Car 6

Car 6

Friday, April 7, 2017


It has been a long time since I wrote here.

I felt lost in life when I started driving a taxi. One of the great things about being behind the wheel was I knew the city and the surrounding areas. Most of the time I did not need the GPS after a few months. I always knew where I was at. I was in control. I was not lost. And if I did get a little turned around..the Garmin got me back on track.

Tonight I was at an art show with my girlfri.....fiance'. Yeah....a lot has changed since I last wrote here. Her name is Giselle. She grounds me in ways I never thought possible.

Anyway. I was leaving the art show that was at a brewery in Aurora, Illinois. I had my phone's GPS on and then...the GPS app crashed. It kept crashing. I had no idea where I was. I was lost. I did not know this city grid and I did not know the way home. I was guessing right until I found myself in the middle of a residential section with narrow passage. Yep. I was lost. Now I was frustrated. I was in my car, which not only is a used taxi, but has parts in it from a taxi that I used to drive. The device that gave me security of not being lost was no longer working. Sometimes the things we rely on are a false sense of security. Sometimes the tools we use (like my cell phone in this case) fail us.

I realized in that moment how lost I have felt in other areas of my life the last two weeks. I have been bottling it up inside instead of sharing it and letting it out. I have smoke screens of other things on my mind so I do not have to face the core of the issues of being lost.

Then something happened. I saw a major street. I took it. I was still lost, but I could finally get North down and figure it out. Off to the right was a side street. It was a way I took from Aurora to Giselle's house once. I took and found myself on a farm road.

I could almost hear her voice in my head as she sat next to me a few months ago in my car telling me to turn right here...turn left there. It was automatic. I was no longer lost. I knew the way to her.

Okay...her house is not exactly on the way to my house...but she was the way home. I could not find my home, but I found my way to her. I found that she is home and where home is now is merely where I sleep.

I heard someone once say that home is where people love each other. Some often say home is where the heart is. I found home in more ways than one.

I found home when I let go of control. I found home when I listened to my guide. My guide was love. Love is what gets us home when we are lost and we are lost no more when we let go of control, admit we are lost, and ask for a little help.

She may not have been in my car, but love was inside of me.

Getting lost happens to everyone in so many different ways. We get our bearings on our own sometimes, but there are other times when we need a little help. That is all right. And love and others seem to be more dependable than an app.

Find your guide. If your guide is love, your compass will get you home. You may even find out home is not what you thought it was, but it was something more majestic and beautiful.

I am going to bed now.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Burning Bridges and New Beginnings

*Pat looks around, brushes the dust off the blog, brews some tea, and writes one more time here*

So last night was New Years Eve. I took the opportunity for the holiday to actually see what life was at a party.

Giselle and I decided to make a date of it. I booked a room in Joliet, we had a nice dinner together, and then we decided to go to a bar just outside of Joliet called Bada Brew. They had some live bands and she knows one of the DJ's that was performing as well.

She suggested that it would be safer if we did not drive, since this is amateur night on the roads. Over dinner I hemmed and hawed at the idea, but then decided, that she was right. It is better to be safe than to be sorry.

A little over a year ago, I had pretty much burned my bridges with TeleCab, that in and of itself is a long story, but suffice it to say that I did not handle things as well as I could-or should-have on my end. So we used Lyft to get from the hotel to the bar. The man that picked us up was named Tim. His little Honda was clean and he had phone chargers and was nice enough. The ride was about $15 and I tipped him $5 and gave him a 5 star rating. Driving for a living regardless of the venue you choose is rough.

At one point during the evening we went outside to talk with some of the New Years revelers and I saw a TeleCab taxi drop someone off and I found myself smiling and craning my neck to see if I recognized the driver. I did not. He was someone who has come on the scene since my departure.

I let the moment pass and continued with the evening full of music, conversation, pizza, dancing and so much more. After the new years countdown and a most wonderful and breathtaking kiss, it was time to start thinking about getting back. I texted one of the dispatchers I am still friends with:

"You working tonight?"

"Yep" she replied.

