Sometimes to teach brainstorming in a college composition class, I will ask students to make a list of what there is to do in Sacramento. After the initial complaints that there is nothing to do in this valley beyond shopping and eating and — homework, they begin to think of all of the activities related to our two rivers and climate. They begin to think of the attractions as a result of living in the California’s capital. Then, the museums, and the history.
This year marks the 175th anniversary of the establishment of Sutter’s Fort in what is now Sacramento.
Ambling through this stronghold, the size of a city block, we have the opportunity to peek into windows and doors to glimpse part of the pioneer experience.
At a wine pairing dinner, the couple to M’s left arrived in a taxi. Not knowing that there’d be more to the story, we commented that we were impressed by their planning and commitment to the evening’s beverages.
This chatty duo shared that, after a different dinner featuring a couple of cocktails and some wine, they passed through a DUI checkpoint, and ever since they take a cab. That wasn’t the real story though.
The real story was about their chauffeur who’d entertained them with his rapping and other extraordinary tales.
Thus, following the meal, we decided to wait outside the restaurant to steal a glance at their driver. He turned out to be more of a celebrity (and character) than our dinner companions suggested. He is Taxi Dave, of Tosh.O fame. He even was featured in a web redemption segment: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=taxi+dave+tosh.0.
Of course, we didn’t identify him as a star without his assistance. But, with Dave’s prompting, we realized that we were indeed familiar with his rapping talent.
And, there he was outside of the restaurant informing us of, among other things, the fact that he’s single.
As I am traveling, one of the ways I cope with culture shock is to make lists of experiences that I would never encounter in the US: entire pineapples hucked out to the crowd at a Guelaguetza show, a shopping cart with a bbq to heat bananas, wide-open holes on a busy sidewalk, or fireworks set off in the middle of a crowd.
When I return home, I can’t help but note things that are uniquely American: enormous plates of food (think turkey platters of jambalaya from Cheesecake Factory) and these sweet dogs suspended from their owners as babies.