Friday, February 15, 2008

Joba Style

Moussa fills up the 2 train. He is a big man with an even bigger smile and an enormous laugh.

“Some people are afraid of my size,” he explains. “But I let them know that I’m a jolly giant.”

Moussa laughs as he plays a giant by lifting his feet and swinging his arms.

His brother helped him get a job driving a taxi when he arrived from Mali about nine months ago.

“The work is good,” Moussa says. “I meet people and learn about New York. The first guy to ride with me wanted to talk about: Yankees, Yankees, Yankees. I had just arrived from Africa and I didn’t know anything, but I learned fast.”

He now wears a Yankee hat and a Yankee jacket and even Yankee mittens.

“I’m a Yankee down to my underwear,” he says with a laugh. “People get in my cab and say something like: ‘Nice hat.’ Then we start talking about the team. I read the newspapers everyday so I have the scoop.

“It’s been fun to learn about baseball,” Moussa continues. “Now it feels like I have known the game my whole life. I bought a ball and glove and I toss it around with my brother and some other guys.

“I would have been a pitcher if I’d grown up in New York,” he goes on. “I think I would have been like Joba.”

He does a Joba-style fist pump and laughs.

“I really love that kid,” Moussa says. “He lights it up, but I would throw harder.”

He winks and smiles and his laugh roars through the train.


JoeyBoy said...

Yeah, man. Joba Style!

Pete said...

If I ever have to ride in a cab I hope I get this guy as my driver.

michael o. allen said...

I, too, like Moussa.

Another thing about baseball, besides its timelessness, beauty and poetry, is how it seeps into you without your knowing it.

I was Moussa. I made the same journey he did. My father was the one who drove the cab, in Chicago. He would have killed me if I drove a cab. He wanted me to go to college so I could get better jobs than he did.

If I'd played baseball, I would have been a scrappy (rhymes with crappy) infielder.