Cab Drivers, Inspiration & The Sound Of Music

October 22, 2010 at 10:01 am

I normally work late hours and help contribute to hours of live television every day.

Sometimes, after a busy night in the world of sports, I simply don’t want to take the subway home.

On those rare occasions, I treat myself to a cab ride and cut my commute in half.

This is the tale of one of my recent trips home after a long day of work.

I entered the cab and was greeted enthusiastically by the driver.

I’ll always regret not getting his name but for the purposes of this post I’ll call him Cab Driver.

The man was around 60 years old and spoke with a thick Italian accent.  The first thing I noticed was his constant need to sit up straight.  He adjusted his position often in order to achieve the best posture possible.

“I hope you like the classics!” he said proudly.

At first, I thought he was referring to the opera music he was listening too.

He was listening to an all opera radio station when suddenly, a song began that I actually recognized.

The Barber of Seville.

Of course, I had no idea what it was called at the time but he quickly educated me and proceeded to sing.  (Quite well I might add.)

Meanwhile, he was weaving aggressively in and out of traffic like a lunatic!  I’ve never seen a driver honk more in my life.  You had less than 2 tenths of a second to hit the gas when a light turned green or else you would feel the wrath of his horn.

It’s important to understand the contrast here.

Here is a crazy cab driver cutting in and out of lanes while constantly changing speeds and honking continuously.

Inside the cab, he was calmly singing opera music and waving his hands around like a seasoned conductor.

“Figaro! Figaro!”

I was fascinated.

Then he got mad at me…

“Have you ever seen Amadeus?” he said.

It became clear to me that he meant ‘classics’ in more ways than one.

I shook my head and he looked as though I broke his heart.

“You’ve never seen that movie?!”

A sentence fellow film nerds have no doubt heard countless times.  I told him I was a massive film fan and that I just hadn’t gotten around to seeing it yet.

Then he said something that will probably stick with me forever.

“Beautiful movie.”

Beautiful movie. I wasn’t sure why at the time but I really loved how he described Amadeus.  Beautiful.

I didn’t have much time to ponder the statement.

“What about The Sound Of Music?”

“Oh I’ve seen that.”

“Good!  Now we can be friends.  Beautiful movie.”

There was that sentence again.

At this point, he honked at a city bus that had to merge into our lane.  It’s hard to convey the image because you automatically associate honking with anger and rage but he remained completely calm.

The Cab Driver went on and on about The Sound of Music.

He absolutely adored that film.  Everything about it was beautiful.

I got the sense that he would have named 100 movies until he found one that we could talk about together.  I’ll always be happy that he found one with me on the second try.

I found myself loving the sheer impact movies had on the man.

Beautiful movie.

What a fantastic way to describe a film.

Why not?

Even horror movies can be beautiful depending on who you ask.

My total came to 13 dollars.  All I had was a twenty.  I left him the twenty and yet I still felt like I ripped him off.

He’ll never know that his crazy driving and love of movies actually inspired me to become a better writer.

However, I did promise him that I will watch Amadeus someday.  A promise I intend to keep.

He told me to save 3 hours because it’s a long movie right before slamming on his breaks and leaning on the horn again.

I got out of the cab and thought more about how much movies meant to him and to me.

It’s was an inspiring cab ride to say the least..

It made me think even more about the audiences I hope to reach one day.  About the small chance that someday a cab driver will ask someone if they had ever seen a movie I made.

What it must feel like knowing it would break that cab driver’s heart if the answer was no.

Back to work.