"What's the wait time right now? I may call soon for a ride." I said


Even though she said slow, the short answers clued me in that she was likely taking care of phones or talking to drivers so I let her be A little later in the evening I told Giselle I was going outside to call a taxi. I dialed the number from memory and after a brief hold a voice came on the phone that I did not recognize. Considering how things ended I had no idea if I would even be able to get a taxi from them if my name poppped up on caller id.

"Hi. My name is Patrick and I would like a taxi from Bada Brew to the Inn on Norman. What's the wait time?"

"It'll be less than half an hour."

"Thank you."

I went inside and we danced one or two more songs, hugged some people good bye, and settled the tab. I also texted the dispatcher I am still in contact with.

"Who am I getting?" I asked.

"Joe" She replied.

"The poet?" I asked excited to get someone I knew.

"No. I don't think you know him. Good kid."

"Ok. He will be tipped well."

We saw the taxi outside and we grabbed our coats and went out there. He had his window down and was filling out his log sheet in a neat and organized manner.

"You Joe?" I asked.

The young man looked up at me and smiled,"You Patrick Green?"

"Yes I am." Giselle and I got into the back of the Crown Victoria and he confirmed our destination. I asked him as we pulled out of the lot how long he has been driving.

"About a year." He said. "I made some bad investments in Cali and had to come here. I really love this job. Driving around and meeting people is amazing."

"I used to work for TeleCab. I was in sales and marketing and before that I was a driver."

"Yeah," he said, "Why did you leave."

"That is a long story."

"Am I going the right way? The GPS got turned around..."He sounded concerned.

"You're fine, man. Just keep going till we hit 30 and make a right." I smiled.

From there, with Giselle's hand in mine, I asked him about the drivers I used to be brothers in arms with. He did not recognize some of the names. Mike, Mark, Ronnie and a few others. But he certainly knew the names Santa and Patrick. We talked about the dispatchers and he mentioned that Amy was a dispatcher and she used to be a driver. I told him that she was one of our best damn drivers when she was behind the wheel. He asked why she wasn't driving anymore. I paused for a moment and said that is not my story to tell.

His cab was clean. He told me how much pride he took in that and how much he loved that JB let him have a take home car. I affirmed for him that is a matter of trust and respect from John and he should take pride in that. As we pulled up to the Inn he mentioned that sometimes after a week of 12-14 hour shifts he cries and misses family. That gave me pause. For all the nostalgia I was having, there was also the dark side.

The fare was $13, Giselle gave him $23 and we both wished him well.

As we went into the inn and made our way back to the room, I thought about Joe and I thought about how the some of the names have changed. People move on, we flow, we are fluid.

I am no longer a resident of the night. I am no longer the taxi driver. I regret the bridges I burnt in this life and I miss the friendships and the family. In that bittersweet moment, I also knew that I loved where I am and who I am and who I am with. I am embracing my photography and my art. I have made wonderful new friends this year. I have grown. I have learned so much. I have focused on being the dad I was meant to be and I am loved....truly loved. As I am for who I am.

I entered this New Year with love and belonging. That is home. I am home.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

We Are Nothing Alike!

I know I said it was finished, but recent events reminded me of something that I feel is worth sharing here.

Union Station in Joliet has a ballroom on the top level. During nice weather they often have wedding receptions up there. So on a nice Friday or Saturday night, if you are sitting at the train you may not only get a commuter, you may also even get a wedding goer that wants to leave.

I pulled up into the horseshoe about 20 minutes before the next train and a man in a tux was outside with a woman in an elegant black gown, they seemed to be having a fight, so I pulled up.

The man waved at me and I lowered the window.

"Hey, can I get a ride to Oak Park?"

Oak Park can be around $150. So I smiled and unlocked the door.

"Of course, hop in."

I radioed to dispatch the address he gave me to let them know I would be out of town and away we went.

"Women," he remarked.

"Bad night with your date?" I asked.

"You have no idea."

He then got on the phone and was in a conversation with someone who from the sounds of it was his wife and she was definitely at home and not the woman at the train station. None of my business. It is a $150 fare. After he got off the phone with her in what seemed to be not a good conversation he asked me,"So if I changed the address to Frankin Park, would that be okay?"

"You bet." If we made this destination change, we are looking at another $20. "What is the address."

