With all this car service grief I’ve been going through lately, I forgot to tell you about Rob.
Not me, this Rob is the driver who took me Penn Station for my trip to Philadelphia, the one who showed up right on time and ferried me straight to Penn Station without incident, but with plenty of style.
He works for the same company that so royally screwed up my return trip from Penn Station, but I’m certainly not holding that against him.
Rob isn’t a young man, or even middle-aged. No, he’s in his seventies and I confess I was a little surprised by his advanced years when I first saw him, which is somewhat ironic, given the fact that I’m turning 60 in a few weeks.
Rob is also a former hairdresser and gay. I know all this because he told me so within the first five minutes of picking me up.
“I’m a gay hairdresser!” Rob told me at least twice as we drove down the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
He was quite a change from the drivers I usually get, who are typically Middle Eastern with a limited command of the English language. And most of them are Muslims.
“I’m sure they don’t like me,” Rob said of his coworkers. “But that’s all right. I’m not inviting them over for tea.”
We talked about how Brooklyn has changed so dramatically over the last few years, and how expensive some formerly horrific neighborhoods have become.
“I picked up three young girls who had paid a fortune for this tiny apartment,” Rob said, “and I told them ‘you’re all assholes!’”
Well, there goes that tip. Rob said he used to be a hairdresser for a one-hit wonder Sixties star whose name escapes me and he used to travel with her when she took her act on the road. Now he drives for the car service to pick up some extra cash.
“People love riding with me,” Rob said. “I play great music, I tell great stories, and I bathe regularly.”
So, Like I Was Saying…
Rob has a young boyfriend who is in forties, but he’s realistic about the relationship.
“Listen,” he said, “at my age I’m a John and I know it.”
Rob is keeping his current beau around through various acts of tender bribery, like buying a pair of tickets to the recent Barbra Streisand concert at the Barclay Center.
However, it seems the boyfriend has a bit of drug problem and the guy prefers getting high at home to going out of the town—and Rob is getting a little fed up.
Gee, I seem to know a lot about this guy’s life, don’t I? But it was a great ride and Rob is a real trip. I was feeling extremely anxious about the conference in Philly and Rob did a lot to calm me down.
I probably won’t see him again, as I have parted ways with that car service.
I even spoke with a woman from the Taxi & Limousine Commission about that atrocious night who told me that it is unlikely the company will be cited for leaving me high and dry in the middle of a monsoon.
However, it seems my luck with car service drivers is still in the basement.
On Thursday I took a car home from my writing class in Park Slope and the driver must’ve been new in town...and on the planet.
“Where are you going?” I said with alarm as my exit on the BQE came and went.
“You said Shore Road.”
“Yeah,” I wailed, “but you’re heading to Staten Island!”
I directed this yin-yang off the highway just short of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, guided him to my house, and gave him a less-than-impressive tip.
I tell you, there’s never a gay hairdresser around when you need one.