I took a taxi to an appointment lately and the driver was very talkative. I learned all about his life, his early baseball prospects, his divorce, his daughter, his newborn grandson. He hoped to teach the child to play baseball, which got us on the subject of baseball. He was a Yankee fan, and especially loved Alex Rodriguez.
He’d even met A-Rod once. Well, sort of. He’d been in his cab in the Meatpacking District when he saw Alex Rodriguez walking down the street with a woman. So Albert (that’s his name) slammed on the brakes, sprung out of his cab, and grabbed A-Rod in a bear hug.
“I kept shaking him and shaking him,” he said reminiscently. “He was yelling and terrified, but I wouldn’t let go. Then the woman called the police.” But A-Rod didn’t press charges. “He’s a nice guy, I knew he wouldn’t,” said Albert.
“I love celebrities,” he said. “Love them, love them. I respect them.” Besides A-Rod, he loves Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. But most of all, Al Pacino.
“You know how he’s been on Broadway?” He was wistful. I said I did; I guess Albert meant that poorly reviewed Mamet play. “I’d love to see him live,” said Albert, “but I can’t go. I know I’d have to run on the stage and grab him and hug him, and I’d be arrested immediately. I couldn’t control myself.”
“But what if you just see him?” I said. “What if he got into your cab?”
“Then I’d lock all the doors and drive him to my house,” he replied promptly.
“So, you’d kidnap him.”
“Yes,” he said. “I’d have to. Then I’d ask him some questions and we’d have a cup of coffee, and I’d drive him home. I’d have a notebook.”
I told him he could let me off wherever.
Sadie Stein is contributing editor of The Paris Review, and the Daily’s correspondent.