Hack: How I Stopped Worrying About What to Do with My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab
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“I had always thought about driving a cab, just thought it’d be interesting and different, a good way to make money. But it always seemed like a fleeting whim, a funny idea, something I would never actually do.”
In her late twenties and after a series of unsatisfying office jobs, Melissa Plaut decided she was going to stop worrying about what to do with the rest of her life and focus on what she was going to do next. Her first adventure: becoming a taxi driver. Undeterred by the fact that 99 percent of cabbies in the city were men, she went to taxi school, got her hack license, and hit the streets of Manhattan and the outlying boroughs.
Hack traces Plaut’s first two years behind the wheel of a yellow cab traveling the 6,400 miles of New York City streets. She shares the highs, the lows, the shortcuts, and professional trade secrets. Between figuring out where and when to take a bathroom break and trying to avoid run-ins with the NYPD, Plaut became an honorary member of a diverse brotherhood that included Harvey, the cross-dressing cabbie; the dispatcher affectionately called “Paul the crazy Romanian”; and Lenny, the garage owner rumored to be the real-life prototype for TV’s Louie De Palma of Taxi.
With wicked wit and arresting insight, Melissa Plaut reveals the crazy parade of humanity that passed through her cab–including struggling actors, federal judges, bartenders, strippers, and drug dealers–while showing how this grueling work provided her with empowerment and a greater sense of self. Hack introduces an irresistible new voice that is much like New York itself–vivid, profane, lyrical, and ineffably hip
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