Saturday, December 13, 2008

I don't offer too many free rides

It was a New Years Eve, or day actually since it was around 2:00 am. I'd dropped a fare out around Williamsburg and Prairie, and was heading back down town. There was about 4" of fresh snow on the ground, and there were no tire tracks in the snow ahead of me.

I was on Raymond rd. which is a boulevard, and coming toward me was a car going the wrong way on my side of the road. What I normally do when facing a car coming toward me on a one way street is crowd the left side of the street. This has always worked well, the on coming car always gets the idea right away, and corrects, you're welcome who ever you are. Well, it didn't work this time.

The on coming car climbed over the curb and wasn't going to stop or hit the trees in the median, so I gave just enough room for it to get past. As it passed, it's outside mirror ticked my outside mirror. I couldn't believe it! So, I turned around at the next gap in the median and followed. The car turned south on Prairie, and I passed it and started slowing down in front of it. What was going on was obvious, the lady driving that car was pretty drunk. I cornered her in the first cul de sac she came to, which she turned into to avoid stopping.

I got out of the cab and went over to her window. I motioned her to roll the window down. When she rolled the window down a couple of inches, I said "You're drunk. You can't drive like this. I will give you a free ride home and you can get your car tomorrow. Give me your keys and let me drive you home, otherwise I will be forced to have you arrested for drunk driving."

She said she couldn't do that. I said she had to, otherwise she'd go to jail. She said she couldn't do it. This went back and forth for about 4 rounds, so I said, "Last chance, you will go to jail, you're sure you want to do that?"

Then I went over to the cab, keyed the mike and said I needed the cops for a drunk driver who sideswiped the cab. The cops got there pretty quick. She'd left a little rub of yellow paint on the underside of the mirror housing, which was all the cops needed to charge her with fleeing the scene of an accident, in addition to drunk driving.

My actions may seem kind of harsh, but I work out there. Some day a drunk driver may kill me. I did offer her a free ride home. It wasn't free for me either. In addition to sacrificing an hour of very prime time, I have an accident noted on my driving abstract that night. I'd do it again too.

My favorite horse thief

My all time favorite horse thief was Finnigan. Most drivers hated him, but I liked him, he was a funny guy. He mostly worked the airport, and he'd try to load up as heavy as possible every time he was there. Thing was, if you were on good terms with him, he'd share pretty even. Since most people didn't like him, he'd load up multiple fares right in front of them, and just ignore the screaming. Or he'd look inside, then pull around to the end of the line and let the other couple of cabs in the cab stand get the first no luggage people, then he'd load up as the only cab in the place. The almighty liked him too, he died of a heart attack, suddenly, a clean death.

I'd great him by saying, "How's my favorite horse thief today?"

With a wistful look on his face, and tone of voice he'd reply, "You know, they've been scarce lately." The best Finnigan memory of all was his description of picking up a dozen scientists at the physical science lab in Stoughton, and charging each one of them full meter fare, taking them to the airport. When he finished the story he said, "Them Canadians tip good too."
There are other horse thieves, of course.

Who is my favorite horse thief these days? It's close between Blondie and Charlie, they'd both rob you blind in a heartbeat, and I like both of them.

Friday, December 12, 2008

El Dougaie's favorite R.C. story

A long time ago, perhaps 20 years ago, I was in the drivers room at the old old office doing my envelope, and El Dougaie asked me for the key. Oh, yeah, sure, but hey wait a minute, I got to get something out of the trunk. I always forget stuff in the trunk, to this day I do.

So we go out in the lot, start the engine, press the button that pops the trunk, and I reach in and pull out a dead grey squirrel. "Dinner", I said.

The Brick was standing a few feet away with his mouth hanging open. El Dougaie said, "Aw look, it's even got a nut in it's mouth."

I looked at the dead squirrel a little closer and said, "No, that's not a nut. That is a piece of a snickers bar."

I handed El Dougaie the key and tossed dinner on the seat of my pickup. Then The Brick came over and started telling me that I couldn't eat that squirrel, it could have who knows what diseases and parasites and cooties in general. I looked at him like he was teatched, there wasn't anything wrong with the squirrel, which I intended broiling, except it would be a little messy to dress out, it was even fall, right time of year. That squirrel wasn't even stiff when I picked it up, it was very fresh. So I told him he was out of his mind, and went back into the drivers room to finish my envelope.

