Tonight I am not thinking of the long hours, the crazy drunks, the aching back-for tonight I have a cab with a CD player, sadly a rare thing for me as a part-time driver. The chance to liven up my 12 hours in this rolling metal box with some good music will make up for any number of assholes I might pick up.

But the assholes never materialize. The passengers follow each other like songs on a great mix tape.

I pick up some hipsters outside Beulahland. They say, "Cool, we've never had a cab driver listening to Tom Waits before!" We sing our way across the river.

Later, it's Mark Lanegan playing when a guy gets in: "Oh, man, this guy is awesome. Did you see him when he played at the Doug Fir?"

"Indeed I did," I reply. "I liked the first show so much that I parked the cab out front on the second night, went in for the show, and came back out to finish my shift." Another excellent fare.

R.E.M. inspires a somewhat heated discussion about whether they are still any good. I vote yes, whereas he thinks they started to suck when they signed to Warner Bros. He's wrong. Later, the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy starts a spirited argument about whether all that's great about hip-hop died around 1994.

Finally, the hour gets late, and now it's Elliott Smith. My last fare gets in and says, "God, wasn't that sad, when that happened?"

"Yeah, I cried and cried."

"I did too."

Then we were both very quiet, just listening.