I often try to guess, at times too cynically to be correct, as to what my passengers are out doing at all hours of the night. Some are more obvious in their dealings than others. If I remain curious long enough, I usually find a way to pry it out of them. Some are more giving, others more reserved. None of them truly shock anymore. I’m just jaded that way.
Prostitutes, escorts, call girls, strippers, fire eaters, cleaning women, bingo players, nurses, steel workers, cops, bag ladies, and debutantes; they all pass through the cab and into the night. Each one of them is someone’s daughter. Some are sisters, mothers, and wives. They’re all women.
When I picked up Janie, a nurse’s aid at a local Alzheimer’s care facility, she nearly fell into the backseat. Tired and ready for her days off, she sighed heavily and explained that she seldom calls for a cab. Tonight her son was to have retrieved her yet hadn’t due to his off-road adventures in the family Jeep. Leaving it stuck in the mud, the son walked to a phone and called mom and a tow truck. Janie promised she’d collect his set of keys.
I pressed Janie to describe her work around the elderly, specifically the women and their lost memories and assumed identities. She spoke of their mental and emotional hold upon specific eras of their lives and yet, at the same time, their inability to grasp the goings-on of an event that had taken place just minutes earlier.
What she told me stayed with me in a profound way. I was reminded of women, their secrets and memories and the precious qualities of the three.