Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WTF is Going On?

Been listening to WBAI news radio while steaming dinner and washing dishes. All the dire issues I somehow fail to hear about anywhere else have got me in a tizzy. Why is something 35 miles away permanently leaking radiation, threatening my water, and sitting atop a geological fault? Why are ATF agents making monetary gains from arming Mexican paramilitary factions that broaden the bloodbath?

What are intellectual property rights [excuse to push for complete control of the last free range space (infobahn) left] if there really isn't even such a thing as invention, when one humbly acknowledges that parallel microcosmic replicas are all derived from the ultimate parent macrocosm? I mean who do you think you are? And all I hear on other stations is about there being 4 rats for every New Yorker and how most of them live in the subway thanks to commuter food donations.

Back from the trivial and still on the subject of egotistical audacity. How is it that Monsanto is destroying everything and everyone in its path unbridled? And to ensure their profitable path of total annihilation, they have the gall to turn around, accuse, and sue farmers for inadvertently (helplessly) acquiring (by way of wind) the "technology" of contamination that these farmers were in fact trying to offer consumers alternatives to. How do these people live with themselves? How do they sleep at night? How do judges find it fair to empower them? And not that I'm one to count on "the government" for anything, but how do you allow this?

I feel helpless as the world seems to creak into collapse. My tear ducts resemble a dam with a trembling crack in it. To add to my emotional state is the fact that in the last three days, after a clean year, I've been pulled over twice and given tickets for the most absurd reasons. The city has no problem unleashing its human kennels into the streets to intentionally jeopardize the livelihoods of honest, proficient, hardworking cabbies for the sake of, hell, I dunno, revenue? And when I bring the cab back to the garage 4 hours into the 12 hour shift and announce I'm quitting for good, I get a lecture from my Pakistani dispatcher on how bad he had it back when he drove and how much of a cry baby I'm being. Then a lecture from the Bangladeshi cashier on how no matter how difficult life is, I should always thank the maker.

On the way home I scheme out various options. Back to trucking for the moving company in New Jersey? Over to Philadelphia where my friend has his own little indie moving service? To the airport to apply at one of the airlines so I can work towards free flight points? I take a nap in my bed to awaken refreshed and reconciled. Ain't goin' to let a few bully cops and oblivious passengers keep me away from the freedom and independence of a job I love doing well, in the city I serve with pride. Not yet, anyway. Time is coming soon though.

In fact I'm such an upstanding sucker than when two Colombians (well-estabished Manhattanites) at Kennedy step into my cab, having just met each other on the return flight from their monthly sojourn to the homeland, and reveal two distinct destinations deep into the fare, I can't quite bring myself to turn off the meter upon arrival at the first stop (57th and Tenth), in order to collect my flat 45, and turn it on anew for trip #2 up the Henry Hudson Parkway to Washington Heights, all in baseless fear of being labeled a crooked cabbie. I'm entitled to two separate payments, but instead I just hope and pray that she'll take my leniency and the extra distance/time/gas into account. Especially after we establish, in the midst of a friendly en-route chat, that neither of us are entirely sure how the law explains it, but theoretically fare #2 would've been about $20. And besides, I'm a compatriot (born in Colombia). Unfortunately most countries are made of at least two countries. In this case, Colombia of the Haves and Locombia of the Nots.

Says she'll even things out on the credit card tip, by which she means 25% instead of the customary 20%. That makes $56.88, minus the ironical 5% taken out. In reality the whole journey was well worth around $78. By then it seems too late to voice any protest, since it's really my fault for being such a well-mannered, well-meaning sucker in the first place. Between the cops, passengers like this, the great rat race of New York, and the global absurdities i hear about on WBAI, my once entranced soul and spirit is rotting out from the inside. I'm increasingly jaded, angry, frequently prone to bawls, and all but hopeless about the fate of humanity. But the putrefaction will never touch my deepest core, which is made of endless inextinguishable light. I'm back to work tonight. Unshakably yellow, with dirty hands brown in solidarity with farming families still trying to preserve a millenia old tradition of saving unaltered seed, not poisoning their crops, and being gentle with their livestock. At one point in history, 60% of Americans were farmers. Today there are more people incarcerated here than there are farmers.


  1. Anonymous2/02/2012

    Oh Gil, you move me to tears..

  2. Oh Gil!! I remember at this time last year I had just started working @ your garage, and right into it I was hit with 3 tickets in the span of a month or so. I think January and February are a big ticket time for them. Take it easy until they cool off yeah? all the judges and cops and the owner says the same thing: be the captain of your own ship, they can't drive the car from the back seat.

    and WBAI, I used to listen to that station religiously right after 9/11- but it instills too much fear. I say any media source that raises more questions than it answers isn't healthy for my head, any station that encourages anger and hostility rather, that's no good. I choose to listen to blurbs from more mainstream media and get creative thinking of what the real news is behind their message, it's a lot more fun that way.

    the Monsanto thing though, yeah that's real, and that really sucks.

    Don't quit your job, you have an impeccable sense of direction, and still hold high ethical values bro. hang in there, what other job can you have where any given hour you can be a hero?

  3. "I'm increasingly jaded, angry, frequently prone to bawls, and all but hopeless about the fate of humanity" - my sentiments exactly; well said. I've been driving for almost three years now (and have been silently following your blog for that long), and I'm not sure how much longer I can go like this.
    It's tough out there man - hang in there.
    Every once in a while, when I'm thinking about making that "trip back to the garage 4 hours into the 12 hour shift and announce I'm quitting for good" I pull-over and look at the big picture of my life - how fortunate I am to be here, I think of my family (it helps that I can now store hundreds of pics on my phone and look at them) - it provides an anchor for me. But I'm also not sure the freedom, independence and all the little feel-good moments this job brings are worth this level of stress and aggravation.

    I hope you make a wise decision, whatever it may be!

    P.S. "I can't quite bring myself to turn off the meter upon arrival ... all in baseless fear of being labeled a crooked cabbie" - LOL, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who does that.

    1. Thanks for reading my blog all this time. I will hang in there and continue cab driving for now. Your remedy of stopping the cab and looking at the big life picture with appreciation is like a hitting a nail on the head with a good hammer. I am planning to make a collage of pictures of all my favorite people in this world so i can have it handy for the same purpose.

  4. gil i love you so much. thanks for this post, and for living from your heart.


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