Am I being bitchy, or is this legitimately awful?

I’ve been keeping a list of questions I get asked most frequently in my cab.  They’re mostly inappropriately personal questions disguised as small-talk, which makes them 100% unbearable.

The major thorn in my side at the moment is “Where do you live?”  Since when is it okay to ask a stranger where she lives?  If I’m driving in Madison, it’s assumed that I live in or near the city.  Any desire for something more specific is at best an attempt to judge my character by the neighborhood I live in and at worst a plot to rob my house by knowing when I’ll be working and away from it.  I always answer this question with, “I’m not going to tell you where I live.”  The bluntness of this phrasing shocks people into realizing it’s an inappropriate question.  If the person is drunk they start to get offended that I won’t tell them where I live, if the person is sober they get a little miffed, but I can rub the hurt out with some joke if I feel generous.  95% of the time this is a question men ask.  I don’t know if male drivers get this question with as great of frequency as I do.  IT PISSES ME OFF TO NO END.

I signed up for a gym membership yesterday.  I had a lady helping me out, but there was a male staff person in the office at the beginning of my walk-through.  He asked if I lived in the area, and I said yes.  He pushed and said, “Oh, where do you live?”  I gave him my same answer of, “I’m not going to tell you where I live.”  My neighborhood had a rash of crime at the beginning of the summer that held a theme of women runners and their vacant apartments.  I still don’t know if that guy or even the girl who sold me the gym membership are aware of the deep implications of asking a woman stranger where she lives.  So inappropriate.

Other questions include:

“Do you go to [or have you gone to] school here?”
While a load of our drivers are in school or have one or more college degrees, I do not.  I don’t find offense with this question, I just think it’s an old and tired question that I have no fun answer to.  It’s also a gateway question that if answered they start digging into stuff like, “Oh, what brings you to Madison, then?!”

“What brings you to Madison?!”
This question seems mundane but honestly its incredibly personal.  If I don’t know your name then why do I want to tell you my life story?  If I tell you I moved here for a boy then you judge me as a brainless girl who is a hopeless romantic.  If I say for work, then I’m judged as a failure because who moves to Madison to become a taxi driver?  If I say to get away from my past or I’m running from ghosts, then the conversation turns heavy and the ride is full of tension.  I try to deflect this question with why THEY are in town.  I usually do it gracelessly, though.

“Do you have a husband/boyfriend/kids?”
This one is blatantly an indirect way of figuring out if someone has an opening to start hitting on me.  Sometimes I call them out with, “are you trying to figure out if you can safely hit on me?”  Sometimes I say I have 4 boyfriends.  I found out, though, that if I tell them I have plenty of boyfriends they think I’m a slutty slut that should obviously sleep with them, too.  Backfired. (I want to add here that I don’t mind slutty sluts, but being a slutty slut doesn’t mean men should assume they get to cash in on it).

“What ELSE do you do, you know, for money?”
Isn’t this enough?  I help run a cooperative and love my job.  Don’t be such a judgey-judge and let me enjoy my career Mr. Drunkface.

“How old are you?”
Didn’t your mother ever tell you never to ask a lady this?!  If you don’t have a mother, didn’t sit-coms tell you never to ask a lady this?!

Now, some of you might be wondering, “If these questions are inappropriate, what the crap am I SUPPOSED to talk to my driver about?!”  This is a very good question!

If you’re a local, you could talk about local events like the Willy St Fair or shows happening at the local venues.  The weather is ALWAYS fun to talk about because it’s so freaking exciting!  If we’re talking about something impersonal like this, odds are I will start talking about myself (those answers to the above questions!) along the way with my own level of comfort.  If the subject is the weather, I’ll let you know I’m from California and we can discuss the difference between our two states with friendliness and commiseration!

If you’re in town visiting on business or something, you might ask me where some good places for fine dining are, or a bar I think you might enjoy.  I will let you know of events happening while you’re in town or give you secret tips on avoiding construction or noisy college kids.

If you have decided that you absolutely need to hit on me, wait until the end of the ride, give me a gentle compliment, and then give me your phone number.  Do not ask for mine.  Put that control in my court and be pleasant about it.

Also: Do not ask me where I live.  Ever.

About yellowandblackmail

I pick people up and take them where they want to go.
This entry was posted in Taxi Stories. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s