The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Notes from the passenger seat of a Caddilac

“So wheres we going?” said the driver, a black man in his 50s perhaps, maybe a bit older. It was hard to tell.

“Turn right here. I live on Boca Rio and 8th,” I said. I was curious as to how he would drive the car—his right leg didn't seem to be in any shape for driving.

“You'se going to have to tell me how to get there,” he said, making the turn, left foot switching between break and gas. “I'm from Hollywood.”

“Hollywood? That's some commute.”

“Yes it is,” he said. “I've worked for the owner now for seventeen years. Used to work at the shop in Hollywood. Lived not mo' than five minutes away.” Right leg crammed up against the center hump in the car, left foot managing the pedals.

“Turn left here,” I said.

He did. “I was three of us; me, the owner and his brother.” He leaned over to me. “You'se know about black sheep in the family, right?”

“Yes,” I said, thinking of my own family, with its fair share of gray and black sheep. “Turn right; that's 8th.”

Turn navigated. “It was the brother. Ruined the shop he did.”

“Oh that's horrible.”

“Yup. So the owner, he tells me, ‘Arty,’ he says, ‘Arty, don't worry about nothin'. I got ya covered,’ And so I work for him here.”

“Nice boss,” I said.

“Yup. The other fellers, my manager, they may give me shit, but not the owner. Turn at the light?”

“No, continue straight,” I said.

“But they shouldn't give me shit, I work for the owner! Seventeen years I've worked for him. Ain't never given me shit.” We drove in silence for a few moments. “What's happened to yo car?”

“Battery, alternator, serpentine belt, don't know. It's power everything and the electrical system was acting quite funny. Trying to drive it the car just died on me,” I said. “Turn left here.”

“Shit, that happened to me on the way back from Georgia,” he said. “Wife and I went up to Georgia, and on the way back the car died on us.”

“Turn right here,” I said. “Then left. I'm at the back.”

“In the middle of nowhere and the car done died on me.” He then stopped, pulled a map out and started looking. He then mentioned a place. “Does that mean anything to you?”

“Sorry, can't say I've heard of the place.” He mentions another place. This time it's one of the exits on the Florida Turnpike. “Yes, I've heard of that.”

“That's where the car done died. Right on the Turnpike. Towtruck comes out, drives me half an hour back north, and I have to pay for two damn vehicles!”



“Yea, I lost a car in Georgia a few years ago.”

“No kiddin'?”

“Nope. Transmission seized up tight. Wouldn't even move in neutral.”

“Good Lord. Did you go back for it?”

“Nope. Would have cost two thousand to get it fixed, so I opted to get a used car instead.”


“Thank you for the ride,” I said. “It was very nice to meet you.”

“You know when you car will be ready?”

“Most likely tomarrow,” I said. “I guess I'll see you then.” I got out of the car.

“Okay. Nice talkin' with you.”

“Thanks again,” I said and closed the door. He drove off.

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