A cabbie in Monte Carlo
It’s 7:15am and I’m in the back of a Mercedes in Monte Carlo. I’ve been on no sleep for as long as I can rightly remember. My bags are in the trunk, my seatbelt is on, and my sunglasses are deflecting the first real sun I’ve seen in days. I’m not one to start conversations with taxi drivers unless I’ve had a few drinks. This time, for reasons I don’t even fully understand, I decide to.
“When’s the Grand Prix?” I said. The cab driver tells me, takes a hairpin turn, and starts heading for the highway to Nice.
“Hard to drive here then?” I ask.
“Not bad at night,” the cab driver says in a French-accented English. “During the day, impossible.”
It seems like we’re going too many kilometers per hour, but I don’t mind. Make like the Grand Prix and get me out as fast as you can, man.
The conversation winds like the road, from fuel prices, to poker, to how much money a person has to have before Monte Carlo will grant citizenship (note: I’m not going to make the cut).
I’ve found in my travels that folks from other countries are as interested in the upcoming election as we are. In fact, a great many of them–this cabbie included–are more knowledgable about the candidates than many American voters. The driver asks me who I like. Noting that we only have fifteen minutes left in the ride, I am hesitant to get in a debate.
“You tell me who you like first,” I say.
“I think,” he says, obviously measuring his words, “we need to take a chance on Obama.”
There begins one of the most thoughtful and informed bits of reasoning on American politics you will hear outside of the Beltway. The driver’s actual argument is one you’ve heard before and doesn’t need repeating. What’s remarkable is the man’s grasp on the realities of American politics and their effect on the world at large.
In the American bubble, it’s pretty easy for all of us to think this election is all about us, about how we fight, how we defend, and how we live our lives. It’s also pretty easy for us to forget that our votes are the butterly wing-flaps that can change the lives of people like my Monte Carlo cabbie.
He cares, and probably more than a lot of people I know. That’s as hard to wrap my head around now than it was when I was sleepless half a world away.
Update–My buddy G-Rob just sent me this shocker.
Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early