Saturday, June 16, 2012

Conversation with a taxi-driver in Austin

We had about two hours before our next appointment. My plan was simple, take a taxi and go to Book People, an independent bookstore in Austin, the capital of Texas. I didn't have time to go to a bookstore in DC and I've read about Book People. 

At Book People, I bought books and a magazine, had a quick bite with a friend and we rushed out of Book People to make back on time. Yes, there was a small digression when my eyes fell on Anthropologie. We stopped there for 5 minutes and then crossed the street to find a taxi.

We waited for about ten minutes before a taxi van finally came our way. We were running late and thanked him for being at the right place at the right time.

Since I'm in the US as part of a pre-election reporting tour on youth and politics, I began talking to him about politics.

The taxi driver was in his early 30s and the first thing you notice about him are the tattoos. His hair is shaved and there is a big tattoo on his head. His arms swell are covered with tatoos. 

This is a rebel, I thought…

Are you following the elections? I asked and indicated that he is listening to a radio show discussing the elections.

"I am not…….  I'm an anarchist, I don't believe in governments. I don't like authority," he said.

I've read about anarchism recently out of interest, but I've never met an anarchist. I became even more interested and asked about his political color or leaning.

He identified as a libertarian, but in the elections, he leans towards the democratic party.

Part of him saw the Republican party as the 1%. 

"If you are the 1% , you are in your yacht, eating fancy food and you don't want to help the people starving on the streets, I think of you as a punk," he told me.

The taxi-driver was a Texan. He grew up in what he called the "Hilly-Billy" areas,  a little town a few hours away from Austin. He grew up in a conservative town where religion was a big part of life.

Ever since he was old enough to make decisions, he began distancing himself from that lifestyle.

"I'm a vegan now, I do not hunt and I don't like people using religion to tell me what to do," he told me.

Just before he dropped us off, he told me that he will vote this year….for the first time in his life.

To read my conversations with taxi/amjad drivers in Sudan..go to:

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