"How did you get this gig, anyway?" My passenger is not referring to my being a taxi driver. I once wrote about her, and when she saw me again tonight, she said, "You are the Night Cabbie! You know, I thought it was you."

How did I get this gig.... "Well, the former Night Cabbie was in his neighborhood bar when a cab driver came in and yelled 'Radio Cab!' But his passenger, now engrossed in video crack, sent him away. Knowing exactly how much that sucks for us, the former NC royally chewed the guy out. He also surreptitiously canceled the guy's next cab from his cell phone. Then again an hour later. When the bar closed, another cab was coming down the hill; he intercepted it. He and the driver started catching up, when the driver said, 'Oh man, you wouldn't believe who's back driving again.' He named me." This was a surprise, for when I moved to L.A. for a writing gig, I swore I'd never drive a cab again. Then 9/11 happened; said gig naturally vanished. I was down to 70 cents in my checking account before I came trudging back to the garage.

"Anyway, he'd written his former editor about the bar incident, thinking it would amuse him. He was asked if he was driving again; they'd thought about maybe resurrecting the column." He wasn't, but I guess he figured I was reasonably bright, occasionally somewhat amusing and, one would hope, a halfway decent writer, having originally left this fine profession for some proffered writing gig in the first place. "So he told them about me, and was told to ask if I was interested. I got a note at the garage, asking me to call him. The editor had me write four sample columns. And those four ran, essentially unchanged, as the first four Night Cabbie columns."

"That's so cool!" said my passenger. And I have to admit, I can't complain. I get to vent about my job for money, and get loads of fan mail as a result. How many people can say that? Well, hopefully the next guy.... —nightcabbie@wweek.com