Taxi Driver

This time, a Moroccan taxi driver picked me up at the airport. He was having strange conversations on the phone mixing English, Arabic peppered with some colourful French words. He specifically fancied "deguelasse" to qualify all things related to American politics and the price of housing in San Francisco. 

He was an aggressive driver but he seemed to relax/ mellow when he discovered I was French and knew Morocco and then he talked and talked and he stopped taking loud phone calls holding his wheel with one hand. 

-"I have a French client" he would tell his callers. "I'll call you later"

He used to be an engineer at United Airlines. An expert in black boxes. After 9/11 United tried to convince him to relocate to Arizona. He chose the pink slip. No way he would convince his wife and 2 daughters to move to Arizona. Since then had been driving a cab. He hated traffic, bad drivers, and Uber but he loved being close to airports. He worked long hours 6 days  a week to make ends meet. But he managed to send both his girls to college and that was all that mattered. 

He was thoughtful and had developed theories of his own about nearly everything. He had his own ranking of countries who were good at integrating Muslim, countries with values and countries without, cities which were too small and falling apart (like San Francisco), countries where women were paid less than men, countries where men where unfair to women, countries were he could live and countries were he could not. 

He dropped me approvingly in the Japanese quarters of San Francisco. "One one the best part of the city, he told me. I paid and got out of my the car. Through the window he greeted me and told me:

-"Did you know that nearly all black box engineers are Japanese?"

I smiled. No, I did not know. 

Brigitte Bellan