Numbers

1. The College Girls
Three college freshmen sat in the backseat late one weeknight discussing politics, world events, Plato and the way dads dress (that did not reflect well on yours truly). Do you have any idea how refreshing it was to hear that conversation from those women? 

Typically, the college crowd I pick up are already drunk or high before they head out to the bars, the men talking about women in demeaning terms, the stranger who let them lick cheap vodka off her breasts at the bar and the women talking about their last hookup and other women.

2. The Loyola Dude
The well-spoken young man who corrected me when I asked “So how is Towson treating you?” “Sir,” he said, “I go to Loyola,” as evidenced by the fact that I picked him up at the Loyola dorms. Sir… can you believe that? My kids won’t call me “Sir” (I stopped barking up that tree ten years ago). Refreshing.

3. The Business Man
Lovely conversation with a business man from Philly. As we fought our way from Harbor East to Penn Station we shared our work experiences. “You mentioned you were uneducated,” he said.

“Yes sir, just a high school education, a C student at that.”

“I never would have guessed that.” He continued, “You’re well-spoken, articulate, intelligent, knowledgeable of current events, obviously well read… I thought for sure you had a higher education.”

“No sir, just high school.”

“I never would have guessed that.”

4. The Attorney
“How was your day?” I asked at 9:34pm. She’d just finished her long days work, first at her place of employment then her (mandatory) pro bono work at the courthouse where she deals with bail bonds.

After a particularly harrowing story of a 19 year old charged with multiple felonies across state lines she’d said to him, “What the f*ck were you thinking? You’re looking at 30 years prison time!”

5. The Psychiatrist
“People are so f*cked up…”

I love my job. I think it’s because many of the people I drive are so real, so raw. My background in a super-conservative religious school was so abominably laced with anger, pretension and fakery that these real riders — good, bad and ugly — are like breathing the salty ocean air.

Perhaps that’s why the drunks are my favorite. We rarely get more real than when our inhibitions are at an all-time low.

Don’t get me wrong. “Real” can be overwhelming and discouraging at times, but real is real.