Cultured | Hackie | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!


Published October 9, 2007 at 11:23 p.m.

There is a customer, Luana, I drive once a year back and forth, that is, to and from Trudeau Airport on her yearly visit to her Swiss home of birth. The airport was called Dorval until a couple years ago, and they haven't changed all the road signs. The important thing is to not mistake it for Mirabel Airport which is many miles north of Montreal, tres many miles. I don't know much French, but enough to understand the road signs, thank goodness.

I drove Luana, a retired woman, a couple days ago. I genuinely enjoy her company. She's cultured, and she sits next to me in the front seat and we discuss culture. Among other areas, this includes classical music, fine art, jazz and opera. I feel tres ignorant during these conversations, but I do know just enough to keep up my end of things.

Luana is not a dilettante. That is to say, she enjoys the arts with gusto, and not as an affectation. She's very opinionated, but is always clear that her opinions are merely her opinions. That is the difference that makes all the difference, isn't it?

As one example of her zesty tastes, she loves Placido Domingo but abhors the late Luciano Pavarotti, from his high C's down to his flashy, pocket handkerchiefs. She was able to articulate the differences in the very divergent musical approaches taken by the two tenors, and I got it. I had thought every opera aficionado worshipped Pavarotti, so that was news.

But the point is, how refreshing to discuss Vivaldi rather than the Rolling Stones, or Manet instead of "Grey's Anatomy." At least, for one two-hour drive. (Three if you include the border crossing.)

When we reached Trudeau Airport, I pulled the cab to a stop at the KLM departure doors. I helped her unload, she gave me a white envelope with the fare and we kissed on both cheeks. I felt so very European. Tres European.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Jernigan Pontiac

Jernigan Pontiac

Jernigan Pontiac was a Burlington cab driver whose biweekly "Hackie" column appeared in Seven Days 2000-20. He has published two book-length collections, Hackie: Cab Driving and Life, and Hackie 2: Perfect Autumn.


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Hackie

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation