Riding around in a cab all day is a great way to unwind, provided one is riding shotgun free of charge and it is a nice day. Make friends with someone who drives a cab. That's my advice to you.
This is my cabdrivin' buddy Gil:
And this is all the money he makes:
Seriously though, this guy actually gave him a tip that included quarters. The man was headed to that new car show. He said, "I like to buy cars." It seems the recession isn't affecting everyone.
But it's cool. Gil derives a lot of enjoyment from his job. He really gets into meeting new people from all over the world and comparing notes on life and cabs with them. After each fare, he jots down a quick observation on the people he picked up. He intellectualizes the New York driving experience on a very intense level and reports his findings on his blog Taxicab Almanac of NYC, which I'm a big fan of.
Here's Gil trying to educate me about the flags of the world:
Too bad the weather was so fine that I had turned my brain off and converted it into a solar cell. He explained the flags outside the UN were in alphabetical order and challenged me to identify the ones at the end. I just started naming African countries starting with Z at random. (At least I can do that.)
The intoxicatingly sweet weather was bad news for Gil too, because, on a mild day in spring, no one wants to take a cab if they can walk. Rainy days make for rich cabbies. Still, we met interesting people hailing from Los Angeles to Jakarta. I had to explain to each in turn that I was just a friend and that the cab was open and in service. Even though I was in the front seat, it tended to throw people off.
My favorite part of the Taxicab Almanac of NYC/Bad Idea Potluck mash-up day was discovering that Gil (who I have known since high school) now has real cabbie rants stashed up his sleeve. Apparently, this is an art form you learn in cab driving school. Or acquire in the cab driver's lounge at the airport in between games of backgammon and dominoes. You should hear his rant on modern day "advanced care" toothbrushes. "They look like athletic shoes! I want a toothbrush, not a pair of sneakers!" (He only likes the .99 Walgreen's brand variety, but they are hard to find.)
If you get in his cab one day, say something interesting. It might wind up on the Internet.