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I'd say that you'd be right to be mad if you were a customer --- but he was addressing you in is role as another person, who happened to be driving a cab, requesting information from you: as such, his form of address seems fine, Mac.


Sounds like a particularly New England sensitivity to me there, bub -- out here west of the Mississippi 'sir' is a neutral way to address strangers and police officers.. but mostly we'd use "Excuse me" without any honorific at all.

We dont use Mister for any spoken address, ever, outside of a stage production of something pre 1950s.


Out here it would be "Hey, brah, my gas cover stay on this side?"


Makes you sound like an asshole, Sir!

Mark P

A good friend was in the Army, and as a result of that and his natural politeness, he calls virtually everyone sir or ma'am. Of course, he is from the South, but that doesn't mean as much in this context as it used to.

As for the reverse question -- what to call the cabbie: Some twenty years ago I was at a professional convention in Chicago. It was raining, and I caught a cab from the Shedd Aquarium back to the convention hotel. After a couple of blocks, it was clear that this cabbie had his own cosmology: There was that certain number of cubic feet inside the cab occupied by him and his passenger, and there was the rest of the universe, which could get bent if it got between his passenger and the destination. He wasn't crazy; I never once feared for my safety; I just feared for the rest of creation if it got on his bad side in the next fifteen blocks. By the time he dropped me off, I thought that being a Chicago cabbie was the greatest job in the world. If I'd called him anything, I'd've called him "O Captain, My Captain."

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