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Smokin' Dave's Taxicab Diaries / A Rude and Moot ConversationWith a Drunken Jap    

A Rude and Moot Conversation
With a Drunken Jap



Now I'm trying to find my way through the rain and the steam
I'm lookin' straight ahead through the screen
And then I heard her say something in the limousine
'bout taking a ride across the Planet of New Orleans
--Dire Straits


fter gunning the cab out of the Royal Sonesta underground parking garage, a quick little shortcut from Conti St. to Bienville St., I realized the hammered foreign businessman in the back seat of the cab probably spoke no English at all, except for the word 'Hyatt'. How rude.

Great, I thought. Just what I need, on a crappy night like tonight. I don't speak a single foreign language, I sometimes have difficulty just mastering my native tongue, and now there's a drunk Jap in the cab who can't understand it at all, and he's probably gonna want conversation.

Groupies are waiting outside the door, pining for Mr. Sung, their staggering hero and vomiting delegate, to scrawl his autograph on breasts, a used Toyota, or anything they can muster up at that shining moment.
At that point, I first realized that, in all my years up to the time of this sudden observation, I have never seen a Japanese person even take a drink, much less tip the ol' bottle to the point of making an absolute potato-head of himself. Have I missed something? I mean, Japan is a pretty large country. There's got to be somebody living there, other than your typical drunken American tourist, who enjoys a little mule kick every now and then. I could be wrong. Or maybe I'm right on target. Or maybe this idiot, who's yodeling an annoying "ho, ho, ho", to everything he hears and sees, is Japan's one and only designated drinker.

Imagine the scene in Tokyo. "Ah, so, Mr. Woon Sung. You have important mission: Japanese tradition say go to America and get ripped to gills, in the name of Tokyo. Show American people real reason Japan invade Pearl Harbor. There will be fireworks when you return to homeland." (bow) Someone strikes that same gong you hear in all those cheap Japanese drive-in movies. Groupies are waiting outside the door, pining for Mr. Sung, their staggering hero and vomiting delegate, to scrawl his autograph on breasts, a used Toyota, or anything they can muster up at that shining moment.

Okay, maybe my reasoning for this guy visiting New Orleans is a little far- fetched. Nevertheless, I decided to twist this fare into a positive experience, if possible. After all, it had been a night of one anal crisis after another, and I needed a little entertainment, at least a cheap thrill, before dealing with the rest of the morons running amok on that grand old sleazepath we call Bourbon St.

"Where to?"
(Smiling broadly) "Hyatt."
"Where you from?"
"Ah, yes! Hohohohoho!"
"You Japanese?"
"Ah, Japanese, yes! Hohohohoho!"
"How long you been in town?"
"Yes, yes! Hohohohoho!"

(Long pause, as I lit up a Marlboro, and drove and pondered thoughts of a Japanese executive getting fired from his job for arriving too inebriated to take the traditional bow, ending up falling flat on his face. Then I decided it was time to have some fun with this guy. If he does understand English, I'll see more trouble than I've seen in weeks.)

"Did you know that your mother could fit seven eggs and four gerbils in that mouth of hers, and still have room to breathe?"
"Yes, hohohohoho"
"Hey, why don't I just hop back there with you, sit on your lap, and pick my nose?" "Yes, hohohoho!"
"Say, aren't you that guy from Hawaii Five-O?"
"Hohohohoho!"

End of conversation. We were already arriving at the Hyatt Regency when I realized I should have initiated this query while we were still in the Quarter, rather than waiting until just four or five blocks from the hotel. Upon getting out of the taxi -- but only after I'd wished I'd taken a course in Mime 101, in order to explain that he needed to pay cab fare -- the Jap did a quick dance in front of the cab, then opened the heavy doors to the Hyatt's lobby and promptly fell over. I briefly entertained the thought of helping him stand back upright. Naaah. Let him find a doorman somewhere. I've got other customers waiting to be served.



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Smokin' Dave's Taxicab Diaries / A Rude and Moot Conversation With a Drunken Jap    

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