Saturday, January 2, 2010

There ought to be a law

There ought to be a law prohibiting passengers from using cell phones. There is a law prohibiting smoking, so don't say such a law is impossible.

2 consecutive passengers:

First one gets in and insists on sitting behind me, and demands I close window. It's cracked 1/2". So she gets on her cell phone and calls the company and tells them I won't roll up the window, she's cold, she doesn't want to move to the passenger side, and they need to make me roll up the window. Screech!!! Now there are almost tears in her voice, she's telling the phone guy she thinks I'm going to kick her out of the cab. Under different circumstances perhaps, but it's very cold, I just take her back to where she came from and tell her she can get a cab driver she likes. I tell the dispatcher that no matter what the issue, if a passenger calls the company to complain or demand they get their way about something, they're out of the cab, PERIOD.

Next passenger can't talk, she has a lisp. She holds out the cell phone like it's a loudspeaker, I can't hear it right. So, she wants me to talk to some guy on it, and it's like a cherry bomb went off next to my ear. Then she claims it's not her fault, it's the phones fault.

Bottom line, I will never put a passengers cell phone up to my ear again.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What a zoo

I worked a 5-5 last night instead of the usual 3-3. It wasn't a great night, for a New Years Eve, it was only ok.

The overhead was way to massive however. I severely injured my thumb. Now it's actually hard to turn the ignition key. The x-rays say nothings broken, hand specialist will look at in a week.

Last night was the first time anyone ever said, "You're Real Cab Driver?" Someone who'd read this blog without me telling them about it, in my cab!!!!!!!

Around 3:30 this smart ass bartender got out of the cab and refused to pay. He shoved me a couple of times, and walked away laughing. His girlfriend wasn't too happy, she wanted to know why he did such things so frequently, I didn't hear the answer. I called the cops, and the officer told me he'd write the guy for disorderly, a $400 ticket. He could do this because while I was talking to the officer the guy called the cops to complain that I was trying to get in his apartment building. I think that lie was enough for the officer all by itself.

New Years Eve with a full moon, how could anyone expect less.

I had a banker in the cab who said he thinks the economy will do a lot better this year. He said that availability of funds to loan was good. Da wha........ I play the stock market too. One of the biggest variables in banking is how much money they can get their hands on to loan. If money available to loan dries up, your credit score isn't important, there's no water in the well. My biggest winner in 2009 has the stock symbol GFRE, which prompts me to share the story of Dow Chemical. GFRE is a company in China that produces specialty chemicals. Dow was founded by a guy who went prospecting for underground salt water when he

In general it took a lot out of me. I guess I must be getting old.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

In 30 minutes I will take off for work. I wish every night of the year could be as good as New Years Eve. It's like shooting fish in a barrel as they say. The essence of making money in a cab is to keep it full. Tonight mine will be full for 12 hours straight, and only if I take a break to eat or something like that, will it not be full.

I've written 2 chapters of the book now. I sent both of them to a friend in Canada named Laurie. She claims the first one is a good read. I submitted an excerpt from the second chapter to a first page contest at a web site called webook, I'll let you all know how it turns out, I think I just flushed 10 bucks but who knows.... They say they guarantee that an agent will read it. Agents are out to make a buck. I was VERY careful to make it a good read, and Laurie has said that many of my adventures are good stories.

I chose the first New Years story, for those of you who haven't read that post, that would have been 3:15 am, 1/1/89. Imagine 12 guys in tuxedos rolling around in the snow fighting, in the middle of the street, in front of a serious dive of a bar. What's that Italian guy's name, Felini? I've always said driving New Years Eve in Party City is a lot like watching a Felini movie.

Anybody who wants to review what I'm at this point calling Chapter 2, if you leave me an email, I'll send you a copy. I ask the following in return. Give me an HONEST critical opinion. If you like it cool, but even if you do, please, please, please, help me make it something that will hook a publisher. If you think it's merde (thats french for shit, excuse my french, get it?), tell me it's merde, and if you're really kind tell me what's wrong with it.

