Randa Jarrar, who was in town for Book Expo last week, recalls a cab ride to Union Square:
CAB-DRIVER: …This thing has been crazy, I been pickin up people all weekend, I’ve had publishers and agents in my car.
ME: I bet.
CAB-DRIVER: That guy that just got out was a publisher.
ME: I should have begged him to publish my book.
CAB-DRIVER: Oh, you ain’t published?
ME: No. I mean, not yet.
CAB-DRIVER: Yeah, I hear it’s tough.
(Silence for several minutes.)
CAB-DRIVER: What kinda writing do you do?
CAB-DRIVER: What kinda fiction?
ME: I wrote a novel about a crazy family.
CAB-DRIVER: All families are crazy, right?
CAB-DRIVER: Where you from?
(Voice over: I was reminded of my dad, who told cab drivers he was “Jordanian” instead of Palestinian.)
ME: I’m Arab American.
(Cab driver turns around and looks at me)
CAB-DRIVER: You don’t look Arab.
ME: I was just at an Arab American writers conference, and a lot of chicks looked like me.
CAB-DRIVER: Yeah? (he cranes his neck again, this time looks at my boobs.)