Only In York, Kids, Only In York

This story seeped into my subconscious as I was alternately napping and listening to the Rachel Maddow Show and it stuck with me. To celebrate the centennial of W.H. Auden the city of York, birthplace of the poet, has been training cab drivers to memorize and recite portions of his work for passengers. Said one cabbie:

“As taxi drivers, we are often the first port of call for visitors to York so it’s good that we can give them a taste of what cultural York can offer – and I’m looking forward to putting my new performance skills into practice.”

Ye gods. I shudder to think if that were happening here in New York. I have a hard enough time decoding the cryptic utterings of cab drivers, and don’t really appreciate unsolicited advice or conversation from my cabbie. I just want to stare out the window and savor the fact that I’m not walking or taking the subway, not be subjected to randomly selected snippets of poesy, hastily committed to memory by Abdul or Akbar or Fred while he’s sipping his twelfth cup of coffee. I’ve already had my fair share of talkative hacks, all too eager to debate politics, offer their best beef stew recipe, or confess their homosexual experimentation with a cousin back in India.

I’m content with letting our cab drivers natter away on their cell phones. Skip the poetry and just drop me off at the corner, ‘kay?

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One Response to Only In York, Kids, Only In York

  1. Susan says:

    True Story:
    In Cornwall, we were tooled down to Tintagel castle by this elderly white cabbie. He was a friendly sort and it’s a LONG drive, zipping thru rabbit-warren-like roads at the speed of light, so to distract ourselves from our imminent doom, we struck up a conversation. When we asked him who his most interesting fare was, hoping for an outrageous, maybe sexy story, he said (in a Cornwall accent), “Well once I had to pick up this colored fellow.”
    PAUSE (as we digest the inherent racism in this statement)
    Julie: “So did he like trash your cab or something?”
    Apparently not. He was the most interesting far simply because he was “colored.”
    Nice.

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