12.27.2006

Feedback

I've had cabs all over my mind this evening. I took one home from the airport, and felt myself both exhilarated and disgusted by the thought of going back to work in a couple of days. I'm convinced very firmly of two things at this point: that I need to buy a cab, and that I should be in another city pursuing an ambition a couple of years from now (these two impulses are not as irreconcilable or contradictory as they may seem).

When I got home, there was a delightful holiday present waiting for me from some friends, with the request that I "get back to writing [my] blog." Then I finally got around to checking my email, and received these comments, which initially made me angry until I realized how patently absurd they were. The blog has offered compelling visual evidence that I'm a white guy, and I'd offer the very fact that several people seem to have assumed I was black (and numerous pieces of indirect evidence contained in posts) as a relatively good basis for assuming that I have no deep-seated race hates for members of any particular ethnic group. There's also good evidence that I'm even chill with the handicapped and people who aren't heterosexual, I don't think I've ever discussed religion here.

Young? Guilty. Obsessed with my crotch? Equally guilty (who isn't?). The discussions of violence against women, not hitting on customers, and lack of a steady relationship would seem to suggest a general lack of sexism, oppressive machismo, or sexual objectification.

I'm not taking the time to defend myself from someone who serves largely to confirm another running theme (that while some of my co-workers are awesome, some others are absolute morons) because I think they merit rebuttal - they obviously don't. What's interesting to me is that my first reaction was "that's it, I'm not allowing any more anonymous comments."

Which is silly, of course, as I've intentionally kept myself anonymous to everyone save my friends and family (though if this woman refers my superintendents here with a complaint about the racist young nigger who listens to the hippity-hop in his cab, they'd probably be able to deduce who I was in about five minutes, provided they didn't also think I was black). I started this blog as a means of venting/exulting/meditating about my job in a way that people can access if they want to, and thus save my loved ones from having to hear me do these things too much in our face-to-face interactions.

What makes this space interesting to me now, though, is that people who have no idea who I am will occasionally stumble upon it, and build in their heads this character of a young cab-driver in Portland who may or may not be black, kind, generous, cruel, lazy, racist, lonely, uber-hip, funny, healthy, conceited, depressed, etc.

And I'd been thinking about how cool that was, and was going to check my email before I wrote an entry for R & M, and got more evidence of this phenomenon, and I thought it was very auspicious. So I'll probably be back to goofing around with this thing more often, but I'll warn you that this blog will likely be leaning more toward steam-of-conscious ramblings about work and the blog, and less toward recounting particular incidents that took place. It'll all be very meta-.

(That's fancy talk for "boring")

14 Comments:

Blogger Mad Cabbie said...

Don't worry about the comments, just do your thing bro...

Happy new year!

December 27, 2006 6:42 AM  
Blogger Cabbie X said...

We'll keep reading, whatever direction you wish to take it!

December 27, 2006 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

December 27, 2006 5:29 PM  
Blogger Crabbie said...

I apologize for such a lengthy comment, but I can't email anonymous and she hasn't bothered to email me.

You raised very good initial points, and if you look back, you'll notice that I addressed them. I do try to use discretion when I think it's necessary, as I think you'd have noticed if you hadn't been so quick to dismiss me as "a racist young black obsessed with [my] crotch" (a statement which in and of itself suggests a less than tolerant racial attitude in yourself). Yes, your comment (not about the customer, but about me) was so completely divorced from obvious facts as to be "patently absurd."

I think that if you actually read the blog, you would find that people who treat me with respect, and even many who don't, have been portrayed in a respectful and positive light. If you've driven a cab before, and are married to a cab driver, you'll also be aware that not all customers are pleasant people. I've been stiffed, insulted, and even assaulted at work, and the chances are that you have as well, or certainly know other drivers who have.

I put the company's name on here to provide it with a little bit of free advertising. I don't think that I've portrayed the company, or myself, in a negative light (which is not to say that I've always treated either positively). If I wanted to do so, I could talk about the some of the stories bigoted and unscrupulous drivers of the sort you seem to have been told me about their actions.

It should be clear that I have very little respect for you, as you showed up from nowhere and idiotically insulted me on completely false grounds stemming from your own ignorance.

To suggest that I don't respect the company or my customers, though, is silly. I've said nothing but positive things about the company (if not all of the people associated with it), from what I can tell it's the best damn cab company in the United States. And given the stories about me whisking battered women away from their crazy boyfriends, helping relapsed alcoholics, being patient with and reducing fares for the disabled and those in distress, etc., I think that it's equally foolish to accuse me of lacking respect for my customers.

What post was it that got you all worked up in the first place?

December 27, 2006 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

December 27, 2006 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Knowing you I wondered why anyone would consider you racist. Then I read the anonymous poster's latest comment and realized exactly why. They are one of those PC people who believe that the discussion or acknowledgement of race is racism. This particular brand of PC, while not as bad as racism, is very clearly working along with racism to set race relations back in this country be decades. Anyway, keep up the good work - cd.

December 27, 2006 7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not believe that the discussion of different races is racism, but to categorize people into groups and stereotyping them in the manner that I commented on was racism.

So "understand" what you think you will.

In this sort of environment is easy to to come to conclusions based on not enough info, right or wrong.

My comments were how I saw things from what I read.

I have weaknesses myself as far as racism goes, like for instance I hate the oversaturation we have had from Mexico, but I am NOT someone who has furthered racism and you can piss off for saying so.

December 27, 2006 7:47 PM  
Blogger The Acid Queen said...

Longtime reader, first time poster.

