Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cab driving the job

It's the only job where you can come to work hungry, horny, broke, and sober, and have all your problems solved in an hour.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The movie

I forgot I owned a copy of Taxi Driver. I was shuffling my tapes, and there it was.

I'll watch it a couple of times in the next few days. The scenes in the coffee shop where 4 or 5 drivers are on break are very realistic. Wizard's comment that you take a job, and you become that job is very realistic of cab drivers too. Some escape, some do not. That coffee shop on break, or that bar where a lot of the drivers go after work is where you transition from not knowing anybody, to being one of the group. Being one of the group doesn't mean you're well liked, it only means everyone knows you.

It's also true that most people become a nick name after some period of time. People named Jonathan, who will only tolerated being called Jonathan simply will not make it.

At this point, I'd like to offer a line that I attribute to Sandy Van Sickle, who escaped in the early '90's if memory serves. "Everybody's doing something, all the time."

Think about that line. What does it mean?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lesson #2 ,of the how to drive a cab posts

Lesson #1 was primarily, how to get stopped by a cop and not get a ticket. Lesson #2 will continue the theme of dealing with the cops.

I know of NO JURISDICTION where the police will help you collect your fare. That doesn't mean it never happens. In 21 years, a handful of times, I saw a cop shake down a dead beat for the fare. Once or twice I even saw them make the dead beat pay the waiting time, but usually they would do nothing to collect any money what so ever. Most of the time they don't even want to write the ticket for not paying.

Why don't they want to write the ticket? It's real simple, cops want good numbers. Good numbers means they want a lot of convictions, and a good conviction percentage. I once asked a cop why they don't enforce the noise ordinance on these cars with the obnoxious sound systems. He said, "Because judges won't give us convictions."

I asked him what that meant, and he said that you write the ticket, the guy who gets the ticket shows up in court and contests it, and the judge dismisses it. He's guilty, no question of it. He knows he's guilty too. So what?

The guy who gets a ticket for not paying a cab fare is probably a low life who, has plenty of time to show up in court. He's going to lie and say you insulted him, or made him late, or what ever. The judge is a busy guy who wants numbers too, and he knows from experience that many cab drivers do sketchy things, and say objectionable things. It's your word against the low life, so the judge will probably tell both of you to refrain from wasting his valuable time in the future.

Does the cop have to show up in court for this? Probably, and he's not getting his numbers either. The judge knows the cop wants numbers, and there's no better way to tell him to not waste the courts valuable time, than to dismiss the ticket.

Result? Everybody's time got wasted. The low life tells a great story about beating they system to all his friends, and doesn't have to pay either the fare or the ticket.

What will the cops do for you? In my experience, probably 1/2 the time when you call the cops, somebody goes to jail. Why? Well, a lot of people have warrants out on them for not showing up in court, or are behind on their child support, or drugs.

Then there's drunkeness too. If this jerk looks visibly drunk, the cops can take them to jail for public intoxication. If he's got drugs on him and the cop has some free time, he might wind up in jail for that. Another thing you want to do after it's over, pull your back seat and check the ashtrays. Why? Those drugs might be under the back seat or in the ashtray. I have had that happen. What you do with the drugs is up to you.

The title of the post with the first lesson is "I found a direction to write in".

Puffie & Alex

I was tying to remember these guys and couldn't. Alex hated my guts, why I never found out, then I saw a reference to Merrill, Wisconsin and instantly remembered both of them.

Over the years there were a few pairs of good buddies among the drivers. When I first started driving, I was pretty good friends with a guy named Dennis. Dennis claimed he was in some kind of treatment program, booze I think, and that his life at the moment was basically all a scam. Well, if you're busted down to nothing, why not get free housing intended for drunks while you work your way up to having a couple of bucks free to rent some place. Dennis and I both drove 3am. to 3pm. shifts on Saturday and Sunday. I'd complain to him about the night drivers refusing to bring the cabs in. He'd just smile and chuckle, "Night drivers rule."

Dennis was gone with the end of the school year. Probably with the end of the snow, I don't recall when he left.

Alex and Puffy were both night drivers, who may never have driven a day shift. There must have been some mystery night driver who offered enough instruction to let this happen, contrary to what some people believe, it's not that easy to make a pile of money at night. Alex left town and moved to Washington, D.C. Puffy supposedly has an eatery in Milwaukee that his father bankrolled. I hope both of them are doing well.

Why was Puffy named Puffy? His full nick name was Puff Boy, and it was because of a ride went more than 15 blocks he wouldn't take it. Hence, he was the "cream puffer".

Years earlier, when the Hog couldn't move a long call, or a deep call, he'd sit there and mutter "Cream puffing fagots", nonstop. He always did it off mike, so you had to be in the dispatch office to hear it.