Photo Credit: satanslaundromat.com
In case you didn't know, the L Mag (stands for Local) is a free bi-weekly pocket-size publication you can pick up at most any sidewalk newsstand or store entrance in NYC. It's not something that I necessarily crave in my reading routines, but it's not a bad last-minute overview of the city's culture and happenings.
The thing I always look forward to is a single page somewhere in the middle of the magazine that is dedicated to interviewing random cabdrivers on their opinions concerning current events, but more often just random lighthearted questions like 'your favorite color.' They tell you where the hack is from, what their previous profession was, and how many yellow years they've served.
There is another section in the magazine that is almost identical, but geared toward bartenders, which confirms my long-standing theory that all employees of bars and cabs alike are kinfolk. We're a big family that deals with the same nuisances at work: the worst (and at times best) of human behavior. I always tell my bar-tending passengers this and they agree wholeheartedly.
Once a bartender said, "I started out babysitting. Then I worked with animals. Now I do this. A natural progression. It takes a special kind of person to do our kind of work." I jubilantly responded that I too had had a steady domino effect of string theoretical employment. I was a bike messenger, then a moving truck driver. And now this.
No doubt it shows in the tips. It's the same reason I see a look of astonishment on my girlfriend's face when we leave a restaurant. Few people can truly understand what would possess me to drop a 25% tip on nearly every check, every time I go out for dinner. It's called genuine, first-hand empathy. Empathy: my favorite word in the dictionary.
Let's not go off on too long of a tangent. If you'd like to scroll through some of the questions and answers in that ask-the-taxi-driver section of every L Magazine, you can find the archives neatly arranged on their website. Many of them are downright dull, but there are a few magical winners. Have at it.