He gave me the address. I recognized it. I had dated the resident of that address. Small friggin world, but that was not the woman at the train station. I heard him on his cell phone talking to a woman and I could hear her voice. It was her. Huh. They were arguing too. By the end of the conversation he was begging her to let him come over. But she did not want his company and he hung up and was in tears.

"What's your name, cab driver?" he asked in tears.

"Patrick," I said, "and you?"

"Randy." He sniffled.

"Sorry you are having such a rough night Randy. So, no Franklin Park?"

"No, Oak Park.," he said. More crying.

"Patrick," he said after a point,"I just don't understand pussy. Ya know?"

"Pussy?" I asked.

"Women." he said.


"We have a lot in common, Patrick. I am a good looking guy. You are a good looking guy. We're both hard working and make great money. Why can't they see this in guys like us? Why?"

I felt my temper boiling. I really wanted to hold my tongue. This is a great fare, but I loathed him. I heard the words coming out of my mouth.


"What?" he asked. I was silent. "What did you say?"

"We are nothing alike, Randy. Not a goddamn thing is alike about us. And if there is, then may we both burn in hell."

"What are you saying?"

"Look," I said,"I'm not the one going home to my wife with a dripping dick from my adventure at a wedding with a twenty something blonde who then has to figure out if he is gonna go to his wife in what I am sure is a very large home as I know that area or my girlfriend who for a quick poke regardless of the fact her daughter will be home..."

"How did you know she has...."

"Shut up, Randy. I cannot fathom how you want to have love and affection when women are nothing but pussy to you. I don't make a lot of money Randy and I am pretty sure I kissed my tip goodbye just now, but fuck man. Ya know. I used to be like you. I had a 4 bedroom house on a corner lot and made mistakes. But even at my worst as a husband, I could never hold a candle to you. You are in a league of your own, man. I don't get to decide which pussy I am gonna sleep with tonight. I am going to go home tonight at around 4 am...maybe 5 and I am gonna collapse into a futon mattress on a homemade bed frame with loose slats, because that is the kind of coin I am raking in asshole! At around dawn I am gonna pop on a podcast and go to sleep only to wake up again, shower, and deal with shit heads like you who think lives are meaningless and hearts are disposable to assuage their fucked up little narcissistic ego. "

"Why do you go home by yourself?"

"Because there was a time I would have thought a guy like you is keen and a lonely bed with cold sheets is what that kind of mindset deserves, not a wife and kids in a palace in Oak park."

"Fuck you Patrick. Just drop me off at the Denny's at the next exit."


He cried some more. We pulled in.

"$82." I said flatly.

He gave me $100 and told me to keep it. I used my counterfeit pen detector and when he saw that he wanted exact change.

I shook the whole way home in anger that I could not explain.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

It is Finished

It is finished. I have shared all there is to share in this chapter of my life. Thank you for reading.

More to come in other spaces.

It was a hell of a ride.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Life After God?

I am part of something exciting today. I am the communications director and an adviser and consultant for Ryan Bell's Life After God project. Before I tell you more about that, I want to tell you a story.

In the night, one of the regular fares during good weather is weddings. People come from all over for a wedding and they need rides to and from the reception, church, casino, etc. One of my little tricks was "rescue runs". Wedding receptions. 2 families, a lot of people from the past and alcohol. It is a recipe for people to want to get the hell out of there. I would read the paper for wedding announcements so I knew who was getting married, when and where. It would give me a place to cruise past slowly in the hopes of a flag in between fares or on a slow night.

One night I had my rescue run driving by the Jacob Henry Mansion. A woman in a black evening gown waving at me. You could see the tear stained mascara. Jackpot! Rescue run.

When I asked her where she wanted to go, she told me she needed to go to the hotel get a few things, and go directly to the airport and take the next plane she could get out of this "shithole".

"So," I said as we were on our way. "Wedding not go well? Are you all right?"

"Wedding went fine, I guess," she said,"But there's only so much black sheep bullshit I can tolerate."

"Why are you the black sheep?" I asked.

"I don't believe in god. I'm not religious anymore."

"Anymore?" I asked, "So you used to be?"

"Yeah, pastor's kid."

"Oh shit!" I said, she chuckled.

