Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Quote of the Day, 7/19/06

Today's quote comes from an obscure little book called Taxi Driver Wisdom. I hesitate to call it a coffee-table book, because it's very small, but it serves a similar purpose in that you could pick it up, open to any page, and amuse yourself with this book for 5 minutes at a time. Me, I've read it cover-to-cover many times over and it never fails to amuse me.

The author is Risa Mickenberg and the book is just a compilation of quotes from New York City taxi drivers. The quote I'm providing here is from the author's introduction.
The next time you're in a taxi, ask the driver what function truth serves. Ask why evil exists. Ask if jealousy contradicts love. At first, it might seem a little strange to ask a person who can't even find the Holland Tunnel to give your life direction, but try it. Keep your mind and your bulletproof window open. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "In every man, there is something wherein I may learn of him." Or, as one cab driver put it, "If you're a smart person, you can see what's smart about the next guy. If you're secretly afraid you're a moron, okay, then to you, everybody's a moron."
Part of the reason I love this book is because I have had the best conversations with taxi drivers, and not just in New York. The best by far was the New York cab driver who told me, in a way I can never fully do justice, how I could be just deceptive enough to get hired to a job I wasn't fully qualified to do. And how I could continue that deception long enough into the job for me to gain the experience that would make me qualified, thereby, creating a no-harm no-foul result. I was 21, just graduating from college, and utterly fascinated. I wish I had written down some of the exact words and phrases he used, but I'll happily take Taxi Driver Wisdom as a surrogate.

1 comment:

Curtis said...

I feel like I should be able to contribute something here, as my dad owned and operated a fleet of taxis out of Flatbush (I'll never forget the alliterative address--2222 Tilden Avenue), but he seldom brought work home with him. And although I lived in NYC for a very long time, I was more a subway and bus type of person.