Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year, New Adventures!

So at this point, I am already three shifts into the new year.  I worked the day after New Years Day(I needed the one day to recover from New Years Eve).  It was an okay shift.  Nothing too exciting happened.  The next day I worked as well.
New year and ready to take on new adventures(or, the short version, "me behind the wheel")
I called up the JFK taxi hotline at the beginning of my shift to see if it was worth heading over there.  I didn't think it was, so I headed into the city.  I had started working early enough so I figured I would get a lot of the business other drivers missed when they went off duty around that time.  I managed to get into Manhattan and all the way up to around the 60's before I caught my first fare.  And wouldn't you know it, they wanted to go to JFK!  Somehow, in rush hour, we made it to the airport in pretty decent time.  Under an hour, for sure.  My passengers complimented me on getting them there so quickly(both verbally and with a nice tip).  So since I didn't waste a lot of time in traffic, my trip out to the airport was a pretty good thing.  Once I got out there, i took a look at the taxi lot.  It was pretty full, but looked like it was moving, so I got on the line.  I waited for about an hour, maybe a little less.  Which for as full as the lot was, really isn't too bad.  I finally got dispatched to Terminal 2.  I had never picked up there before, so navigating my way there was a little odd.

Once I got to the terminal, I had a passenger right away.  We didn't make it into the city quite as quickly as I had made it to the airport, but it wasn't too bad.  And we had a wonderful discussion the whole way.  He was a volunteer for the Red Cross from, I think he said, Kansas.  This was his second trip to the area since the hurricane.  He told me about all the work he had been doing and about all the others who came from all over the country to help out with the recovery.  It really warmed my heart to know that there are these kind people out there who drop their lives to come help out one of the countries' toughest areas when we actually need help.  When I dropped him off at his hotel, I made sure to thank him for the work that he does.

I gotta say, after that, nothing really interesting.  The city was pretty dead as a lot of tourists had left and a lot of New Yorkers hadn't returned from their vacations or were lying low recovering from the holidays.

I worked again this Sunday.  Much more interesting.  By this time, most people were back from the holidays, so there was more activity in the city.
Giant suspended snowflake on the intersection of 57th and 5th.  I love this thing and finally got close enough to it for a photo.
The shift started out pretty average.  I had quite a few fares early on, but they were all on the small side of things.  I was cruising Amsterdam when I picked up a woman to go farther uptown.  She was so nice!  We had a really nice conversation the whole way up about cabbie-ing.  She was genuinely interested in what I do so that was nice.  I told her about the blog too, so if you are reading, HELLO!  It was great to have you in the cab!  Seriously, even though I don't have many rude or mean customers, the ones who are genuinely interested and kind are pretty rare too.  After that, I was feeling a little more optimistic about the evening.

Things started picking up a little more as the night went on.  I ended up picking up a group of college aged kids who were so into themselves it made me laugh.  Seriously.  The extent of their conversation was which one of them had more "likes" on Instagram.  They also wanted to take the most ass-backwards way to their destination and only after tremendous traffic on their selected route would they listen to reason and let me take the proper way.  And after all their stupid requests, sitting in unnecessary traffic and having to listen to their vapid conversation, they gave me a measly $1 tip(on a $20 fare, which is 5% and crappy for those of you less mathematically inclined).  Because clearly none of them know what it was like to have to work for a living or put up with people like them for any amount of time.  I bet they went to my high school.

I picked up a guy to go to Queens after that.  Nothing really too interesting to say about that except this guy had an amazing voice.  He should do radio or something.  Maybe he does.  But it was one of those thick New York old school accents and a really deep and gruff voice.  Kinda hot, actually.  I also never saw the guy's face, which added to it I think. 

Later on, I was cruising around the village.  I was driving up University when I see someone hailing me in front of the bowling alley.  I pull over and so does another car behind me.  I see someone getting into the other cab and, annoyed, said something like "Or NOT!" out the window as I was about to pull away.  But then someone else came and grabbed me before I sped off.  She needed to go to Brooklyn and to an area I was very familiar with.  So our conversation didn't have to involve step by step directions.  Instead it went towards weddings.  She had mentioned her upcoming wedding, and her experience at Kleinfeld.  My little sister is a bride to be, so I had lots to discuss with her.  Before you knew it, we were at her destination.  I even managed to get another fare in Brooklyn before getting back to Manhattan.

As I was on St. Marks, I get stopped outside Crif Dogs by a young couple.  They wanted to go to Hoboken, NJ.  I looked up the fare in my little flat rate book(first time I got to use this thing!) and told them the rate.  They agreed and hopped in.  They were super friendly and we chatted the whole way into Jersey.  And as they directed me to their hotel, I got to see the sights of Hoboken, which is actually a much cuter area than I expected.  Also, lots of night life.  Seriously, a bar on every corner.  Who knew!?  I am not allowed to pick up any fares in Jersey, so as soon as I dropped them off I rushed back into the city.  And i got really lucky too.  Almost as soon as I got out of the tunnel in Manhattan, I caught a fare to way up on the Upper West Side.

On my way back downtown, I was at a red light on Broadway somewhere in the 80's.  A cop car pulled up next to me.  The cops did a double take before rolling down their window to tell me what a rare sight I was.  We all had a chuckle and I waved at them before they took off at the green light.

It was late and I caught that one last fare I wanted to Queens(Brooklyn would have been good too).  Two guys who had just closed up their restaurant in Alphabet City and were too tired to take the subway.  One got out just over the bridge.  After he got out, the remaining fellow and I had a nice conversation and I told him about a restaurant I liked that was just around the corner from his place.  And he, unlike the spoiled brats from before, gave me a nice tip.  People who work in the service industry know how to tip because they know what its like to NOT get a tip when you bust your butt!

It was late and I decided to head back to the garage.  I hopped on the BQE and headed into Brooklyn.  When I was headed up Flatbush ave in Park Slope, a guy had his arm out for a cab.  He looked like he was headed in my general direction, so I pulled over and he got in.  Turned out, he needed to go only a few blocks from my garage and was super nice and thankful that I stopped.  I don't always grab fares when I am on my way back to the garage, but i was in a good mood and figured why the heck not.  It was one of those cab rides that end with a handshake.  Those don;t happen often, but sometimes when you have a good rapport with a passenger, its the only way to end things.

After dropping him off, it was only a hop, skip and a jump to my garage where I called it a night.  What started out as just a mediocre night ended up being a really good shift, both monetarily and people wise.  Totally made up for some of the slower shifts I had last week.  I am glad I kicked my own ass into going to work that night.

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