Bob Makela is one of the most interesting people we’ve ever met. To sit down with him even just for half an hour is to be immersed in a never-ending stream of incredible stories and experiences that he has had in his life. He is an accomplished writer with a rich history, initially embarking on his writing career while getting a degree in English Literature at UCLA.
Bob has been hired to write screenplays, magazine articles, sitcom scripts, a Hollywood gossip column, internet shows, newspaper columns, blog postings, and even a memoir about barhopping around America for 100 days in his VW bus. In 2006 he published his first book, “Poetry For People Who Don’t Read Poetry.” More recently he published a book titled “Barstool Poetry (The Early Years: 1992-2000),” an anthology of more than 150 poems written on cocktail napkins at various bars.
He’s also been paid to do interviews with the likes of Keanu Reeves, Mark Wahlberg and Hugh Laurie, document a tour with Tom Jones, and get drunk with Elle Macpherson. And that barely scratches the surface of his writing experience.
“I haven’t written any greeting cards, fortune cookies or porn movies, but I’ve done just about everything else,” says Makela.
For the past couple of years Bob has also spent time living in Austin. He had originally moved here to work on a documentary about Janis Joplin, but when the project stalled he decided to make some cash by driving a cab. This has led to even more interesting stories. For example, here’s an excerpt from Bob’s Best & Worst Cab Moments of 2012:
- Worst Excuse For a Classy Blonde: The coked out – or was it just the West 6th Street vodka? – marketing girl in her late 30s who thought it’d be funny to bitch slap the mini disco ball hanging from my rearview mirror. Knocked it right off. Yeah, that’s hilarious, girl. That disco ball was never the same and soon fell apart. If you know where I can find a replacement, I’m all ears. That’s right, I loved that baby disco ball. When the sun hit it just right, that thing threw off a thousand tiny lights dancing across my taxi. Besides, a disco ball in the cab is usually good for a few extra happy points.
- Worst Memory of the Year: Watching a flat-on-her-back drunk sorority girl getting run over by a car a few months ago. When I pulled up to the corner of 8th and Trinity about 13 minutes after the bars had closed, I noticed the rear tires of a Camry-sized car running over a pair of legs and a torso like they were human speed bumps. Within seconds the car was pulled over, a cop was hovering over the girl – so fast that my initial reaction was, “Holy shit, a cop ran that girl over!” – and maybe a half dozen of us were frozen in horror, wondering if the girl in her Thursday night party dress was dead or dying.
- Best Happy Ending to a Nightmare: Several weeks later one of my semi-regulars, an Austin-raised UT coed we’ll call Lynn, told me the girl who got run over that night was a fellow Pi Phi – and she was somehow alright! “I think she might have had some bruised or broken ribs, I’m not sure,” Lynn told me. “I know she was real sore.” I was relieved to hear she had survived unscathed. But the memory of seeing the wheels roll over that girl’s body haunted me for days.
Bob has been generous enough to start sharing some of these stories right here on the Do512 Blog, a series we’re calling Confessions of an Austin Cabbie.
“I didn’t go to college to be a cab driver, but this is where I am and I’m going to make the best of it, enjoy it, and write about it,” says Makela.
“I’m really looking forward to having an outlet and an audience to interact with and share some of the things I’ve seen and done, and hear what other people have to say about it,” says Makela.
You can pick up Bob’s Barstool Poetry book at BarstoolPoetry.com. And check back here often to read more Confessions of an Austin Cabbie. If you want to hop in Bob’s cab to share a story, give him a call at 310-999-8987.
For another interesting read, check out Bob’s story about his first night in Austin.
(Special thanks to photographer Jared Tennant at JTpics.com for taking the pics of Bob on his cab.)