Crabbie, you go on posting about work and about your fares. "Anonymous Radio Driver" is probably just one of the incompetent nitwits that you threatened to post about, and is afraid that you'll wind up posting about his/her foolishness some night.

Love the blog--don't let some anonymous fuckhead discourage you.

December 27, 2006 11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah and acid queen is a fat pigwoman with no life.

December 28, 2006 12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow I didn't even mean to bait the anonymous person into revealing themselves as a hypocritical racist, but hey ..... -cd

December 28, 2006 5:11 AM  
Blogger Crabbie said...

To the cabbie's wife: okay, see I can understand and appreciate that a lot more than being called racist, ignorant, and self-obsessed. It's important to keep in mind that tone can be very hard to detect on the internet. Like many cabbies, half of everything I say is sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek, but that might not be readily apparent to someone who doesn't know me or hasn't read much of the website.

The article that upset you, for example, was more an expression of sexual frustration and impotence, and a regular reader would've understood it as such given a previous post wherein I explained why I never flirt with or have sex with customers. The reason? Respect for customers, myself, and the company.

I'm glad that you found the site and seem to have enjoyed some of it. I have absolutely no problem with well-intentioned criticism, especially when it's valid. I have very little experience working in bars, and none being a woman, so I'm glad you pointed that out to me. I try to keep my fares, friends, and co-workers as anonymous as possible when I represent them here, but I hope that you (and they) will understand if I occasionally slip-up when pounding out an unedited blog entry at the end of a 12-hour shift.

Finally, I'd note that while I've chosen to remain publicly anonymous for a variety of very good reasons, it's not because I'm ashamed of the site or scared or wanting to seem mysterious or anything like that. My profile contains an email address, and if you have any more questions/concerns/etc. you'll likely find me to be surprisingly reasonable.

In fact, this conversation is one that I'd really much rather have via email than in this forum. It leads to long, boring passages of us explaining what seems to have been a simple misunderstanding, which leads other people to jump in and comment. And given what the site is, those people are almost certainly going to both take my side and not feel the same impetus to try and be hospitable that I do. So you'll just get further antagonized, etc.

I'm completely chill with you being anonymous. My only request would be that you sign with initials or a nickname or something like that, as it can be difficult to distinguish one "anonymous" from another. If you need help getting an anonymous email address, they're incredibly easy to set up via yahoo, gmail, hotmail, or thousands of other places.

December 28, 2006 5:19 AM  
Blogger Crabbie said...

To everyone else: Thank you for the encouragement. I'd appreciate it if you didn't antagonize my co-worker's wife (or any other commentators, for that matter), though. Her basic concern for the public image of Radio Cab is completely justified, and it's one that I share completely. RCC is what puts food on my table as well.

I'd also like to point out that it's really cool that the site's first "troll" ended up being reasonable and willing to both listen to me and explain herself. I'd be really happy for her to stick around.

If you guys want to have an argument about race in America, that's fine. I'm not going to participate, but I will say that I'm a big fan of people from just about every part of the world. But my recent trip to Texas (and driving a cab, for that matter!) has made it clear to me that I have plenty of other biases, so I'm not going to start throwing stones.

Recently all the sentences I write are too long.

December 28, 2006 5:38 AM  
Blogger Crabbie said...

To address a concern of hers that's actually valid, I've erased anonymous's posts as I (rightly) can't edit them. I'll thus repost what she said, with the appropriate edits:

First deleted post:

""Patently absurd"? LOL! Coming from a guy is is afraid to post his own name on his own blog, yet post his company's name and the address and identity of one of that company's customers, seems patently moronic to me.

When you name [the cab company] and start talking specifics about their customers you have entered an area that demands a little discretion, a little respect,a little couth which you are obviously shy of."

January 02, 2007 5:34 AM  
Blogger Crabbie said...

Her second delted post, with edits:

" Okay, I will address your comment.

First off, I would like to say that I am pleased to hear that you did not dismiss my comments about the customers as "patently upsurd": as they were intended to be constructive criticism and are a valid issue here.

Addressing that subject was the main intention of my post, having worked in taverns and experiencing having to exit the closed bar and feeling that anxiety that comes with that. There is always a few customers who become a little obsessed with their bartender and cold be potentially dangerous if they were drunk enough and/or presented with the opportunity of acting on their obsession. I have closed up many times after a "scary" customer hung around till closing and worried they may be outside the door when I left after closing in the wee hours with nobody else about...

The other comment about "you" came after I read your entry in which you divided up people's opinions of you into categories such as asians, white women, gays, older white women etc...and threw in a l dick size commentary.

This is your blog and if you need to be vulgar to express yourself that is totally your prerogative, and maybe my statement was "out there" a bit, but that was how I read you and not unlike yourself, I do not mince words much.

I originally,as I stated was happy to come across a cab drving blog as I have always thought a cab drivers day to day experiences in a cab make for a good story, but you lost me with the dick thing and the clearly defined categories of people as you see them.

Some of the other stuff I read was a fun read and on target as far as what a cabbie encounters, but I quit reading after that.

I came across this blog after typing in [the cab company's name] and there inlies the responsiblilty on your part to use a little dicretion and I am not referring to the things I comment about you personally, but to your responsibility to not pinpoint identites of your story subjects.

The things I said about you personally were simply my opinion of how you came across and if you are running a blog and not wanting any comments that do not just pat you on the back then maybe you [i]should[/i] discontinue anonymous posting. However since you, yourself post anonymously, that would be a little "silly".

Carry on. Use a little discretion. I have no fight with you other than [the cab company] has been putting food on my table and paying my bills for quite some time and felt something should be said here, so I said it."

January 02, 2007 5:37 AM  

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