What is money worth...

What is money worth...

A Story by A Social Corpse

“A lot of people just need to be reminded about what is important.”

I have been living in this city for 32 years now. I was a hardware engineer for a while, but after the company I worked for went under I was let go. So, a friend of mine got me a job with a taxi company and I have been working for them for about 14 years. It may not be as glamorous as being an engineer, but it does pay the bills. I love this city, the lights, the skyline, and the sounds. The people however are something that I do not care for, most are rude or arrogant and unable to relate to their fellow man. It shows when they enter this car and yell their destination at me like I am deaf; I never understood why people need to yell when they are in a hurry. It doesn’t help them get anywhere any faster; all it does is annoy others.

A lot of nights however, are spent driving around aimlessly waiting for a call for someone needing to be picked up. I spend hours in this mobile prison cell, becoming a victim to my own thoughts. I liked it at first, it was time for me, you know? A time when I could collect my thoughts and think about my future and what it might have in store for me, but now it is a way for me to sink deeper into myself. It amazes me that I am surrounded by millions of people and yet, I feel so utterly alone. Like a boat lost at sea with no way of seeing the coast. Which way do I turn, captain? Which way will bring us to companionship and serenity? It seems that these questions will never be answered and all I can do is hope that one day I will find them. I love driving through these streets at night, seeing the streetlights dance on the hood and giving a glimpse of light into the darkness of the cab.

All of this will become invisible to me once I get a passenger though, my mind will not let me enjoy the lights or my thoughts when it knows I should be conversing. Talking to some of these people would more than likely be the biggest mistake of my life, as most of these people can’t carry a conversation past, “I need to go here.” No, the people who get in the cab this late are usually too drunk or too high to even properly communicate a correct address. They ramble some sounds out and look at you for confirmation of what they said; I just shake my head and take them to the nearest hotel. I thought about dropping them off in front of a police station before, but I thought it would be rude since they are trying to do the right thing by taking a cab. Still though, the worst sound you can hear is the gags and heaving of a person about to throw up his drinks from the night into the backseat of your car.

I wish I could get a couple of people in here that would like to talk, to have some friendly conversation with a stranger. What happened to people’s curiosity? There was a time when meeting new people and learning about them was great. I guess now people are too afraid of whatever motives you may be hiding from them, people are so afraid that kindness has gone away only to be replaced by crudeness and an ability to push people away with just your look. People think being a cab driver is lot like being a priest or something. That people get in here and spill their hearts out to me and I am their savior able and willing to give them all the advice I can. As much as I wish it was like that to a certain degree, I know it will never be that. So, I sit in this cab and drive around and around and around.

“Car twelve, someone on 12th needs a ride; he is located out front of Black Horse pub.” The radio made an awful sound as the dispatcher ended the transmission.

“Roger that, on my way.” I hang the mic up and find a spot to turn around. Black Horse Pub means this guy is probably drunk. It doesn’t take me too long to get there, especially when you know all the shortcuts. It took me awhile to learn the routes and I am proud to say I don’t need any form of GPS. All I carry is a small map of downtown in case I do get lost, which has not happened. The brakes make a squeal as I slow down to a stop; I spot the guy standing in front of the small pub. His eyes catch me and he hurries to the car, swinging the door open and then slamming it shut. The shock from the door slamming shocks me at first and then I turn in my seat to look at him.

“Where ya need to go?” I ask him, his suit looks to be brand new and his suitcase tells me he has money. Another rich man trying to celebrate, I guess.

The man raises his head and then looks around him, peering out the windows as if he was lost, “Well, I am not too sure, could you take me to a local hotel?” He looks back at me and stops.

“Well, the closet one is the Hilton, it is pretty expensive, but about fifteen minutes from here.” I tell him, I wanted to give him fair warning of the hotel’s rates, because the Hilton was nowhere near cheap.

“That’s fine, man. Just take me there.” He said.

“Yes sir.” With that being said, I flip the meter start button and put the car in drive. I slowly creep onto the street and then head north.

The sound of his voice startled me, “So, how have you been doing?” The man said.

