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This is not a bizarre claim out of nowhere.

I had a great cab ride last night. It's a bit of a coincidence that…

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I had a great cab ride last night. It's a bit of a coincidence that I haven't been updating that frequently, and in a relatively recent post I was talking about how I make a real effort never to take cabs/car service due. But this would be one of the few times I felt I needed to take a cab because of time constraints.

I was getting out of work late, and usually, that is a time when I would like a car ride IN SILENCE. I can be chatty enough with a driver, especially if I am on vacation or having fun, although it's sometimes touch and go because no matter how relaxed I am, I don't want to have a conversation with The Coming Race War Cab Driver or Let Me Tell You How Women Should Focus on Having Babies Cab Driver. And last night I was tired and somewhat cranky from having a work project come up with some unexpected issues and I was looking forward to sitting there and having my brain cells gel back together.

But when I gave the guy my address, he said "Pelham Bay? What are rent prices at about now? What about condos?" And asking New Yorkers about rent and property values is like throwing raw meat at a pack of wild dogs, I was instantly ON IT. He and his family live in Bay Ridge, so we talked about those prices, and then he reported back what other cab customers have told him about real estate in their neighborhoods, so we had the customary exchanges like "I cannot believe anyone would pay that!" and "OMG, that is so cheap!" and "Bed-Sty is INSANE, that is literally insane!"

And then we got off the pricing and started talking schools, that was animated as well. His son is 12, and does very well in math and science but is a reluctant reader. I suggested he try his kid with The Martian.

He mentioned something about how things where different from the days when he was in school (he seemed about my age), and so I asked him where he went to school, because he spoke with a slight Chinese accent and I was wondering what part of China he was from, and he said .... Chinatown! In the 1970s! And I guess it was a reminder of how life has changed, because yes, a kid growing up in New York City's Chinatown could absolutely speak Chinese 90% of the time and come out of it with a Chinese accent. It was that isolated, that recently. Now I just don't think it's possible, even for a kid whose parents speak Chinese at home exclusively. So we talked about that for a while.

And -- more things I didn't know -- we were still talking about schools and he showed me a video of his son's science fair project, and when he was looking for it on his phone (we were sitting in traffic so this wasn't dangerous) he said something like "I'm not sure where the file is ... oh, but I posted it on Weibo, I'll show you the video there" and I had thought you had to be a Chinese national to have a Weibo account, and he was kind of dismissive (not of me, of China as a concept I guess) and hand-waved that off, like "well ... you know how it is ... " No really I don't have any idea how you are spoofing a Chinese national's internet credentials, but okay sure.

He was definitely the most interesting person I've talked to this month, hands down.
  • (no subject) -
    • It's about half an hour from my office to home. I swear we could have kept the conversation going for a while more, though. Maybe I should have asked him to hook me up with an illicit Weibo account so he could friend me!
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