When I was a kid, my mother used to tell me I should write books. I knew even then that she didn't like me, and it pretty much took her death last year to actually prove it beyond any doubt, but I knew it back then. If she told me I should write a book, to me it meant I would be terrible at it. But she was judging what was coming out of my mouth. She was listening to the story.

An actor who got a fairly long ride the other day was a real good audience, and liked some of my stories. He said it was all about the story. How true is that? Well, I was told in Comparative Literature that there are only 7 (if memory serves) fundamental stories. The most recent is the sidekick template, and all the sidekick stories are knockoffs of the same template.

That makes Car 54 Where Are You, and The Hobbit variants of the same story, right? What makes the story then, is how it's told. Life is strange, the world is strange, and maybe I do have chance. Maybe my mother was telling the truth, which she actually did on rare occasions. For the record my mother loved my brother, was indifferent about my sister, and seriously didn't care about me. Anybody wants to know, I'll share the reasoning behind all that. I've compared notes with my dad's older sister, and it's how it is (was, my mom and dad are both dead).

10 minutes to get dressed, let the dog out, feed the dog, and hit the road. Wish me luck. I'm excited. New Years Eve is a blast to drive a cab.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

You've got to see this picture

It's the picture of the little boy and little girl. When you finish laughing, and I'll tell you about a car accident or 2.

I've been in enough accidents in cabs that I don't recall them all, I'm sure. 21 years is a long time. They teach you things about people and driving, so perhaps if I tell you, you can learn without an insurance claim. First off, convince yourself that there are people out there who will get in an accident intentionally. The last one I was in, the pavement was slippery, traffic was heavy, and this woman in this ratty Volvo station wagon passed me in the right lane zipped in front of me and with turn signal on slammed on the brakes. She claimed she needed to go to the bank. Bull! When the cops were done she didn't go into the bank AND she had a court track record for suing people like insurance companies. She wouldn't dream of doing that to another car like hers.

Black ice will do the job real nicely too, you need to watch for it. What is black ice? After a big snow fall like we had a few weeks ago, there are big snow piles all over the place. On a nice warm winter day with sunshine and upper 30's, some of that will melt, and that pool of water will be smooth, invisible ice within an hour of sunset. I was sitting at a stop sign at the corner of Index and Stewart, and bam. Guy lived close by, no ice there when he went home for lunch, and he in general drove too fast and aggressively. Moral of story, YOU Babba, you must watch for it because he won't, and don't stop where he can hit you. 3 accidents/tickets in 3 years and you're gone these days.

Bottom of hill in any kind of storm but especially in snow. I was waiting for a passenger to come out of this apartment building on Park st., and I saw this car start coming down the hill in my lane. Why isn't he changing lanes to go around me I wondered. NOW I mentally watch for 2 seconds and start accelerating away, go around the block, and come back. I watched in my rear view mirror as he kept coming down the hill. He couldn't be wanting to plow right into me, could he? Complete moron, an engineering graduate student from Taiwan, he'd never driven on a slippery surface before, locked up the brakes at the top of the hill, and slid all the way down the hill and plowed into me. The black lady in the back seat said, "I think I hurt my elbow. No it's my shoulder........." I cut her off right there and said, "Merry Christmas ma'am, Merry Christmas."

I've had more than one person hit me head on while they were looking over their shoulder. I thought this one ass hole in Middleton, on Parmenter st., was going to drag me out the window and start pounding on me. He hit me in the northbound lane while traveling southbound, and he's mad at me? Boy was I glad to see the cops show up. That cab was totaled too.

And an accident that wanted to happen but didn't last week was this complete idiot who stopped on the beltline. In a perfict world it would be acceptable to chase the guy down and strangle him. It's slippery, real slippery in spots, and he's coming at a tight circle ramp way to fast so I decide to let him zoom by, but I want off there too, so I put on my turn signal. So he slows down right on my rear bumper. I slow down, he slows down, we got to walking speed and I'm looking at a car coming on fast, as in 50 mph in my lane so I floor it and pull over on the left side of the ramp. Well, now Mr. Polite goes past me. What's his plan? Oh, he's just being a safe driver, and being polite, and he'll kill somebody doing it someday.

