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When a Taxi Driver says you’re Jewish, then gets pulled over

So I’m heading to Hollywood, California for a work thing. Ordered a car service to the airport because my company is paying for it. The best part about a car service is the robot-like driver who doesn’t speak a word. But this driver kicks off our 20-minute ride to the airport with, “Schwarzmann! I was expecting someone darker.”

“Umm…huh?”

“Schwarzmann, it’s a Jewish name from Germany. German surnames are often adjectives. Adjectives! Your ancestry had dark skin. The Jews came from North Africa after the fall of the second Roman temple…”

This anti-Semitic history lesson continued on down Route 101 to San Francisco’s airport. Now I’m not Jewish, and neither are my ancestors, but I’m on my way to Hollywood! I appreciate how he thinks I’m a Hollywood native.

And I’m not exactly sure his remarks were “anti-Semitic”. I don’t know what “Semitic” means, but I do know I’m staunchly NOT against it. Plus I’m an American, I never paid attention in Social Studies class, so maybe this history-teacher-turned-cab-driver was going to learn me something. After all, he is wearing a tie.

All too often cab drivers assume I’m down with racism. I get that a lot. They’ll make casual racist remarks that end off with a “you know?”, like I’m a member of their secret hate club. Maybe I have that “racist look”. I’m bald and white, and there’s probably some German 80’s band spewing from my headphones.

Egging him on after getting just four hours of NyQuil-induced sleep, I asked if he were German.

“I am French!!! [Obviously, you idiot!!]”, he said jetting down the fast lane at 85mph.

I say 85mph because that’s what the officer clocked him at. Getting pulled over by California Highway Patrol ended our History lesson and began our Civics lesson on hatred towards American police officers. That’s the one annoyance about America highway patrolman, they will fine you for putting the lives of innocent people at risk. Le Assholes!!

I never know what to say while riding with a maniacal taxi driver. Actually, I know exactly what to say: “Could you please slow down??” But I’m too much of a pussy to say it. I’d rather put myself, and possibly loved ones, in danger than hurt a taxi driver’s feelings. I’ll just sit nervously. Just thinking, “I just want this ride over with!” Maybe a little prayer. Praying that my wife has the balls to call out the cab driver.

cop-car

Frenchman in poor English: “Officer, what did I do wrong?”

Highway Patrolman in worse English: “You were going 85 in a 55. And your passenger does not have a seatbelt on.”

Frenchman: “He did! He just took it off! Ask him! Ask him!”

Oh shit. Please, please, officer, do not get me involved with this. I either lie to the officer, or say the driver is lying, then have to ride with him for another ten minutes. Fortunately the officer ignored his whimpering and walked back to his patrol car to write the ticket.

“Dis is going to make me smoke. I need a cigarette. I’m go out for a cigarette.” …five seconds later… “SIR, GET BACK IN YOUR VEHICLE!! GET BACK IN YOUR VEHICLE NOW!!” …one second later…. “I’ll have smoke at airport.”

This guy is going to get himself arrested. I’m going to be stranded on the side of the highway and miss my flight. I won’t know how to pop the trunk to get my luggage. Can you hail a taxi from the highway at 7am on a Sunday? I hope they take credit cards.

Frenchman: “Fucking asshole police. This guy is asshole. He has a New York accent. He’s from New York!”

Me: “New Yorkers don’t move to San Francisco to become cops.”

Frenchman: “Maybe he’s Russian? He’s Russian! I’ll speak Russian to him.”

I don’t know any Russian, but one thing I do know is that Russians hate other Russians. The officer does speak Russian but it’s no help, the French driver gets a speeding ticket and seatbelt ticket, that I feel slightly-guilty-for-but-not-really.

A few fake French “Thank you’s!” to the officer and we’re on our way to the airport. Now driving 90mph. Double jeopardy, can’t be convicted for the same crime twice! What ever happened to Ashley Judd? I liked her.

Frenchman: “You must sign paper that say you had seatbelt on! Here, take paper. Here pen. Write ‘I…YOUR NAME…write date…'”

Like a POW in Vietnam I gave in and wrote the note. And now I’m arriving at LAX, and the end of this blog post.

note
Michel was upset when I spelled his name like an American girl. I blurred out his surname. It was Jewish.

 

Author Description

Phil Schwarzmann

I'm a writer, stand-up comic, and author of “How to Marry a Finnish Girl” (Gummerus Publishers, 2011). Better! Funner! is where I write. Poorly. More of my jibber-jabber at: www.philschwarzmann.com

  • http://conversations.nokia.com Ian Delaney

    Do you have any basic tips on ‘popping trunks’?

    I don’t know how to pop any of them, much less an american cab’s, which I imagine has higher security grade than your basic.

Buy my fucking book! (please)


 

Phil’s debut humor book, “How to Marry a Finnish Girl” is out now on Gummerus Publishers.

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About Better! Funner!


 

Better! Funner! is a blog written and curated by Phil Schwarzmann. You’ll find funny original pieces, some not-so-funny pieces, plus stuff that made Phil laugh from around them internets. Enjoy!

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