Behind The Wheel: From Uber/lyft to Taxi

Broken Pencil - - Zine Reviews -

Perzine, Kelly Des­saint, vol­ume 3, 4730–A Shat­tuck Ave. Oak­land, CA 94609, $5

I’ve never been a cab­bie. But I spent the af­ter­noon read­ing and re-read­ing about Des­saint’s life as a taxi driver, and be­cause of this I feel I’ve driven a mile in my brother’s Fu­sion. Des­saint be­gan as an Uber/lyft driver and even­tu­ally got his cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as a San Fran­cisco taxi driver. He has writ­ten two zines pre­vi­ously about his Uber days. This zine is all taxi sto­ries.

If Des­saint had a mission state­ment I think it would read:

“Get the cus­tomer from point A to point B as quickly and cheaply as pos­si­ble. En­sure the customers safety and if need be, be their am­bas­sador to the city. Never judge and keep your cool as much as you can. Also, fuck Uber.”

Des­saint loves his city of San Fran but he’s seen it with its makeup off. He’s lost count how many times a young girl has got­ten into his cab and passed out be­cause she’d been roofied. Part of his vo­ca­tion is keep­ing those young women safe. The taxi in­dus­try of­ten runs hand in hand with pas­sen­gers who use in­tox­i­cants, sex work­ers, and peo­ple com­ing back from good (and bad) dates. Watch­ing Des­saint nav­i­gate these worlds while keep­ing his per­sonal code makes for very en­ter­tain­ing read­ing.

As with any vo­ca­tion, Des­saint rec­og­nizes that his ca­reer does not ex­ist in a vac­uum. He comes from a long line of cab­bies whom he re­spects and ad­mires. Ev­ery Sun­day he goes to the cab­bie BBQ in the junk­yard by the cab sta­tion. He hears and tells sto­ries, gath­ers ad­vice and

shoots the shit. Through­out the zine he splices in sto­ries told by a vet­eran cab­bie, Late Night Larry. They are some of the fun­ni­est tales in the zine.

Des­saint writes strong nar­ra­tives and con­vinc­ing ar­gu­ments against Uber/lyft. As a re­sult, I’m now done with Uber and I hope to be lucky enough to ride in Des­saint’s cab one day. (dus­tan j. hlady)

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