Monday, December 29, 2008

Little Hip

Her name is Lisa. She was called Little Hip, because she lived with Hippy. Last I heard, Little Hip was teaching Math at NW Louisiana. When she got her PhD, it was time to leave town and pursue a real career. Being a cab drivers squeeze wasn't her vision of the future. She was only referred to as Little Hip by other cab drivers, and only out of her earshot, in person she was Lisa. She was a pretty nice person, in spite of her questionable taste in boyfriends. Hippy has always described her as a typical native of up north, a hard drinking blond with a Norwegian heritage.

When I met her I was a student, and life was good, too good in fact. It would be a number of years before I would discover that anyone who lives from paycheck to paycheck can't afford that life style, I certainly paid dearly for learning that lesson. She was a math grad student. It would be a few years before she'd get her PhD. It would be a couple of years before I would graduate and a couple more years after that before I'd become a cab driver.

I was having a few drinks in one of the Shenk's Corner's bars, I don't recall which one, probably Mel & Tony's. She was about my age, and I probably bought her a drink. How had I spent my day? Wading in Black Earth Creek, catching brown trout. She wanted to hear all about trout fishing. She said she and her boyfriend were out drinking after playing volleyball. Boyfriend? I didn't see any boyfriend.

Trout fishing? Pick up a girl in a bar talking about trout fishing? Since when were women interested in going fishing? That just doesn't happen, right?

I offered to take her fishing if she'd like to go. She really wanted to go. Ok, I suppose. I thought about it for a minute, and described a couple of places I could take her. When I take someone fishing, there is always the guarantee of catching fish. I suggested a beautiful spot north of Richland Center, and a not so beautiful spot north of Black Earth. About this time a pompous little man with shoulder length hair sat down and announced, "I'm Hip."

She introduced this character as Gary, and said that they'd been playing volleyball together. It turns out that Gary, AKA Hippie, was a ball player, and she'd been playing volleyball with a bunch of cab drivers. This was before I'd had any contact with the world of cab driving, so I just shrugged and said I liked to play volleyball too. For the record, I was never accepted as a ball player, and never invited to play on any of the their teams. This guy Gary said he was a night dispatcher at Badger Cab, like that was really important. Well, that's nice Gary, I don't think it'll ever matter to me. He told me that he was a big cheese, and I should care about him being a big cheese.

When I took her trout fishing, I chose a little trout stream that runs north and south, north of Black Earth. There are a few patches of DNR land, and we fished one of them, a really small one. It wasn't elegant fishing. I put a night crawler on a size 10 hook, and lobbed it in front of a tangle of brush, right where the current would sweep it into the hole under the tangle. I then handed her the rod and told her to carefully watch the line, it will move smoothly. If it twitches suddenly, or does anything else that indicates it has stopped being carried by the current, that probably means a fish has picked it up. When that happens, pick up the slack in the line, and give a slight little jerk when you've taken up all the slack. If you have a fish on, you'll know it right away. Her brown trout was about 12" long, she was ecstatic!! Could she keep it? Of course, it's yours, you did buy a license, didn't you?

I woke up on the floor of Lisa and Hippy's apartment with a roaring hang over. When we got there after fishing, I dressed her trout out, and we had a couple of beers. A couple? It was just fishing, I'm certainly not the first fisherman who woke up on the floor of the other fisherman's place.

I never dreamed that about 3 years later, I'd find out about driving a cab. Of course, Hippy never forgot. So, one of my first exposures to a dispatcher was this little jerk with the shoulder length hair, who'd told me how important he was. What a way to kick off what would become my most stable line of work, in working career that has so far spanned 44 years of paying social security, and over 20 years of driving a cab.

Hippy no longer drives or dispatches. He's in the US these days, he has a nice wife he met in the Congo, last time he was in Africa. She's very attractive, speaks good English, French of course, and they have a nice little boy who's around 3. Now the light black kid with the blond curly hair is Little Hip. But I kind of doubt he'll ever be called Little Hip around his dad.

1 comment:

King of New York Hacks said...

Cool story RCD, funny how life always plays tricks on us .