Melissa Plaut, author of Hack: How I Stopped Worrying About What To Do With My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab talks about passengersâ€™ pick-up lines, fare beaters, and sex in the backseat.
Howâ€™d you start driving a cab, anyway?
I was about to turn 29 and had been laid off from my corporate office job, which was never fulfilling. I was collecting my unemployment benefits and thinking about what I was going to do for the rest of my life, and it was sending me into a panic. Finally I realized that I didnâ€™t know whether I was ever going to be able to do any one thing with the rest of my life. Instead, I decided that I would live my life as a series of adventures, and my first would be getting behind the wheel of a yellow cab.
Were you worried that it would be dangerous?
Part of my decision in this sort of paradigm shift was not to let fear stop me from doing anything I wanted to do. And New York has gotten safer, and driving a cab has gotten safer along with that.
Have you ever been robbed?
No, knock on wood. But Iâ€™ve had fare beaters.
Do passengers ever hit on you?
Drunk guys are always like, â€œOh, youâ€™re cute. Youâ€™re female. What are you doing? Want a drink?â€ Iâ€™m like, â€œUmm, Iâ€™m driving this car.â€
You must see (and hear) some pretty crazy things going on in the back seat.
Some people with no boundaries whatsoever. One night, there was this couple that lived on the Upper East Side, and the woman gave the man a blowjob. They were middle aged! In terms of full-on intercourse, I canâ€™t say for sure. Ignorance is bliss on that level.
Would you recommend the job to other women?
I think people behave better in my cab because Iâ€™m a woman and speak perfect English, but itâ€™s a horrible job, and I wouldnâ€™t recommend it to anybody. It should be a work release program for nonviolent offenders.
But youâ€™re still driving, so it canâ€™t be that bad. Would you miss it if you stopped?
Whatâ€™s your next adventure?
Iâ€™m into disaster response and search and rescue. Iâ€™ve also thought about working on the New York Harbor. And one of my more recent ideas is to work for a year on Wall Street, as douche-baggy as that might sound. Itâ€™s this other New York archetype, and I want to see if thereâ€™s an actual thrill.