I have been getting some complaints from my passengers, regular readers, and even some of my fellow hacks that I haven’t posted for a while… I apologize for that. It certainly isn’t for a lack of material, that’s for certain… sweet Jesus, I almost got arrested a couple of weeks ago after some drunken idiot broke my window. Then there was the wasted Indian girl with the Brazilian wax job and the blogworthy puker that paid me $120.00 to go one hundred yards, and then there’s the guy that that walked up to my window on Valentine’s Eve and said, “We’re only going about a mile or two, but here’s twenty dollars in advance for the bullshit you are going to have to deal with for the next seven or eight minutes… go ahead and start the meter…”, who then went to collect his dinner date that is out of her mind on Jagermeister and pills…
And that’s just the last two weeks.
Blogworthy material isn’t the problem, time is. My wife is in the real estate business, and I have been spending a lot of time and doing a lot of work on helping her with her marketing and developing a website for her business, and that is eating up pretty much all of my nites off. With thirty years of collective experience in commercial photography, web development, advertising layout, and graphic design, I am uniquely qualified to do this, and I am woefully dilatory for not having done more for her already. And my hunnee does seem to be born to do this… without being too specific, December was a very good month for her, and we banked several very nice checks, so if I can start generating more leads and clients for her, our finances with improve dramatically.
The other thing is my own vanity… if I take the time to write something, I want it to be good. I know that this shit isn’t Shakespeare, but I subscribe to the old-fashioned notion that anything worth doing is worth doing well. I have a finished story on my iPad right now, but it just feels “lacking” to me… and I don’t like the idea of just “phoning it in”. I also have a political rant on my iPad that I have been working on for weeks, but I just can’t seem to find a graceful way to end it. I will try to make time in the future to post something up with greater frequency.
Of course, I’m a little befuddled that people complain that I don’t post often enough when I’m not getting paid for this. Writing this blog is cheap therapy for me… this site isn’t monetized in any way… there aren’t banners and Google ads splattered all over it. I do this because I like writing, and I certainly have an abundance of fresh material on a nearly daily basis. And, I’ll admit, there is an element of personal vanity in it… I like the notion of being a published writer, even if I pay for it and the subject matter is disgusting and not fit for polite company. Trust me… if I were being paid fifty bucks a post, you folks would have fresh-baked debauchery and drunken buffoonery served up daily. But in the end, I guess I am flattered that people are complaining… I thank you for your interest.
So let me slap together something from last night… I picked up three couples in suits and nice dresses outside a bar, and this is obviously a group of people from a wedding… the first hint was a guy in a rumpled tuxedo and a girl wearing a wedding dress and a red Kansas City Chiefs hoodie over it. I shoulda taken a photo of that… nice look… an absolute (or Absolut) drunken fashion plate. They weren’t zombies, but they were pretty fucked up. We are taking the bride and groom to the Hilton Hotel for a night of nuptial passion and drunken rutting, and then dropping off the other four at a friend’s house where they are staying, as they are all from out of town and have never been in my city before. I ask for the specific address, and I am told that we are going to 2345 15 Street North, which I duly noted in my paperwork. We dropped off the bride and groom at the Hilton, and after one or two minutes of goodnites, hugs, thank-you’s, high-fives, fist-bumps, ass-grabs, and lewd drunken jokes about the wedding consummation that is nigh and impending, we are off to take the other four to the place they are staying.
In my town, Streets, Lanes, Ways, Terraces, and Avenues have very distinct and specific meanings, and North, South, East, and West demarcations are critical. 27th Avenue North is a very different neighborhood than 27th Avenue South. So as a professional taxi driver, getting correct address information is essential. If someone jumps in my car and says, “Bumper’s Pool Hall”, that’s easy, and I don’t need the address. But if someone is going to a residential neighborhood, I get the specific address before I even put the car in gear. There are two reasons for that: first, I want to make sure I give the customer the best possible service, so I plan my route to their destination in the first 30 seconds of the ride. Second, if some wasted idiot wants to go to some nebulous destination near the intersection of 30th Street North and 3rd Avenue West, you can find yourself driving around aimlessly, wasting time and gas with some shithammered bonehead that doesn’t really have a clue about where the fuck he is going. It is better to put that idiot out of your car before he becomes a problem, unless he is willing to give you an ample retainer up front.
