a city of amateurs

The driver looked at her in the rearview mirror. “So where are you from?”

“Los Angeles,” she said. On yet another business trip to New York, Taylor prepared herself for the typical New Yorker critique of her home town. She heard the same complaints about LA being glitzy, superficial, and materialistic over and over again throughout her travels, and she prepared herself to defend the city yet again. There were parts of LA that few outsiders understood, and some inhabitants never found.

“Ah, LA.” The driver sighed.

Here it comes, Taylor thought.

“Kinda miss it. When you think about it, people trust each other a lot out there.”

Slightly bewildered, Taylor asked “What do you mean?”

“Well out here most people leave the driving to the pros, like me. To the delivery guys and whatnot. All their trust is in the trained people and the–well, the train operators. Out there in LA, people get into cars every single day and everyone has some degree of faith in the skills of the other drivers. I mean when you think about it, it’s 90% amateurs operating two-ton or heavier machines to get all over the city.”

“I’ve lived there all my life and never thought about it exactly that way,” Taylor said, “but you’re right. That is a lot of trust.”

“I think about going back sometimes, but the taxi franchises out there are killer. Maybe in a couple of years the LA Taxi Workers Alliance will get somewhere and I’ll give the city another go.” The cab came to a slow halt. “Here we are. $7.60.”

Taylor handed him a ten. “Thanks. It was good talking to you. Maybe I’ll get this cab again sometime.”

He smiled, “Yeah, maybe. Maybe in LA.” And he winked.

5 thoughts on “a city of amateurs

  1. I agree with Jared – this is so delightful and colorful and a reminder of the impact flash fiction has.

    I always think of flash fiction as segments – specifically as though each was a section in Paris Je T’aime or New York, I Love You. Don’t know if you’ve seen either but they’re basically shorts that convey so much in like, 5 to 10 minutes. I’m pretty sure we’ve talked about this over coffee or something…

    Anyway, my point is I could see this in a movie like this.

    The voices are strong and believable as well as the behaviors. I especially adore the use of the Taylor’s anticipatory en garde. It is just the right amount of suspense to really give this piece that OMPH!

  2. I agree with them both, especially because it’s true, there really are a lot of places people from L.A. don’t know about. :(

    I think what makes this story strong is how believable the characters actually are, I could picture this as an actual conversation with someone.

  3. Love this piece. I could envision this exchange totally happening. It’s very believable.

    I like the second paragraph, how it leads into the rest of the story. It’s very important to lay out Taylor’s expectations of the cab driver’s response, the typical New Yorker’s perception of LA.

    The cab driver’s response is thought provoking, providing insight on LA I hadn’t read or thought about.

  4. as someone who used to hate LA when i first got here, i appreciate this story a lot.

    without having to say too much, the cab driver instantly becomes someone i like. it’s like this underlying sense of cool when you recognize people who..recognize that LA isn’t all bad.

    it is an interesting view of LA, using the trust thing and the driving, especially because driving in LA can be so heinous. so, i like where you’ve taken the story…and the new angle you’ve presented.

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