Blogger of the Month: D.C.'s Mad Cabbie
He is profane, angry and a man of the streets, a poet and a provocateur. In his Diary of a Mad D.C. Cabbie, February's blogger of the month rails against the drunks who demand that he get them home even when they're too looped to know where they live. But he's also the guy who signs every post on his blog with a reminder that we "please don't forget the homeless."
Mad Cabbie can be tough, as when he squeezed $300 out of a passenger who tossed her cookies all over his backseat. He had to show up at the woman's place of employment and escort her to an ATM to get the money he needed to have his cab cleaned.
But Mad is also, and he'll probably hate me saying it this way, a bit of a softie. His blog is littered with posts in which he recognizes and even celebrates people whom most of us simply ignore. He's a caring and thoughtful guy, the sort of blogger who cries out in agony over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, gets a little thrill from D.C.-only celebrity sightings--Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama used to be a regular in his cab--and even has a formula of his own for determining when the economy is going south (it has to do with the frequency with which hookers and their johns get into his taxi.) (Mad says he's a former mathematician, by the way.)
Mad is a charter member of a small but important fraternity of hack bloggers, and he's got a good blogroll that will lead you into that little but fascinating world. Cabbies who blog sometimes fixate on matters of fare systems (Mad Cabbie is a meter man, to my surprise), medallion values and the loons and lugnuts who end up in their backseats. Some cabbie bloggers are just trying to attract the attention of the producers at HBO's Taxi Cab Confessions. But Mad is a man of the world, commenting on everything from politics to sex to the mysteries of the night. (I'm not aware of other D.C. cabbies with blogs, but here's one from a regular passenger.)
You may have surmised by this point that I do not know the Mad Cabbie's name. You would be right. He is happy--thrilled, even--to be recognized by the big fat Washington Post, and in our emails, he's come forth with a lot of detail about himself. But he cherishes the anonymity that's protected him over 16 years on the streets of Washington and more than two years on the big ol' web.
What I do know is that he's--well, let him tell it:
...a native Washingtonian born to an African-American army Sergeant and a German music teacher, grew up in Brightwood and Bethesda and graduated from B-CC high school and went on to University of Maryland and graduated with Mathematics and Physics degrees, worked for NOAA for a couple of years and walked away from the job and started driving a cab. It started out as "I need a job that can give me the freedom to think for a while " and it turned out to be a career which I will never regret because I have a happy, simple life and a great group of friends.
Mad Cabbie drives the night shift, is active in several groups that aid the homeless, and considers himself a sub-par writer (he is, rather, "a science junkie," he says.) The Diary grew out of his first attempt at a blog, which was devoted largely to matters of mathematics. This one is more fun.
I'd like to meet Mad someday. I like to think that I've been in his cab and never knew it. For now, however, all I can do is make him Blogger of the Month and let you in on a conversation that's far richer than what's on HBO.
By Marc Fisher |
February 22, 2008; 7:51 AM ET
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