This incident had tremendous impact on both of them. The Brick never let it go because I could die from doing stuff like this, and he had a PhD in some biology discipline so he knew all about those microbial cooties. El Dougaie always chuckles when he tells the story, and he still tells it. "No", he'll say, "that's not a nut, that's a piece of a snickers bar." heh heh heh

Which reminds me, when I get this cast off, I think I'm going to get the game warden to tag me a deer that has died of highway disease. Going deer hunting is way too much work, and a venison rib roast sounds pretty tasty. Free for the taking here, all you have to do is call the sheriff's office, get a list to look at, drive around and find one that isn't too tore up. Then you get it tagged, take it home and cut it up and wrap it. Bingo, full freezer and the dog loves it as much as I do.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm reading HACK

Nice kid. So far she kind of reminds me of a couple of drivers I've known from the past, and no not one of The Wood Brothers, nor Gwench, nor The Wombat, nor Wicked Wanda. Actually I think she most reminds me of Tiberious, Roy Boy's boy, and in an odd way Lucky Pierre now that I think of him.

This is not to say that she comes off as being excessively masculine. She isn't.

I used to tease Tiberious by saying to him, "Who the HELL, wants a good boy anyway?"

Tiberious would always reply, "My parents were blessed with one." Which was true, he was the ultimate good kid, good manners, good student, nice guy. He's a lot like his dad. Now what ever possessed Roy to let his son drive a cab at night? You can get killed or maimed, it's not something I'd recommend to a friend. Perhaps I'm overly sensitive, I only ever suggested to one friend that driving a cab was a cool job. My best friend got murdered by a passenger in April of '92, less than a year later. Tiberious, has a good job these days, and a nice family, in addition to being a good boy, he's been lucky in life.

I wonder what ever happened to Lucky. He used to come down to the office and sit around the dispatch office, any evening he wasn't working. Of all the drivers I've ever met who loved everything taxicab, Lucky loved it the most. If memory serves, he got washed out when he lost his driver's license. The way that happened was he got a speeding ticket which isn't that big a deal, then he got a silly ticket which I don't recall the specifics of, then finally he got a ticket on his moped for riding it on a lettered county highway, poof 90 day suspension. It was Lucky who told me that The Hog turned to him one night and said, "R. C.'s a real cream puffer." The highest praise of driving ability I've ever gotten.

The Wood Brothers were also called The Woods of the 90's. Husband and wife, I think they drove 191 & 192 five nights a week from 10:00 pm. to 6:00 am. when I started. I'm pretty sure he's dead, I don't recall what became of her. I wonder if she kept his glass eye as a keepsake.

The Wombat and Qwench will get their own posts.

Monday, December 8, 2008

a royal purple cast

saw the hand specialist today. he thinks i broke a couple wrist bones, but it won't show up in an xray for a couple of weeks, so i have to go back just before x-mas for reexamination. talked to the cab company's insurance adjuster, she's right on everything, woo hooo.

fast eddie took the knuckle heads (his dogs, gus & sam) and gromit to the dog park, and reminded me of "paper", while we chatted when he picked up gromit. one of the bad things about being a 20 year driver is losing friends. i think pat powers was the first one to go, he might have out lived jim englekey, but it was back in that period of time. powers was a day driver back when i started, he drove 162, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm, m - f, and did a little part time dispatching, averaged 1 shift a week, weekend evenings. one night he had a splitting head ache, went to the VA hospital, and was dead the next day. god must have liked him as much as we did. anyway......................... about paper

if you ran out of money at the drivers poker game, it was acceptable to write say, "fast eddie owes $20.00" on a piece of paper, toss it in the pot, and take out twenty bucks to continue playing with. since anybody who needs to do this is probably a deadbeat, paper was hard to collect on. powers was always willing buy paper for 50% of face value. then he'd wait for an opportunity to dispatch when somebody who owed him money was driving. if a good shift was worth $100.00, and driver x owed him $25.00, he'd make it clear to the driver that he'd make at least $125.00, but powers got the first $25.00 right away. then powers would stuff the guy calls for his entire dispatching shift.

the other thing i recall about powers was the concensous opinion that if you were going to get in a bar fight, and you could only take one friend along with, powers was the guy you wanted to be out drinking with. his watering hole was the psha, which was the perfered watering hole for all the ball players. i never got invited to play ball.

is the fix still in? the more it changes, the more it stays the same, they say. Sandy Van Scycle once wryly made the observation that, "every body is doing something all of the time."

this has caused me to recall knutson, and yard runs, and my $3 bike, but those are to be seperate posts

powers had a real deep voice, i will never forget the voice or the man.