The McBournie Minute: My war with cab drivers

It seems like a cliché by now, but I can’t stand cab drivers. I don’t care where they are from, their race, gender, or preferred language, and I don’t lump huge groups of people together, but really, cab drivers suck.

Sure, they get us home safely after a night out at the bars, or more importantly, get our drunk-ass friends off our hands so we can go back inside and continue drinking, but they can often be horrible drivers, we’re just too drunk to tell. When I talk about cab drivers, I mean those in the U.S., almost exclusively in urban areas, and certainly not the kind you rent for an evening. I’m talking about the guys honk to get your attention as you walk down the street–just in case you want a ride somewhere.

I haven’t been a fan of them in a long time, but recently one of them hit my parked car and drove off.

Recently, I went to grab something out of my car, and was shocked when I couldn’t open the driver’s-side door. I pulled harder, and with a loud bang, it relented. It was then that I took a cursory glace at the door itself and saw that the front edge of it was now rubbing against the panel in front of it. The parts of the door and the car frame that swing closer as it opens were now rubbing together, making it really tough to open the door, and causing damage every time. I know it was a cab driver, because there were bright yellow paint streaks on the door, one as high as the mirror. It had to be a van or SUV cabby, no one else drives a car that size that color, not even hippies.

I should clarify that my car is a 2000 Oldsmobile Alero. It’s basically the frame of the Pontiac Grand Ams of the day, only less cool, because it’s an Oldsmobile. The paint, depending on how the sunlight hits it, ranges from brown to maroon, but some of my friends like to tell me it’s purple, but that’s because they’re supportive like that. I’ve had the car for nine years. In that time, it’s been with me through college, three jobs and four moves. It’s driven up and down the East Coast numerous times, it’s gotten me home in blizzards that sent lesser front-wheel drive vehicles into the ditch, it’s sat in Beltway traffic and it’s raced to fires and accidents when I was a newspaper reporter. This thing has seen a lot, and it was a salvage before it even met me.

It has seen better days, but unless you count the air conditioner no longer functioning, this is the first major problem I’ve ever had with it. And now a cabby has screwed it up.

My disdain for cabbies began the summer after college. Coming home from a bar with some of my friends one night, I was riding shotgun and it was my turn to pay the fare. I thought I had put my wallet back in my back pocket, but when I got out I realized I had instead missed and left it on the seat. I watched from no more than 10 feet away as the cab driver picked up my wallet, opened it up and drove off with it.

It’s a basic rule of thumb that cab drivers are some of the worst on the road. With their random breaking and even more random lane changes, they’ve come close to hitting me or causing me to hit them, on many, many occasions here in lovely Washington, D.C. But this time, a stationary object proved too challenging for one cab driver.

Thank you, cabbies everywhere, but I think I’ll stick to public transportation when I can’t drive.