So we are on the way, and my passengers are fun and laughing and joking with me and each other… drunk, but not obnoxious. One guy mentioned that he is in the custom cabinetry business, which I noted because I worked for about a year as the marketing and sales guy for a custom cabinet shop, so I know a little something about his business. We get to the address they gave me, and they say this doesn’t look right. I turned on the interior light and double-checked my paperwork, shined my flashlight on the mailbox, and said, “No, this is it… 2345 15th Street North… that was the address you gave me…”
They all say that this isn’t right, and they all simultaneously dig out their phones to find an email or text message that has the address of their friend’s place. As it turns out, they need to be at 2345 15th AVENUE North, not 15th Street North, so I turned the car around and headed for our new destination, but now, the happy and convivial mood in the car has suddenly changed…
We are at around $15.00 on the meter, and one of the wasted bitches says, “We need to get an adjustment on this fare… you took us out of our way, and we shouldn’t have to pay for that…”
I said, “Ma’am, I took you to the address I was given… it isn’t my fault your guy got the address wrong. I can’t adjust this fare… you gave me a specific address, and I took you there. Now, you have given me another address, and I will take you there, too. The fare is whatever the meter says it is…”
The girl mutters, “Asshole… fucking taxi drivers… we shouldn’t have to pay for this bullshit..”
I said, “Do you think I should pay with time and gas for faulty directions you folks provided?”
She is quiet for a moment, and then, she erupts… “Fuck you, asshole! I travel a lot, you know… I have seen this shit in Chicago, in Kansas City, in Las Vegas, in Cleveland… taxi drivers are fucking criminals! You intentionally take people the long way, and act like you don’t know what you are doing… you assholes are fucking criminals!”
I said, “Ma’am, I wrote down the address this gentleman gave me before we even pulled out of the bar… here it is on my paperwork…”
She icily says, “Fuck you… you are trying to rip us off… we aren’t paying for this ride.”
I replied, “Ma’am, a police report is a very poor way to end a wedding, don’t you think…?”
This bitch continues to complain and insult me for the next couple of minutes. We are getting close to their correct destination, with $20.75 on the meter. She is close to screaming at me, but her guy interjects, and calmly asks what adjustment I can make. I said, “I can’t make adjustments for passenger error. Every minute spent with you folks is a minute not spent with another passenger. In the time I have been driving you to your correct destination, I could have been serving another passenger and earning money. You mentioned that you were in the custom cabinet business… well, hiring a taxi is a custom-order business. If you build a custom cabinet based on the customer’s measurements that doesn’t fit and the customer’s drunken wife is pitching a wasted bitchfit about it, would you build the customer a replacement cabinet for free when the error was his?”
The guy looks thoughtful for a moment, and reaches for his wallet. His woman screams, “FUCK… YOUUUUU!!! DON’T YOU DARE GIVE HIM ANY MONEY, WAYNE!”
The guy says, “What do you need?”
I said, “Call it twenty bucks, no tip, and just let me get back to work without having to deal with the cops. We are at your destination, and honestly, I just want her outta my car…”
The woman shrieks, “FUCK YOU, YOU MUTHERFUKKIN’ ASSHOLE FAGGOT TAXI PRICK!!!”
He gives me a twenty, they get out, and his woman slams the door violently. I said, “Have a nice night…” and the woman screams, “FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE THIEF!”
I stuck my head out the window and said, “I am sorry if you are displeased with my service, Ma’am… I’m certain that you aren’t such a belligerent bitch when you aren’t so shitfaced, so I would simply offer this for you to contemplate in the morning when you are sober: who do you think made the mistake? The honest and professional taxi driver that has lived in this town and driven these streets for ten years, or the wasted idiots from out of town that just left a wedding reception with an obviously open bar?”
The woman shrieked, “FUCK YOU!” and much to my surprise, took off her shoe and threw it at my head. It hit the window behind me with a loud thud, and I decided that this was an opportune moment to bid these people adieu, so I took off, leaving the woman standing on the grass screaming obscenities at me.
This is the sorta shit I deal with almost nightly…