We talked a little more about her anger and her hurt and her family. She also decided the airport would be extreme and she will just go to the hotel and sleep off her anger and hurt and take her scheduled flight in the morning. As we got close to the hotel, she asked me a question.

"Usually when people find out I don't believe, they want to know why. You asked a lot of questions, cab driver. How come you did not ask that one?"

"Doesn't matter to me I suppose."

"What do you believe?" She asked.

"Same space you are in. But I was never a pastor's kid. I was the pastor."

"Oh shit!" she said. I chuckled.

I dropped her off at the hotel, she paid her fare and tipped well and I was on my way back to a slow night hoping to catch another flag anywhere I could.

The part that got me about her is how she mostly lives her life just fine. Her marriage, her kids, her job, her hobbies. It is not like she gets up and goes to the atheist dentist to have her atheist root canal done and pay for it with her atheist debit card. This is not her defining character trait. For her United Methodist family, it is.  She had also told me that her father is likely a pantheist at best and does not agree with his church on a great many things, but has resigned himself that it is what it is and being on the front lines of conviction and change is a younger man's game. He just is riding out to preserve a good retirement from a job and a church he can no longer stand to be party to. He was one of the few people who did not give her a hard time for her deconstruction as a younger woman. Without him, she never would have made it through the storm of disbelief. It would have been too painful and lonely to face alone. Her mother and siblings, including the younger brother who just got married today, all she is is this one thing.

They even made sure she was seated at the minister's table so she could be changed. The minister did have "the talk" with her and that was the catalyst to her leaving. She (the minister) could not seem to understand that this woman, raised in the church with a minister for a father, did have a grasp of the bible and theology. The offense was too much.

The path of deconstruction is a painful one for many. It is a lonely period. Sometimes there is anger, confusion, social alienation and even job loss or divorce.  You are re-calibrating your entire life and you are sometimes stuck in the middle . I have found many faith traditions and atheist communities to either being non sympathetic to the struggle or ill equipped to handle the very real struggle someone goes through in the in between space. Sometimes, it feels that they are so caught up in their agenda of like minded thought, that you are a pawn and a demographic as opposed to a human being in an intellectual and emotionally vulnerable space.

I went through the darkness of the night and into a new dawn in my life. In this new dawn I have been freed from the many of the ties that bind me, but I have not had much to do. A lot of what I have been doing is rebuilding my life and trying to rise rung by rung out of the hole of poverty that I am in. My self esteem is improved and my comfort level with self is improved.

As of today, Aug 31, 2015, a new project has launched that I have been working with some wonderful people in the last few months. It is called "Life After God". The web site for it is here. One common problem that I have wanted to avoid is the impulse to lead the charge. In my life I have been encountering many former ministers who are now post theists. So many of them want to start another group, start another blog, write another book. Not me. That blog is already out there. That book is written. That ego in me has died. I was looking for spaces to join and take part in. When I was a minister, avarice and wanting to lead every charge was problematic (as well as common in my former profession). I want to have a voice in the public square, but I feel I can do that more effectively as being part of a team doing good work.

Ryan Bell started his journey as a 7th Day Adventist minister who decided to live a Year Without God. I will be honest, when I first heard of him, I thought it was an egotistical stunt. I did not like a man I had not met and was very vocal about it on the internet. Then I met him online through a mutual friend and I got to know him. He is one of the most humble, kind and authentic people I have ever met.  As I watched him go through his process, I was impressed by his strength of character as interview after interview, celebrity encounter after celebrity encounter, he never changed. He never stopped being nice, he never put aside "normal people" to be a "star fucker".

Ryan and I were having a conversation one night through messenger and we had both agreed that he would very much like me to be on his team to forge this Life After God idea. I was proud to say yes. As we got deeper into the development it became clear that I was joining forces with not only him, but a man who has been a mentor and friend, Jeff Straka. Jeff was, like me, a facilitator for an Emergent Village Cohort. His still meets even though they are no longer connected to the EV. He is not only an activist for positive Atheism and Skeptical thought, but a well educated one. Then I learned the other person on this team. Gretta freaking Vosper! From the Life After God website, this is a little about Gretta.

