Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post Sandy Post

As most people know, last week NYC was hit by Hurricane Sandy.  It left a lot of the city and surrounding areas devastated and disabled.  I drove last night for the first time since the storm.  I have a pretty strict "I don't drive in storms" rule, so clearly, the night of the storm was out.  After that It took me a week to get back to driving between temporarily moving to my parents' house until my own place has utility service again, searching for a new car(ours got flooded and destroyed), and generally feeling displaced and depressed about the state of the city.  I'll be honest.  I was a little afraid to go into Manhattan with the power outages and eeriness of the whole situation.  And the gas situation put me off a little too.  I do realize, however, I missed out on amazing money with the subways not running and ride sharing allowed.  I could have made bank, but couldn't face everything.
Tile mosaic on the floor of the dispatch room at my garage.  Not related to anything, but i thought it was cool to share.
I finally made it back to the garage yesterday.  I got a car and headed right to JFK since their lot was pretty empty.  I didn't have to wait there lone before getting dispatched to Terminal 1.  I picked up a guy to go to Sutton Pl. which should have been easy, but holy crap.  There was a lot of traffic on the Van Wyck(like there always is), so I was just going to go a short way to Queens Blvd. to get to the 59th st Bridge.  This guy was so impatient, though he couldn't sit in traffic for more than a few minutes before trying to come up with alternate ideas.  This started as "OK, well just get me to a train station and I will go from there" to "oh, well, maybe you could get to Borough Hall(Brooklyn)" and I can take the train from there to finally "oh, why don't we go over the Brooklyn Bridge instead".  It's a flat rate, so all this extra navigation did nothing for me other than drive me up the wall, but at the end of the day, I was going to Manhattan afterwards anyway so after a certain point, I just gave up and went with the flow.  All told, we probably made it to his destination in the same amount of time that it would have taken if we had stuck with our original route, but we just took a crazy path to get there instead.  It was an adventure, and at least he was very nice about everything.  But, damn.

Once I made it into Manhattan, I managed to stay pretty busy.  Not really any long periods of searching for passengers.  And just when i would feel like it was going to be a long stretch, I would be at a red light and someone would hop in the cab.  So, that was good.  The main horror of the night was the traffic in the Midtown West area.  Because of the storm and flooding, all the tunnels except the Lincoln tunnel are closed.  And because there was some traffic horror in Jersey near the George Washington Bridge, the main way out of the city and into New Jersey was the Lincoln Tunnel.  This created massive delays in all directions around the entrance t the tunnel.  And of course I kept getting stuck in it because people kept wanting to go into that general area.

One of those situations was a young couple who needed to get pretty much right into the middle of the traffic jam.  And I did feel bad about sitting in traffic, but there really wasn't a way out of it.  I did finally see an opening and was able to zoom out of the jam.  I did have to go a few blocks out of the way, but it was either that or sit there for another half hour.  They seemed understanding though and didn't want to sit in the traffic any more than I did.  After all that it was a $24 fare.  Not only did they not tip me after all that(and after getting them OUT of that), they also didn't close their door all the way when they got out.  And so when I got out to close it, my favorite sweatshirt fell out and is somewhere lying on the curb near Port Authority.  I am gutted about the sweatshirt, and angry that it was because of these particular passengers.  Y'all owe me a new hoodie!

With the bad, there comes some good.  I was somewhere in the 50's when a guy hails me.  He asks me to take him to a particular hotel.  I didn't know where it was so before I turned on the meter, I looked it up on my phone.  It was literally around the corner from where we were and i told the guy that but he seemed a little lost and asked me to drive him anyways.  I had to loop around the block to get there, but two minutes later we were there and the $4 fare turned into $15 in my pocket and a very grateful passenger.  Really unexpected, but totally awesome.

The rest of the night was steady and I had a bunch of nice passengers.  Had one young guy from Florida who was debating the possibility of making the move to New York,  but not before his trip to Thailand which I was totally jealous of.  After passing through Times Square and hearing a big cheer from people watching the election coverage, I picked up a woman coming from a celebration.  She was very excited about the results.

I had two trips out to Queens.  One of these ended up being the last fare of my evening.  The guy had a lot to say about the election and the state of the country and what we needed to spend money on instead of bombs and a lot of other things as well.  I could tell that he had a few to drink and his train of thought didn't always make the connection, but it was certainly interesting.  And really, if it weren't for the interesting passengers like this guy, I wouldn't enjoy driving nearly as much as I do.  So to that gentleman, thank you for making my night interesting!

Of course, now that I managed to motivate myself into getting back behind the wheel again, another storm comes through the city.  So no driving for me tonight, but I'll try and get a cab tomorrow after this nor'easter passes through.


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