Monday, June 04, 2007

Thanks Oprah

When I got to the garage last Thursday afternoon, my old friend Gary (seen above in deep concentration) was back from Vietnam, where he's been living and teaching English for the past five months. We caught up for a bit and then he went into the waiting room to play a game of chess.

I got out after an hour and a half of waiting, but spent another half an hour sitting in traffic on the 59th Street Bridge. I tried to think of Gary and his new Zen approach to driving and traffic. It actually helped a little.

Business was pretty steady all night, but I had a long lull when I made a few back-to-back trips to Brooklyn. The first was to Midwood, a suburban-ish neighborhood largely occupied by Orthodox Jews. It was a decent job but it took forever to get there for some reason, so I hustled back to Manhattan as fast as I could. When I finally got over the Brooklyn Bridge, I turned south down Broadway and was immediately hailed by a Hasidic man.

When he got in, he said, "I'm going to Brooklyn, take the tunnel." He was, of course, going to Borough Park, just a few neighborhoods west of Midwood.

Later on, when I talked to my fellow cabbie Allen about this turn of events, he said, "What? You picked up a Hasid?" Allen himself is an Orthodox Jew. "And he went to Borough Park?" When I said yes, he laughed and said, "Well, what did you expect?!"

Again, it took me forever to get back. The BQE was backed up so I decided to take the surface streets instead. Nearly 60 blocks later, in Park Slope, I picked up a passenger. I felt lucky for a second, thinking he was going to the city, but as it turned out, he was only going a short distance, out toward the Brooklyn Museum, a six dollar ride.

He was a young guy, good looking and a little drunk. When I asked what he'd been up to that night, he said, "Oh there's a group of us that started a gay volleyball league. We had a game and then went to the bar."

Then he launched into the very astute observation that I am a female cab driver, and asked if it was harder for me in terms of having to pee. I said, "It's not the easiest thing in the world, mainly because it's hard to park."

He said, "You know it's funny, because I was just now talking about this with my friend and it was the last conversation I had before I left." He gave me some backstory. "Okay, so apparently Oprah has this word for her crotch -- she calls it her vajayjay. Have you heard that?"

I said no, and he went on, "Well my friend made up a parallel term for guys and so before I was leaving tonight, he was telling me about his majeejee."

O-kayyy. I figured he was talking about the penis, and having not much to say on the matter at the moment, I just nodded and watched the street.

He continued, "Yeah, because he was about to go on a date with some guy he'd never hung out with before and the conversation centered around whether or not he should clean out his majeejee."

It took a second to sink in, and I said, "Oh! Wait-- You mean?-- Ohhh...I thought you meant like the front. But I guess you're talking about the back. Huh. Okay." I wasn't quite sure what to say from there, but he was eager, seemingly happy to be communicating, and continued, "Yes! It's our 'mangina.' Hence, majeejee."

Then he stopped for a second, looked around the cab, and said, "Wait, I'm not on 'Taxicab Confessions' right now or anything, am I?"

I said, "No. But you should be."

I dropped him off, raced back to the city, and didn't have a ride back to Brooklyn for the rest of the shift.

Thanks Oprah.