Sunday, May 22, 2011

Aristotle taxi company

I have taken cabs all over the world, some of the drivers I was actually able to understand. Since I like talking and will to everybody I meet…cabbies are great. They all have an opinion, not necessarily connected to any actual knowledge they may or may not have.

They drive all day, usually in horrific traffic, and meet all kinds of people and have plenty of time to think and form their opinions, half-baked or not.

They are a source of information as well as observations. They are like a gallop poll; they have heard hundreds of opinions, and give a summary of them. I really enjoy taking cabs.

In NY the divider that used to be between the driver and the passenger has pretty much been taken down. When I used to fly into NY from Mexico, I would take a cab that was usually driven by a Greek or a Mexican. Both would make you feel you were in their home country. The language was totally a mix between NY and Greek or Mexican. Malaka bullshit and hijo de puta shithead. Since I speak both languages I would chat with them on the way in, usually the Greeks moaned about the Mexicans and vice versa. I never got any great wisdom from them, but lots of passion.

English cab drivers are amazing, they practice for two years, it is called, “the knowledge,” and they pride themselves on knowing every street in London, quite a feat. We lived in a small new street in Knightsbridge. I took a cab and surprisingly he did not know the street, when we got there after I directed him he confessed that it was one of the very few times he did not know a street. I said, “you learn something new every day.” He looked at me and in a cockney accent; he said “I didn’t learn anything new yesterday, gov.”

In Japan my taxi rides were pretty silent, other than the hisses and hiiii from the drivers periodically.

Greece has it’s share of surprising cabdrivers, other than the ones that refuse to take you, because they are not going anywhere near your destination. There are a lot that discuss politics and their cousins in America. The situation in Greece, as you know, is pretty terrible at the moment; most everyone blames the government, and the cabbies that I take unanimously agree.

The other day in a cab, driven by a very dignified driver, I was told the solution for Greece and it’s political problems. He said, “ the politicians are all useless and corrupt; they are all the same, two families with their cronies running everything.” There are no new guys on the horizon; they do not have an Obama. The driver said, “fire them and hire foreigners to run the country; treat Greece like a corporation and get professional managers to run the country, an Austrian for example as the prime minister, some guys from Switzerland for seats in the parliament as well as English, Germans and some Chinese ministers as well.”

All foreigners, not a drop of Greek blood in any of them. It seemed so natural and right; nationals should not handle politics. We have to get foreigners that are hired to do the job, if they screw up they are fired and we hire another pro to do it. Can’t fire an elected official.

This cab driver seemed to have given this quite a bit of thought, as wacky as it sounded, it made sense to me.

We can have courses in the best universities, prime minister 101, major in finance minister. I suspect there are some problems to this but I cannot seem to think of them right now. We seem to have tried everything else; maybe if we treat the country like a big international corporation, we can have some success.

The solutions of a lot of our problems are probably driving around in yellow cabs all over the world.
Philosophers all.

Let’s give it a shot, couldn’t be worse than what we have now.


  1. Greg, I love this article. It's one of your best. There is a lot of truth in what the Greek cab driver said, But of course it will never happen.It makes too much sense.

    When we were at the Athens Acropolis and Jeannine and I went to the Parthenon, you decided to stay and speak to the cabdriver. Now I know how you get all your ideas.

    Very funny and at the same time very perceptive.

    Good job. Keep blogging.

  2. I loved and benefitted from UK/US cab philosphers. Were you in the UK when running the country, UK plc, as a business was seriously proposed? The logo was an outline of the British Isles filled with the Union Jack. Doubt though, that they'd have accepted a lot of 'johnnie foreigners' running it! I love your blogs. x

  3. maybe more cabbies should run for government positions so they can fix all the problems!

  4. I thought it made very good sense!!