The Many Lives and Times of Sam Saturday: Taxi Driver

April 21, 2007

Sam isn’t one of those jovial and talkative cab drivers you often find in Philly. Nah, he’s Philly born-and-bred, but he’s not really a fan of people. All he cares about is where he has to take them and how much he gets paid for the ride.

Ironically, his dour demeanor doesn’t put people off the way one would expect. A passenger will get in and make some comment. He’ll respond with a half-hearted grunt.

…every time, every time, they’ll think they said something to offend him. They’ll apologize, make small talk, do anything to make up for their imagined lapse – and all he’ll respond with will be more grunts. Sharp, harsh, barking sounds that shake them to their very core. It’s an unusual thing, as cut-throat lawyers to cold-blooded criminals all hop in his cab and instantly fill a sense of shame for their words, a desire not to offend the man controlling their destination.

It isn’t that Sam is a physically imposing fellow. He’s a small guy, with a face like flowing wax – big jowls and a heavy, sloping nose. A pair of oversized glasses are perched atop that nose, and the eye behind it are grey and altogether ordinary.

But inside his cab, he occupies more than his physical space. He seems somehow far more momentous, far more substantial, and each and every customer treads carefully, blaming themselves for his grim frown. They’ll tell their friends about him, though they won’t know what made him seem so worthy of note.

And he’ll get more customers, which remains a mixed bag for Sam – more customers means more money, but it also means putting up with more people, and he hates that.

But a job’s a job, and Sam had to kill a guy to get the cab, so he wasn’t going to give up on the job over a little irritation, now was he?

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