisy said...

And they always think they are being clever, when they say stuff like that

Anonymous said...

Do you ever read Bust Magazine? It seems like you'd appreciate it -it's a great, snarky mag for women with a brain. Anyway, Justin Theroux was on the cover of their Aug/Sept 05 issue and did a great interview. Based on the interview he seemed like a really intelligent guy who would take notice of gender roles, as he did in your cab.

anna said...

HAhaha, the old man must have been the best. When I lived in new york, I always saw famous people here and there.. but otherwise from that, the old man comment is awsome

kid said...

they're are right about the famous thing. i live in brisbane, australia and heard a whole group of people talking about it at my work (cinemas) so decided to check it out. Supastar!!! peace

red again said...

I am so jealous... of who you met and what you do.

Anonymous said...

In my middle teens I worked as a Waiter at a restrurant about halfway between Manhattan/FT. Riley, KS. and Kansas City, KS. Many movie stars would stop in for coffee breaks on their way back to the KC airport. Many were doing speeches or getting hororary degrees at KSU. Some did things at Ft. Riley. I met John Wayne, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Gregory Peck, Bette Davis, Jane Powell, Van Johnson and many others. Probably 60 or 70 over a two year period. I would say 90% were extremely nice people that treated and talked to me respectfully, and gave good tips. In the early to mid 60's a $1.00 tip was a great tip. Most tips ranged from .10 to .25 cents. About 10% (men and women) were pure dicks and conviced me their existance was a pure waste of skin. One Waitress told John Wayne " Oh my god, my husband just loves you and goes to every one of your movies. I just wish he could be like you". The Duke asked her "does he put his pants on one leg at a time". She said "Yes" and then the Duke said "then he is just like me". That was the first I heard that wisdom. I realized he was saying he didn't consider himself any better than anyoneelse. He then got up and gave me a $5 tip and went a paid his tab and left. By the way, his tab for Hamburger, Fries and Coffee was .95 cents.

iloveshiner said...

Wow, I loved that guy on Six Feet Under. He played such a cool character and I was bummed when she got back together with Nate! I wonder what he's doing now? I guess it's time to check out imdb.com....

I check out your blog daily. Thanks for the fun read!

Brian Pigeon said...

Your blog rocks. Mind you, NYC probably rocks as does being a cabbie. Keep it up - all of it!
Your pal
Brian P

Anonymous said...

Loving your blogs. Keep up with the good work. I'm tunning in from SF area..caught your article in the Guardian Weekly!

Me said...

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Grant Miller said...

That's that one guy, isn't it?

Matt said...

I used to be a fan of Six Feet Under and didn't recognize the guy from that photo. That's him? He was good looking on the show. Must have been some makeup job....

Matt said...

Oh, that wasn't Nate. My bad.

Comic Mummy said...

I remember him on "Six Feet" - he was cool, but of course I wanted Bren to be with Nate.

I'm an Aussie but a trip to NYC is on the cards for July - I'll be needing a cab from JFK. If it all pans out I'll try to book you in advance!

*disclaimer: rest assured my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek and my 'booking' suggestion is not to be taken seriously. I may be Aussie but I'm not completely naieve. Really. ;-)

tall glass of vino said...

I once had a lengthy conversation with a woman cabbie, after a rash of crimes against cab drivers had broken out. We talked about how she tried to be selective about who she chose to take in her cab late at night, what she looked at as warning signs.

A couple of years later, I was introduced to a friend's new girlfriend, and she seemed so familiar that I tried to place her - turns out she was that cabbie, and she remembered me and our conversation that night.

Small world.

Anonymous said...

I would've absolutely died being that Mulholland Drive is my favorite movie and 6 Feet Under my favoite tv show :) Congratulations on the book deal!! I'll certainly be buying it, keep us informed.
Amy

hcbl said...

new movie comming soon

boondock saints 2

http://saints-2.blogspot.com

Brokeassnigga said...

Yo, I'm hoping you'll recognize me in the back your cab someday. Keep blogging!

MJ06 said...

Hey do you guys have radios in your cabs like not standard am fm radios but cbs or radios that you talk to your garage with because I always wondered with 12000 cabs how would you chose wich ones you wanted to dispatch over the radio.

Rich The Cab said...

As an ex-cabbie forget the radios the the three most imprtant things in a cab, heater in winter air conditioning units for summer and music for when your sat on your own, this is the life of a cabbie, too hot too cold or just too tired.