Stepping into a service (cab) in Lebanon, you really don’t know what to expect. Will your ride be comfortably quiet? Will you make interesting conversation? Will some sort of argument ensue? Or will you fear for your life? More often than not, these cab rides are not super eventful. But we all know the following cab drivers that you don’t want to spend a 20 minute ride with.

1. Angry Guy

I can understand this guy. I would be him if I were a taxi driver. His job is to sit in the congestion that is Beirut all day and attempt to remain cool for days upon days. Still, it’s sometimes jarring (and impressive) to hear some of the colorful forms of insults and swears that can come from this man’s mouth. It is sometimes a form of poetry. But it sometime sounds like the prelude to a murder scene.

2. Political Analyst Guy

Alright, everyone’s got a political opinion. But you’re going to either have to start nod your head, closing your eyes thoughtfully, letting him know you understand his impassioned diatribe. Or you’re going to offer an alternative opinion. This could end very amiably, both of you agreeing to go your own ways, wishing each other the best in life at the end of the ride. Or it could…not. Venture at your own risk.

3. Inappropriately “Friendly” Guy

Hey man, he just wants to invite you over for some fattoush. Maybe he just wants to grab your number in case you need another ride some time. Or on one lovely occasion, maybe he is inviting you over to take a shower. In these cases, the best strategy is to exit the cab immediately. Always try and leave a window open to have some contact with the outside world if shit gets weird. If he invites you for fattoush, politely declining is probably safe. If he invites you for a shower, it’s time to evaluate an exit plan.

4. The Guy Who Tries to Rip You Off

You give him your destination. “My pleasure!” he responds, building trust between the two of you. Then he starts taking random-ass turns. You both know he is ripping you off. After a while, you decide to get out, and he acts as if this was the plan all along. “Ma ana 3arfik biddik tinzale hon, ana 3arif.”

5. The Smoker

Even if you smoke yourself, it’s nasty to sit in a cab that is pulsating with the smell of smoke. I get it, it’s a habit of boredom, and it helps them deal with driving in Lebanon all day. But many a time, this driver lights a cigarette first, then asks you if you mind if he smokes. It’s especially unappealing in the hot summer weather, leaving you feeling like you smell like a cigarette when you arrive at your destination.

And the one you do want to cab with:

6. The Really Happy Guy

Somehow, this man has retained his joyful outlook on life. He is a treat. I once got in a cab with a very old man who, upon first look, I had judged to be conservative and grumpy. He then lit up 30 seconds into the ride, turned around, and told me how much he loves to drive people from club to club, dancing with them to the “boom boom pow.” When he said “boom boom pow,” he punched his fists in the air. This guy was cool. This guy was hip. I only hope you manage to grab a ride with him once in your life too.


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