I thanked my driver for finding me. There was another woman in the same parking lot, standing under a tree and talking on speaker phone. He stopped to check with her first to see if she was his fare even though I waved, but he was very polite and wanted to make sure he wasn’t missing someone.

I found out my driver was originally from New York (born in Brooklyn) but moved here the year before I did. He used to work for Amtrak, working on the rail lines in charge of the rails and switching the tracks. Then he worked for Nabisco and working with stores and their displays for the brand. He said it was funny where life takes you; there’s no way to predict where you will end up, because he never would have imagined he would have stopped working for Amtrak and he would have been living in the desert.

My driver and his wife like to take vacations when they are able, especially to Florida and down into the Keys.[Side note: New Yorkers and people from Cincinnati cannot resist the draw of Florida. It’s as if no other states exist when it comes to vacation.] He told me their vacations relied entirely upon whether his wife could take time off. She works for a very wealthy guy who owns a car dealership. That guy buys fleets of cars after they have been driven for a high number of miles, i.e. business cars like what my driver would have had for his Nabisco job. But that guy is also getting away from cars and transitioning to real estate. This doesn’t surprise me one bit, because if there is any kind of industry in Arizona, it’s real estate. It’s unique here, but it’s also created somewhat of a false market that makes it more difficult for private homeowners. It has been this way for decades. Other parts of the U.S. are now adopting some of the practices and making the market more unstable. Cash deals and flipping properties drive up prices, no matter if it’s commercial or private real estate. My driver said that it’s proving to be a very profitable venture for his wife’s boss and it’s keeping all of them busy. The boss is happy to not deal so much with the cars.

My driver said that his twin “boys” (age 27) have been in the Marines, and he and his wife have made it a practice to schedule their vacations around their boys’ leave for the past 8 years. They would often end up in California or South Carolina for short stints. But the boys’ time in the Marines is now coming to a close, and they have decided they want to be underwater commercial welders. My driver said that they are currently in a very dangerous situation (they tend to do things in tandem), and they want to do a very dangerous job as civilians. As luck would have it, I actually used to be friends with a guy who was into diving and I was helping him research schools so he could do that very job, so I knew a fair amount. My driver didn’t have to explain anything to me. My driver and I talked about where his sons would end up, with 90% of the jobs putting them somewhere in the Gulf Coast on an oil rig. The pay is great. The safety rate isn’t so much so. Send a good bubble of thought up into the universe for them.