The Unexpurgated “I Drive SF” Columns
The third installment in the Behind the Wheel series is a ribald journey into the reality of driving a bonafide San Francisco taxicab. Gritty and raw, the view from a cab is not for the faint-hearted. From facilitating drug deals to abetting prostitution to just getting people home safely from the clubs… The job of a night cabbie isn’t over until the sun comes up.
half size (5.5×8.5)
wraparound color cover
illustrated with images from the behind the wheel
Includes “my other car is a taxicab” sticker.
It’s been over a year since I released a new issue of Piltdownlad. But I haven’t been lazing about. I write a weekly column for the S.F. Examiner about my transition from driving Uber and Lyft to driving a bonafide taxi as well as my experiences on the streets of San Francisco.
I’m also working on a new zine that collects many of these columns in addition to supplemental content and new articles. The result will be Piltdownlad No. 10.75 – Behind the Wheel 3: From Uber/Lyft to Taxi.
The anticipated street date will be late July.
Most days, I wake up around noon. Usually hung-over. My first thought is always the same: probably should’ve skipped that last drink. At the time, though, it felt absolutely necessary. Vodka has a way of alleviating some of the physical stress from driving a car all night. At least temporarily.
After several months of driving for Lyft and Uber, my neck is like an open wound. The muscles that run from my shoulder to my jaw are steel rods. I have very little radius when I turn my head left or right. The tension never goes away. It makes my teeth ache. There is a real possibility that I have some dislocated vertebrae. My joints hurt. My right ankle has a creak in it. And I have a chronic case of hemorrhoids. No matter how much ointment I apply, they remain perpetually enflamed. Old age has not only crept up on me, it has run past me and turned around to taunt me.
Besides the physical exhaustion of driving a car in the city, there is also the psychological toll. It’s one thing to maintain a diligent eye on my blind spots, the other cars on the road, speeding bicyclists and cavalier pedestrians, but I also have to project a sunny disposition and be accommodating to my passengers. Or risk a negative rating. Not an easy task when I’d rather be committing murder. And yet, with enough Ativan and caffeine in my system, somehow I make it through another shift. Like when the endorphins kick in after a boot to the nut sack, these superficial interactions with complete strangers have a numbing effect after awhile. As long as it’s busy and I have enough rides to keep my mind off the grueling process. The slow nights can be torture and I can’t wait to get home so I can pummel my brain with alcohol, pills and weed until I stop obsessing over the streets of San Francisco, their order and how they intersect with each of the forty-seven neighborhoods.
Behind the Wheel 2 includes more insight into the day-to-day travails of a rideshare driver in San Francisco, more stories about driving drunks, switching from Lyft to Uber, a visit to Uber HQ, self-entitled douchebags, talk of gentrification and displacement, the tech boom, public debauchery, emotional breakdowns, police activity and the constant threat of pukers.
Illustrated with street scenes from the passenger seat
Order Online here.
Piltdownlad will be tabling at the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine fest on Saturday, December 6, 2014. More info here.