CONVERSATION FROM A CAB RIDE I TOOK YESTERDAY
A cab driver with a difficult-to-place accent
Keith: Hi. 70 E. Lake street, please.
Cab driver: H'okay. How are you today?
K: I'm pretty good. And you?
C: No good. No good. It is empty. It has been empty for months. December. January. February. Empty. All the rich people go away and poor people like us stay and work.
C: Rich motherfuckers.
K: . . . . .
C: Did you watch the Super Bowl?
K: Yeah. I thought it was pretty good.
C: No. It was shit. They played for shit. Football players today play for shit.
[non-descript small talk]
C: Are you from here?
K: No, I'm originally from Ohio. I moved here, oh, about five years ago. I like it here.
C: No. Chicago today is beautiful, loud, ugly. [? —ed.] I've been driving cab for thirty years. Thirty years ago... Hot Chicago nights! You could go in a restaurant and for two dollars you have the best meal you've ever had. A pack of cigarettes, 38 cents. Today it is too expensive.
K: Huh. Yeah.
Thing is, I'm not sure he's wrong. I always feel like I've just missed the cool stuff, like when you see old concert bills where it's every Motown act performing together and the admission is $1.50. Or, here in Chicago, where all the old movie houses (except, god bless it, the Music Box) have given way to sterile multiplexes. I would like to have seen one of those hot Chicago nights he was talking about. Maybe we could have had a delicious $2 meal together.