Saturday, October 13, 2007

Taxi Driver

He may not be Robert De Niro but like most taxi drivers in Buenos Aires, he's just as formidable. Anyone who's ridden in a taxi here knows what I'm talking about: The path from where you are to where you want to be is fraught with near collisions, split-second lane changes, and breakneck maneuvering—all helmed with more testosterone than you can shake a stick at.

I've so many notches on my taxi-riding belt that I've decided to compile the most common, though not discrete, psychological profiles of these guys:

(1) The Political Dilettante: These drivers have passionate world views, whether on Kirchner, that awful Cristina who’s being shoved down everyone's throat, or Bush. For those keeping count: Kirchner, 0; Cristina, 0; Bush, 0. The problem with this type is they just.can't.stop.talking, oftentimes swerving back to beseech agreement from their audience, creating what I call "the cell phone effect" or multitasking peril. (Or maybe the phenomenon should be dubbed, DWP, driving while politicking.)

(2) The Maverick: What is this “lanes” thing that you speak of? Also, red lights are for suckers, as is staying in one lane for longer than 4 seconds. If a cab ride with these guys doesn't put hair on your chest, nothing will. Sadly for my health and longevity (not to mention chest hair sitch), this is the most prevalent profile.

(3) The American Idolizer: Once I answer that I’m from California, the floodgate of questions...she openeth, often end-resulting in some CD being waved in my face. Te gusta The Ramones? si, Rod Stewart? no, The Cure, si? etc. etc. And Tom Cruise. Why is that turd so well loved? (My question, not theirs.)

(4) The Intellectual: Occasionally, you come across a guy so well versed in the nuances of Argentine society that you marvel at your luck in meeting this social scientist. I wonder how many taxi drivers actually fit this profile, since I can only sniff out the English-speaking ones due to my muy malo Castellano.

(5) The Ladies' Man: As the name implies, they try to charm their way into...well, whatever... by showering you with compliments. Don't worry, I'm immune. (I got the booster shot when I got the work visa.)


elizabeth said...

You are a very very funny girl.

My person favorite is the driver that despite only a periodic, si or ummm coming from my sector of cab, can rant(politics or futbol exclusively) from the mircocenter till Martinez never stopping except perhaps once or twice to scream at the person who calls him on the phone. Even then,the rant to scream to rant transition is seamless.

theshortestfuse said...

haha...and because you're not as lame as me, you can understand every word of it!!

btw, i'll have the mint, jr on tuesday...

Ken said...

I have ridden in a cab in Buenos Aires...or should I say I have survived riding in one. You have catalogued the types very well. My favorite was the man who insisted that jazz started not in America, but in France. The only point we could agree on was Frank Sinatra.