"Gretta Vosper has been in the spotlight since founding the Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity in 2004. In addition to being the minister of the West Hill Church in the United Church of Canada, she is the author of two books. Her first book, With or Without God: Why the Way We Live is More Important that What We Believe (HarperCollins), quickly became a national bestseller. Met with both acclaim and vitriol by those inside and outside the church, With or Without God challenges the clergy’s silence on contemporary scholarship, arguing that people need to know the Bible is not the authoritative word of God for all time. Her second book, Amen; What Prayer Can Mean in a World Beyond Belief (HarperCollins), was published in April 2012.

Gretta serves on the Board of Directors of both the Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity and The Clergy Project. She holds a position as a member of the Board of Governors of Centennial College and is also a Director on the Board of the Ecumenical Community of Chautauqua, an organization that works to provide affordable accommodations at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York."
I am just a guy with an undergrad. I am not a theologian, a scientist, a philosopher. I am a man who can drive a cab well and has questionable grammar and prone to epic rants online. I feel like I am Han Solo and I have been invited to join the Jedi Council. What the hell do I know?

So what the fuck is this project and why do I believe in it?
Part of it is an opportunity for people to connect with Ryan. People who have been touched by his story. But it is so much more. It is there to help people in that in between space with coaching, small groups and resources. It also exists to aid organizations in similar wheelhouses to ours find their path and sustainability.
If I were to describe this further, all I would be doing is repeating the information on the website.

Peer support matters. Saying me too and being understood in dark and lonely spaces is comfort. In this space, there are some amazing people, and me. I hope we get to meet you and help you through the struggle.
There are many people out there who we have encountered that say they wish there was a group like ours when they went through their transition period. Part of my role as communication director will be to find those people. This is both easy and challenging. The easy part is this. Ryan and I were talking recently and we realized that there are NASA Scientists at fancy dinner parties and temp agency workers living in motels at the donuts shop in the same space philosophically and emotionally. They come in every demographic. I am up to the challenge because I feel this matters.
I need to state what this is not. We are not proselytizing for post theism. We are welcoming people to a space to speak aloud about the "forbidden" thoughts they are having without recrimination or recruitment. They no longer have to go through this process alone. Whatever conclusions they come to are theirs. We don't control or manipulate the dialogue, we help as needed and offer an oasis from the bullshit tug of war game that so many are caught in the middle of.
I know people. I know struggle. I know passion. I know loneliness. I know a good story and the importance of that story being validated.
And I cannot sell myself short. I was, in my life, the vice president of sales and marketing for two tech companies and I even ran my own successful consulting firm. I was also, on and off, in some form of vocational ministry for 15 years of my life. It is an honor to be part of this company.
Please, feel free to look at the web site. If you relate to the struggle, you do not have to be alone anymore, contact us.
One thing that I have tried to get across in my writings is that we are more alike than we are different and we need each other. We do not need institutions or governments or churches with a certain vibe, we need each other.

You will notice in short time a change in my demeanor online. When I first left my faith tradition, I was scared and I was angry. Scared to tell people who I was and angry (as well as hurt) for the lack of unconditional love and acceptance from so many in my world. This direction is something that needs as much positive energy as I can muster. I am not an anti-theist. That said, I will still challenge the institutions that threaten the rights of my glbt child and human rights in general. We may have to share the public square together, but that does not mean I have to accept harmful behavior. But for now, it is time to focus more on what I can do and be part of that is helpful and useful to others. I once heard Dr Maya Angelou speak on anger. She said, "You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it."

This is my dance and my march and I am doing it with good company.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Awkward Moments in the Darkness of the Past

One night I was sitting at the train station hoping for a flag. The night had been slow. A train came and I was attentive, out of my cab and making eye contact with every exiting passenger. No luck.

It was chilly so I got back in my taxi and put up my hoodie and was about to turn on the ignition and try my luck elsewhere when there was a tap a my passenger window. I cracked the window and I heard the man's voice ask, "Can you take me to Cottonwood Farms?"

"Hop in,"I said as I glanced over and recognized him.

