Revelers join in the fun on Sunday at San Francisco's famous Folsom Street Fair. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Revelers join in the fun on Sunday at San Francisco's famous Folsom Street Fair. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Suits and leather jock straps

http://sfexaminer.com/category/the-city/sf-news-columns/i-drive-sf/

Last week is a blur. In retrospect, I’m not sure why I thought I could do five taxi shifts in a row. I’m no longer a young man. I have grown weary and paunchy around the waist.

At the time, though, it seemed like a good idea. With the Oracle convention winding down and the Folsom Street Fair gearing up, The City was hopping, and I didn’t want to miss out on any of the action.

The last thing I remember with any clarity is finishing my column on Wednesday morning and then calling Jacob at the National office to secure 182, my regular cab.

From there, things get a little muddy …

I hit the streets around 5 p.m. Move some conventioneers around in gridlock traffic.

“Where might I find a toy store?” asks a woman from the Netherlands.
“Target, perhaps.”

Then there’s a software developer from Seattle who tells me he went to a strip club the night before and a girl wanted to charge him $2,000 to “go upstairs.”

“I’m not above paying for sex,” he says, “but that’s excessive.”
I pretend to share his outrage while secretly admiring the stripper’s chutzpah.

I drop him off at Butterfly on the Embarcadero, where a crowd of tourists who’ve just disembarked from two massive cruise ships are looking for cabs to Beach Blanket Babylon.

The hotels may all be at capacity, but let us go and make our visit …
That night, the Oracle appreciation event at AT&T Park features Gwen Stefani and Sting. But I never make it south of Market. Like a perfect storm, every event in The City breaks at the same time. I grab a fare from the Jane’s Addiction show at the Masonic. Take them to the Outer Sunset. Race back to find a straggler from the Die Antwoord show at Bill Graham.

When things settle, I’m craving Thai food, but parking around the House of Thai is a tedious argument.

Do I dare stop in front of a fire hydrant?

On Friday night, about 2 a.m., I get a fare going to Hayward. The young guy tells me he’d been at Oktoberfest, but his friends ditched him and his phone died, which is why he wasn’t able to call an Uber. Since he seems sober, I let him direct me. Until we end up in Livermore. Then I pull over. Demand to know his address.

I drive the 20 miles back to the Hayward in silence as a bead of sweat slowly drips down my chest.

As the week progresses, SoMa and the Castro begins to swell in anticipation of the Folsom Street Fair. I start collecting the first of what I hope to be many sweaty $20 bills.

That night, I work the new Mighty, AKA, the Great Northern. Eventually, I deadhead to Midway, at Illinois and Marin, where I promptly get a fare.

On the way to Noe Valley, my cab starts making a loud noise. At a light, I investigate.

Two flat tires.

I get my passengers home, limp down to the gas station. Not to be dissuaded, I grab a spare at the yard and keep working.

In the backseat of my cab, the passengers come and go, talking of sex and fellatio.

On Sunday, I work the Folsom Street Fair and the after parties. Around midnight, a couple flags me at Seventh Street.

“So how’s Uber treating you?” the man asks.

“Uhhh …”

“I usually take Uber but my phone died.”

“Well then, how’s Uber treating you?” I ask.

There will be time for drug deals and late night meals at Grubstake for couples who escape neo-Nazis in Lyft lines. Or a vision quest for tater tots at 3 a.m.

Until everyone’s phones are dead. And then I’m trapped, talking about architecture, drugs and that lanky boy walking the streets for hours in a pink G-string. Or just naked butt cheeks, framed in leather jock straps.

On Monday morning, as the sun rises behind the Oakland hills, I crawl home, cursing the impending heat wave, knowing it’ll be impossible to sleep through the day. And as I toss and turn on sweat-drenched sheets, the previous week dissipates like a bad memory.

And I drown.

Kelly Dessaint is a San Francisco taxi driver. Write to Kelly at piltdownlad@gmail.com or visit his blog at www.idrivesf.com.Folsom Street FairI Drive SFKelly DessaintLyftOracleSan FranciscotaxiUber

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Construction in the Better Market Street Project between Fifth and Eighth streets is expected to break ground in mid-2021.<ins></ins>
SFMTA board to vote on Better Market Street changes

Agency seeks to make up for slimmed-down plan with traffic safety improvements

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Currey (30) tallied 26 points and seven assists at Monday night’s game against the Lakers. (Chris Victorio for the S.F. Examiner).
Warriors overcome 19-point deficit to stun defending-champion Lakers 115-113

Ladies and gentlemen, the Golden State Warriors are officially back. Stephen Curry… Continue reading

U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an event to name President-elect Joe Biden’s economic team at the Queen Theater on Dec. 1, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
Kamala Harris to resign from Senate

Bridget Bowman CQ-Roll Call Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will resign from the… Continue reading

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

Most Read