I had a couple of black kids in the cab and a metro and I was waiting for to make a left turn at First and Wash (washington), and you know how people will floor it to run the very last of the yellow light? Well, I started to make my left turn, looked at a fool coming the other way doing just that and decided to let him come and I'd wait for one more light. Unfortunately the guy in the car behind me had to tap me just then. Awwwww, SHIT!!!! With a metro in, I've got to get the cops, no choice. Now with this 3 in 3 years business, I'd chance going on and letting everybody forget it. The 2 black kids in the back seat were acting real nervous for about 10 minutes, then all of a sudden that changed. The one kid started shouting, "My arm hurts! When do I get paid?!" What changed was they decided to hide the dope they were transporting under the seat, and walk away from $50, and go for the big pay out, and when they figgured out how to get it off their person, that's what they did. The cops did shake them down too. If it ever happens again, you can be sure the cops will shake down the back seat too. I remember the cop too, her name was Gail Holmes. She was amazed that I was so calm and composed. The previous time we met, I'd been attacked, was bleeding, and wanted her to arrest the guy who blindsided me, on a moving job I was running.

The final accident I'll mention was one of those rescue the passengers deals. When a cab dies for what ever reason, the driver is supposed to tell the dispatcher, who will put it on the board as a call. It was back when I first started driving, a Sunday if memory serves. There was a new guy out there, like it was his first or second weekend, a part time guy. He was zooming around downtown way too fast, and he'd beaten me for a couple of calls by doing 60 on West Washington, which is around 30 over. The lady who'd been in his cab when he wreaked it said he'd been brake torquing at a light, and when the light changed he let it rip. Unfortunately for everyone else involved, someone was making a late left turn on a yellow light and had not cleared the intersection yet. She said he plowed into that car with the accelerator on the floor.

Monday, December 28, 2009

When it rains it pours.....

Last night I super sized my shift. What's that? I went in to work a 2p-10p, and actually worked a 2p-2a. As soon as 10:00 came around it got weird.

There was a Hilldale to Yuma on the board, I called for it and got it. I went over to the GDHD (Great Dane Hilldale) and started waiting for the passenger to come out. The Great Dane is a gin joint with pretty good food, and nice pool tables. A city bus came through and this black kid, about 20, got out and walked over to the cab and got in the front seat. Take me to Yuma he said. I told him he should call for a cab from where he actually is, not from somewhere else. He said he got there pretty quick, and he used the cell phone on the bus. The cell phone on the bus? I didn't say anything, but I wasn't liking the sound of any of this. Public bus's don't have cell phone service for the passengers. So I told him that since he wasn't where he called for the cab from when he called I was going to need cash up front for the ride. Where on Yuma, I asked, because Yuma has address's in 2 different zones.

He said it should only be 1 zone, meaning it should be the minimum charge for getting in the cab, which the book would say is no zones. I said it was more than that, opened the book and asked what address on Yuma. He said 9 Yuma. Bad address, Yuma has address's in the 3000's and 4000's. Well, just take me to Yuma he said. I told him I couldn't help him and asked him to get out of the cab. He wanted to know why? He said he'd show me the money. I told him I didn't care, I couldn't help him and he needed to get out of the cab.

Like many people, he was of the opinion that he could fuck anything he could catch. They changed that law years ago. The notion that you can open a car door, sit down, and start ordering someone around is common enough, but I've seen a thousand of him and it just isn't going to fly. He wanted to know why I wouldn't take him.

"Well sir, you don't know where you want to go. You weren't where you called for the cab from. And you want to argue over how much the fare will be. I can kick you out of the cab for any of the 3 reasons. Now, I can't help you, please get out of the cab."

