Behind The Wheel: From Uber/Lyft to Taxi
Perzine, Kelly Dessaint, volume 3, 4730–A Shattuck Ave. Oakland, CA 94609, $5
I’ve never been a cabbie. But I spent the afternoon reading and re-reading about Dessaint’s life as a taxi driver, and because of this I feel I’ve driven a mile in my brother’s Fusion. Dessaint began as an Uber/Lyft driver and eventually got his certification as a San Francisco taxi driver. He has written two zines previously about his Uber days. This zine is all taxi stories.
If Dessaint had a mission statement I think it would read:
“Get the customer from point A to point B as quickly and cheaply as possible. Ensure the customers safety and if need be, be their ambassador to the city. Never judge and keep your cool as much as you can. Also, fuck Uber.”
Dessaint loves his city of San Fran but he’s seen it with its makeup off. He’s lost count how many times a young girl has gotten into his cab and passed out because she’d been roofied. Part of his vocation is keeping those young women safe. The taxi industry often runs hand in hand with passengers who use intoxicants, sex workers, and people coming back from good (and bad) dates. Watching Dessaint navigate these worlds while keeping his personal code makes for very entertaining reading.
Check out BP’s interview with Kelly Dessaint
As with any vocation, Dessaint recognizes that his career does not exist in a vacuum. He comes from a long line of cabbies whom he respects and admires. Every Sunday he goes to the cabbie BBQ in the junkyard by the cab station. He hears and tells stories, gathers advice and shoots the shit. Throughout the zine he splices in stories told by a veteran cabbie, Late Night Larry. They are some of the funniest tales in the zine. Dessaint writes strong narratives and convincing arguments against Uber/Lyft. As a result, I’m now done with Uber and I hope to be lucky enough to ride in Dessaint’s cab one day. (dustan j. hlady)