"Let's go to the Chart House."

It's quite late on a Sunday evening, and I tell my passenger, a tipsy middle-aged man with a comb-over, that it's almost certainly closed. He asks for other recommendations as to what's open at this hour. He's not exactly the Roxy type, so I hesitate.

"Tell me, where do you and the other cab drivers go?"

"I don't speak for the others, but I myself go to Holman's."

So we're off, and he insists I come in and eat, leaving the meter running. "Oh, I'll tip you like two, three hundred bucks, don't worry about it, come have dinner with me." I roll my third eye at that, but I am hungry. And so we talk. And talk. And talk.

I remind him of his ex-wife, apparently. "She's about your age, that was part of the problem, really. But she's a researcher like you, into neuroscience, although she's a straight biologist and you're more like a psychologist."

Nascent psychologist that I am, I ask the gentle questions, say the appropriate reinforcing things. I want to help him. He seems like a good guy. And when I drop him in front of his house, he does in fact write in a $300 tip on the credit slip. "That's about what I pay my therapist, and I got more out of tonight than I usually do sitting on her couch."

I'm stunned, both by the tip and the compliment. And he didn't even ruin it by asking for my phone number.