Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Perfesser Neilboy and the good old days....

Back when I started driving, there was no drunk bus. Drunk bus? Yeah. At bar time, we'd load up and haul students to the lakeshore dorms by the carload, and it was profitable. Then along came Donna Shalala who created the drunk bus. Most people in the university didn't care for her, and I can assure you the cab drivers didn't. She said that it was too dangerous for the students to find their own way home from the State st., Langdon area at bar time (I mean after all, they might step in a puddle of vomit and twist their ankle, right?), so the university had an obligation to provide bus service to the lakeshore dorms. And poof, just like that, every night driver made $50-$100 less on Friday and Saturday nights. The loss of revenue was a seven day a week thing, but on the other nights of the week it was less money.

As it stands, and has stood for a long time, if you can stumble on to a bus, the bus is free, and it will take you to the lakeshore dorms. They also have a program called Saferide, which they can use twice a month, which is basically a free cab ride, paid for by the university. Thank god we don't do those rides, I really can't stomach listening to a kid mouthing the lies about it being dangerous to walk around downtown. Send your kid here, if they don't know how to lie, we'll teach them. Where was I............., oh yeah, Neil.

Neil is called Perfesser Neilboy because he finally fucked up and graduated. Making him a PhD. He was a grad student when I started driving, which is an honorable excuse to be a cab driver. I've always liked the guy, really have, one of my favorite family members. He's really a bright fellow. Grey now, from NYC I believe, perhaps even Brooklyn, and when he talks, I'm reminded of an old TV show and a character called Gunther Tutti accent wise. He left Badger over a snit about a special needs passenger, and now drives a cab painted yellow. He claims it's the best thing that ever happened to him, and he's right. He's called Neilboy because he used to call Louie, John Boy. Louie was a nickname of a dispatcher who long ago left the business to become a realtor. His first name was John, hence John Boy. Neil was the only person who called him that. John Boy was the dispatching on my first ever day shift during the week, back when I didn't have a handle on bidding properly.

I remember it well...... I was about Park and Emerald, and some micky mouse little call popped like 600 W. Main to the square. I was on my way to the office to check in, which would have made it around 9:15 am. At 9:15 am on a Monday, that call is VERY hard to move. I, innocent that I was, simply wanted the last $1.50 of the morning (that was the fare in those days). So I started trying to bid for it. Every time I bid, Louie would answer, "Six Oh that isn't how we bid for that." So I'd try something else. When I got to Five Points (Park and W. Washington), I gave up and drove past the call back to 12 (the old old office). When I walked into the office to check in, Roy Boy was waiting and he apologised for Louie. I recall telling him I could make money in spite of Louie. He didn't need to apologize to me, it was the customer he needed to apologize to. The customer didn't get a ride. Was I bidding for it wrong? Sure, it was my second or third ever shift, but is that a good excuse to deny service to a customer? Louie was a jerk, and the tradition of jerks answering the phone and dispatching continues to this day, people complain to drivers about it all the time.

Neilboys latest sin was showing off a photo copy of a ticket Roy Boy got in Fondy not long ago. He was down at the green and white drinking, and he showed this photo copy to Ham Dinger and Dickdro. Dickdro went balistic, but he's that way, the ultimate company man, his license plate is a vanity plate that is KSA-768. Neilboys joke was that Roy Boy ought to pay $2.00/shift he works penalty for having that ticket. If we get a ticket our checkin goes up supposedly to cover the increased insurance costs.

To this day, I'd like to see Louie behind the barn, with a release saying that I couldn't be held responsible criminally or financially for the results.

My favorite thought about Neilboy is a ride I was doing short east at bar time one cold winter night. I had 3 guys in the back seat and I was passing him on Johnson st., just a little before Tenny Park. I pointed at the other red and white cab and said, "That's Perfesser Neilboy gentlemen, you may moon him if you wish." About 30 seconds later the kid immediately behind me shuddered out, "God damn, that glass is cold!!" And no, I did not take time out to wash the window.

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