Avec wha?

I do not know French.  I barely know English, and get a drink or 3 in me… I mix up my vocabulary embarrassingly.  I asked the bartender last night for a q-tip but what I meant was toothpick (so I could get the cherry bits out of the bottom of my old fashioned).

Today I worked from 1pm-9pm, we call this a “drive-thru” shift.  It kinda blows because you get the joys of rush hour traffic and none of the joys of drunk tippers.

I had one remarkable ride today before I packed it in due to business being slow and the weather being hot.

I was dropping off a passenger at a grocery store when an old man on a bench half-waved at me.  I did not have a call on my computer waiting for me after the passenger I was letting out, so I was a little confused.  Once I was empty, the older man came over to my car, said something I didn’t understand, and started very slowly putting his two grocery bags in my car.

I tried to ask if he had called, I looked around me for another taxi (it’s very bad form to take a passenger if their ride is assigned to someone else, it leaves that driver in a lurch).  I ask the dispatcher about it, he fumbles through the computer looking for something and we figure out this guy hasn’t called us.  In the meantime I’m getting a couple dirty looks from people because I am not helping this guy into the car.  Some nice young man comes over and tries to help, but I tell him that I think maybe this guy called a different company.  We both try and fail to communicate with the old man, but he just mumbles in French and gets in without any permission.

I notice as he gets in that he smells kinda bad and his white slacks have some large yellow stains on the front.  He smells a little like piss.

He hands me a plastic credit card holder that has a return address sticker on it.  This is how I figure out where he wants to go, and it happens to be about 3 blocks away.  Alright, no big deal.

And it wasn’t really.  I take him home, he tells me directions in French really loud like I don’t know where he wants to go and am hard of hearing, and he gets out just as slowly as he got in.  The meter was at $4.70.  He’s facing into the backseat and he pulls out some folded money.  He throws a $1 bill onto the seat, pulls out a $5 bill, puts it back, puts everything except the $1 on the seat back into his pocket, remembers where he is and what he’s doing, takes out his money again and gives me $6.

This is when I realise there’s more to it than just a language barrier.  I get out of the car and want to help him with his grocery bags, but he will not let me.  He points to my left arm and says “good.”  He points to my right arm (actually poking me as he does this) that has some tattoos and says something angry in French.  He repeats this, so I smile and lift my capri pant leg up a bit to reveal a medium sized tattoo on my calf.  He says something even more angry in French and wanders up to his front steps with his cane and groceries (there was even a French Baguette in there!)

It was reassuring that his yard was manicured and looked well-tended, it makes me think someone is looking after him.

About yellowandblackmail

I pick people up and take them where they want to go.
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