He was one who years ago used to attend the youth outreach I ran as a pastor. It was not a youth group. It was more like what happens when a pizza party met group therapy. We had abuse victims, rape victims, addicts trying to recover and much more. Of all the things I did in my time as a minister, it was the thing I was most proud of. Every so often someone would violate that safe space. This young man was one of those. He had participated in a multiple party rape against a young girl in our group.

We had helped the young lady as best we could in getting her counseling and aid. The aid group we had a bridge with does pursue legal justice to a point. Because of the complexities of rape, they leave it in the hands of the victim as they have to go through a very broken justice system and relive the events with added victim shaming if they report and it goes to trial. The young lady backed out.

It was, however, within my rights, to make sure he never came back to a youth event again. I did just that.

He did not recognize me at first. He was making small talk and I was giving short answers as quietly as possible. Then came the moment of discovery.

"You sound familiar,  do I know you?" he asked.

"You do," and then I called him by name.

"Pastor Pat? Holy shit. What are you doing here?" he was confused.

"Working. I'm not a pastor anymore." I said.

"Wow. Well, this is pretty awkward, huh?" He asked with what sounded like a grin

"Yes it is," I admitted. "I think we should just finish this ride and go on with our lives."

"Are you kidding me?" He asked,"I'm going to enjoy this. You were so mighty and powerful. You had the power to keep me away from everyone and made sure no one came near me."

"No. Because there was no legal action taken, I had a private conversation with you and you alone. No one else other than one board member and a victims advocate as to how to handle this situation."

"You know, it's bullshit that a girl can dress however she wants and act however she wants and then change her mind." He said.

"We don't need to discuss this. You need to stop talking now." I said.

"Or what? You have no power. What are you gonna do? Ban me from the cab? Call a cop? The power has changed. One phone call and I can get you fired. Oh, this is great. I can't wait to tell everyone." He started laughing.

"A job is a job. I'm not afraid of anything you think you can do to me. I can get another job. Do whatever you feel you have to do."

"How is she? What is she doing in her life. She change her mind again and get 'raped'?"

"Don't do this."

The rest of the ride he kept at it and I decided to stop talking until we got to his destination.

"That will be ten, fifty,"I said.

"Here is fifteen. I will need exact change back."

"Here you are sir." I was near my edge. "Do you ever feel guilt for what you did to her?"


"Did she ever ask you or your friends to stop."

"Yeah. Bye." He was casual. He walked out of the cab.

"Car 22 to dispatch." I said into the radio.

"22 go" came back dispatch.

"I'll be 10-7 for a few minutes"

"10-4, let us know when you're back in your cab."

Friday, May 29, 2015

Heart and Soul With Only a Heartbeat

Sunday nights at the end of the month can be very slow in a taxi. You and every other taxi are out there fighting for the same scraps. Many drivers do not work on Sunday nights. I always did, though there was less to go around, there were also less drivers out there so it was a wash.

This Sunday was a particularly bitter cold Chicago February night. No one was out. It was after midnight. I drove by the train station since there was a train coming in. There were a total of 8 taxis from three different companies out there. I took one look at the line of taxis and kept moving on to the casino less than a mile away. 

There were two taxis from different companies in the valet area. I pulled up behind them and got prepped to wait. I was behind a cab driven by a guy named Orlando. He and I often battled for flags and I am ashamed to admit the little thief was damn good at it. He recognized me and turned his head around to smile, wave and flip me the bird. 

I got out of my taxi and opened the hood pretending to check my fluids quickly. I owed him one, so I bent down as if to tie my shoes and placed a bumper sticker on his taxi that said "Don't like my driving? Call 1-800-EAT-SHIT" on his bumper (It was a vinyl easy remove one, I am a bastard, but not a vandal). I kept it in my bag for the next time I saw him. I shut my hood and got back inside my warm taxi. 

About 20 minutes later we were still sitting there and behind me two of the taxis from the train station pulled in. Just past the lobby of the casino is a 24 hour Starbucks. I went inside to buy a quick cup of coffee. While in line a woman about my age with red hair smiled at me and said hi. I politely said hi back, paid for my coffee and went back to my taxi.

On my way back Orlando smiled and flipped me off again. I nodded, toasted him with my coffee and went back in my cab. 