He tried the most common ploy, argue until the driver gives up and refuse to get out. No way. Giving up on a guy like him can get you killed, I told him that if he wouldn't get out of the cab I'd get the cops to help him get out, and I would too. Over and over he wanted to know why? Finally I told him. "The last 2 guys who tried to rob me with a knife were just like you, they wouldn't tell me where they wanted to go, now get out of my cab!"

Now we started with the crap that I was painting him with those to guys, and blah blah blah. He as a black man was indignant. Yeah, the fucking race thing always gets called into play. He finally got out, and said he'd get me fired. How many times have I heard that. He did call the company back, and did complain, and they did not send him another cab. If you want to get refused service, just try refusing to tell the driver where you want to go, or giving him a bad address, works like a charm every time, or should work every time anyhow.

Then, an hour later I get a couple of calls going from downtown to Park and the belt, and Midvale and the belt. I get to Park and the belt, start making change for the guy, and the other passenger is barfing out the door. So I tell him I'll give him a break since he only got a tiny splash on the door and a little in the pocket where people put their hand to pull the door closed. He could pay me for the ride to that point and good bye good luck. He was pretty sincere and begged for a break, said he didn't know where he was, which was true, and it was cold. He held out a hand full of cash, said it was all he had on him and could I please help him. Awwwww, fuck it...... But if you barf again in my cab it's Detox for you and that's a nightmare, understand? I gave him some napkins out of the glove box and told him to clean it up. He made it to Hammersly and Midvale without incident, thanked me, and vanished into a red brick 8 unit.

I told Eric over the radio that when it rains it pours, and he asked why I super sized. I told him that none of that kind of thing is predictable, and if I could predict it I wouldn't have super sized. Who would? He agreed, and the next 3 hours went pretty well.

The thespian and barrista

Ah, he was a great audience. He came up to me at the airport as I was about to take off with another fare and he also wanted to also get in. A split from the air to Monona and Hilldale? Oooo, delightful!!! It was south Midvale, so it worked. It was a GREAT run, I had a few long fitters, just fantastic!!! Anyhow, the guy, the story..........

The guy tells me he's an actor, and he hustles coffee for a living at a coffee house. So we talk about stories, and he tells me that acting is story telling. So I tell him the story of the 5 knife stories, and start telling them. He's a great audience!!

What's really most great about this fellow is he tells me that some of my stories might make good monologues for auditions. He's right, they would, and I never knew about this use of monologues before. The Somebody did a Doogie in This Cab story has 3 distinct voices in it, in a certain way it would be perfect.

So I will be looking to publish in small story form a few of the tales in the blog. Thank you sir!!!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cute things to say

Just for joke, I think I tell you some of the cutsie things that they say in cab driving, and I'll toss in a couple I also like just because I like them.

When amusing passengers, nothing is guaranteed to amuse them like cute things to say. I had this Russian guy and his wife laughing all the way to Hilldale on Christmas, sharing all the ways to pick a fight I could think of and I didn't even go through all of them. So without further ado, (drum roll....), here goes.

Your parents were brothers. My dog got fleas when he fucked your mother. You smell like your mothers cunt (in Capetown, in Afrikans this is guaranteed to work). Your mother has a bald pussy (in Vietnamese, in Siagon, to a Vietnamese this is guaranteed to do it). And finally last but not least: Vas tu faire, en cullier! Which will do the job in Paris. I know the Afrikans but you wouldn't understand it, I don't know the Vietnamese, but I learned it from a guy we called Spike years ago and have since forgotten it, and the French.... well, those of you who speak French will recognize that we also say that in English, so in English it's garden grade.

The cab driving cleaver things to say, or a few of them anyhow would be: Remember to wave with all 5 fingers. It's the only job in the world where you can come to work hungry, horny, broke, and sober, and within an hour have all your problems solved. Your job stinks, your love life stinks, the guy in the cab next to you stinks, and it don't get no better than this.

And of course I should mention the 3 states of being, you should be able to figure these out. Dark side of moon, Via satellite, and Painfully in person. Oh, yeah, and as previously mentioned in this blog, I can drive on State st., because my cab is the 5th stage of tequila and it's invisible.