The question scared me out of my head and I had to pause to think of a reply. I was astonished that the conversation kept going where so many others had fallen off.

“Oh, you know, just living the life.”

The man shifted slightly and the cushion made a noise of refusal as it was forced into a position it did not like. “Yeah, I hear ya, but at least you got people to talk to all the time.”

I laughed at his comment and looked at him in the rear view mirror, he flashed me a smile and I smiled back. As I gained control of my laughter and was about to speak, he started talking again.

“Yeah, all those people giving you their secrets and such. I watch Taxi Cab Confessions.”

I busted out with laughter, I couldn’t help it. His comment was so naïve that it was funny. I quickly got my composure back to reply to him, “No, nothing like that. This conversation we are having is the first one I have had in many years. People are just too busy for it.”

I heard him cough and looked into the mirror, he looked back at me and then out the window to his right, “Oh, I know what you mean about being busy. My job keeps me very busy, traveling a lot and such. But everyone needs time to talk, you know? Just talking, it doesn’t have to be a confession or anything. Just two people having a nice conversation like we are now.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing; it was like he could read my mind. Like he knew exactly what I was going through. Before I could speak he continued.

“A lot of people just need to be reminded about what is important.” Another cough erupted, “This meeting I am going to tomorrow is me telling these corporate heads that I am resigning. I put everything in my life second to my job, I wanted money and power and in getting that I lost what I truly wanted.” He rolled down his window and the smell of cigarette smoke filled the cab. Had he been anyone else, I would have told him to throw it out. I was determined to get a word in, so I made sure to reply this time.

“What did you lose, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“I lost everything I took advantage of, my wife, my kids, my well being. It didn’t take long either, missed a couple Christmas’ because I was working, and broke my promises with my family. But, I learned, I just hope that it isn’t too late to apologize to them.” He paused for a moment before continuing, “That’s the problem with people today. Everyone is too busy worrying about themselves and forgetting about the ones around them. People’s eyes are always pointed towards greed and they forget what makes them happy. Then they have all this money, but no one around to spend it with.”

I pulled into the hotel parking lot and made my way to the front entrance. I wished the trip had lasted longer so I could talk to this man some more, but I did not want to keep him from his awaking so to speak. “Well, here we are.” I said slowly.

The man looked out his window and made a sound of agreement, “Yes. Yes we are.” He opened the door and stepped out, he then walked to my door. “Enjoyed the talk, man, hope life treats you well in whatever you choose to do.” With that he handed me some cash and walked off.

The wad of money felt a bit fat for a thirty dollar fare, I looked down and saw the hundreds I was holding. I stared at them for a long time, finally taking my eyes away from them, I looked inside the entrance door’s windows, but he was gone. The stranger hadn’t even looked at the amount he gave me, and after counting it I realized what it meant.

© 2012 A Social Corpse

Author's Note

A Social Corpse
I wasn't sure what genre this could be a part of, so I just generalized it. This story is supposed to end how and where it did and there is no continuation of it. I want the reader to think after this, what is important to us? What does being rich really mean to us, is money and power worth all the sacrifice it takes? What good is it to have all of that, but no one to share it with. The driver is an old man, who has become lost in his everyday monotony and forgot what is important in life. I hope you all enjoy and please feel free to leave any feedback. Thank you and have a pleasent day.

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Another great story that makes you think. So many people feel alone even though we're surrounded by people. Customer services reps, cashiers, sales people, and taxi drivers: all spend their days in constant contact with people, but no meaningful communication takes place. Everyone is always so absorbed in their own pursuits and their own lives, they don't really see the person standing in front of them. That's what your story reminds of us of.

But there's also hope. Sometimes we cross paths with a person who changes everything by making us take a step back and reconsider where we're going and what is important.

Posted 8 Years Ago

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Added on October 19, 2012
Last Updated on October 19, 2012
Tags: Life, Money, sad, sadness, dread, alone, lonely, angry, happy, change, power, taxi, mind, worth, rich, riches, death


A Social Corpse
A Social Corpse

Fort Polk, LA

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