I was about to turn on my radio and listen to the Sunday night jazz transfusion on my favorite station and I heard the music from the casino. In the valet area, the music playing in the casino is on loudspeakers outside as well. It was "Heart and Soul" by T'pau. It is one of my favorite songs to this day. I am a huge fan. Every cd released and even some demo cuts that came from a release that came with a documentary DVD are in my iPod classic.

Anyway, when I heard it coming through their sound system I rolled down my driver side window despite the cold and just lost myself in the song. Like any fool going back to their youth in a song I found myself singing along and emoting lacking only a hairbraush as a mic. I opted to keep a beat with my hands on the steering wheel instead. I was fully lost in the song when I heard a tapping at my window. I looked and it was the woman from the coffee line laughing. I rolled down the window and she said, "Can you take me home to Shorewood."

"Of course," I said as I unlocked the door and started the motor. As she got in she was singing along to the song as well and asked that we not move till the song was over. I rolled down her window and at the last bar of the song we were on our way. 

"Oh thank you," she said. "I just love that song. Been so long since I heard it, I wish I could hear it again." It was only then that I noticed her east end accent.

"Wanna hear it again?" I asked as I held up my ipod and plugged it into my dock.

"Yes! Brilliant!" She exclaimed.

I played the song for her and this time neither of us sang along, but there may have been some lip synch going on. After the song was over she told me something.

"I chose your taxi because you were having fun, so you must be my taxi."

"I am, in fact, your taxi for the next 6 miles!"

"So you like T'pau?" She asked. 

"I love them, but I also love music of all genres, but I have a soft spot for them."

"Me too," she said. "I was 14 when Bridge of Spies came out."

"You're a kid, my dear. I was 17."

"Now don't be cheeky." she grinned.

"Moi?" I said innocently.

"I permed my hair and dyed my hair red because of her." she said. 

"Well, looks like you are still rocking the ginger."

"Yeah, but now it is all about the straightener. I miss copious amounts of hairspray sometimes."

"Me too. So how long have you been in the states?"

"Since I was 20. I'm sort of a runaway rector's daughter."

"Ohhh. Here we call you a PK."

"Pastor's Kid, I know it." she said. "We still don't speak. He's conservative even for an Anglican. He would be right at home in some of the mega churches here, except for the music."

"I was in a conservative church in my teens." I said. "As a matter of fact, T'Pau was one of my secret cassettes. Secular music was the devil's music, so I had my private stash for my walkman." 

She laughed. "And now?"

"Well, I was a minister for a spell and then quit. This pays about the same and is more honest."

She laughed again. "So what does the off pitch lover of good music hack believe now."

"I don't." I said simply.

"You went atheist?" There was a long pause. "Good for you, mate! Me too!"

From that moment on the conversation deepened. She spoke about the abuse by her father. It was physical and emotional. She had to uphold an image in the public face and he was always pushing to make Bishop. She told me about the education in religious schools and though the science was better taught than parochial schools here, there was other indoctrination and she always lived under that shadow of being Father Michael's daughter. She told me how she once showed a teacher at the school the bruises on her torso and told her she could not take it anymore. The instructor told her simply to cover up and never speak of this again and think of her father's vocation. Then she closed with confessing that she never speaks about her atheism in the US. Everyone either looks at her like she eats babies, evangelize her or tell her that because her dad was cruel is not a reason to hate god.

"My father's abuse has nothing to do with my atheism. There not being a god is what that is about. My dad's abuse to me and my mum is why I hate the church. I hate the church, but I don't hate god. There would have to be something to hate. There isn't." She paused. "Patrick. have you noticed how amazing the stars are and sunrises are when you know why they really exist?"

"Yeah. I do."

We pulled up to her small townhouse and she paid me. 

"Patrick." She said."Do you have Only a Heartbeat on that iPod?"

"I do." 

"May I sit up front and listen to it?"

"Sure." She sat upfront and I played the song. I really like the song. You could tell, that for her, it took her someplace else. Perhaps it was a young lady leaving her country to start a new life. Maybe it was something else. I did not ask. I just sat in silence as the tears welled up in her eyes. 

When the song ended she grabbed my hand, kissed me on the cheek, looked at me for a moment, started to say something, stopped and left the cab to go inside.