While poking around for information about the potential cab strike, I found a wonderful Web site/blog called HACK. Its proprietor is Dmitry Samarov, a Russian immigrant who was educated at Parsons and the Art Institute. As he puts it, “I first started driving a cab in 1993 in Boston. . . . I had just graduated from art school so I knew that the world was my oyster, my BFA would enable me to write my own ticket. . . . And by that I mean that there would be a variety of service industry jobs open to me . . .” Like a lot of starving artists, Samarov worked in restaurant jobs before returning to the cab industry, and he navigates our streets today. His blog documents life behind the wheel in pictures and sketches, while his Web site serves as a portfolio.
It’s worth noting here: don’t condescend to your cabbie. There’s a good chance he’s better educated than you. The state of Illinois has the second-highest percentage of college graduates among taxi drivers (22 percent, just behind Maryland at 23 percent; in Chicago it’s 24 percent, behind D.C. at 27 percent). And they’re getting smarter by the mile.