Thursday, March 27, 2014

Polar and Drunken Vortexes

December and January have come and gone since my last real post, but I wrote that article, so there was that.  But I have been kicking myself in the butt about how little I have written lately.  So, here is my long awaited post.

The holidays were a little bit of a letdown.  The weeks leading up until Christmas are filled with tourists coming into town to look at the tree and visit friends and family.  And for the most part it was good.  I stayed busy, and had lots of fares.

And then the day before Christmas when it should have been super busy, it was almost 70 degrees and NOBODY wanted a taxi.  Everyone was soaking up the summer like temperatures and walking everywhere.  It was pretty brutal.  For me.  The day I was hoping to make a nice little holiday bonus ended up being worse than the average day.  It was pretty sad.

I took off the next week for New Years and the week after that i went to Florida, so I didn't work for two weeks.  And then I came back and things were just as dead as I left them.  For the most part I wouldn't break even until two hours after when I normally would.  I was forced to start days at the airport which isn't awful, but can be boring.  And I would only do okay if I caught a lucky fare or two.  And then the Polar Vortex came along and made things worse.

I do not like snow.  And i have a very hard time driving in snow, especially if its more than just a little bit.  So if I know it will be snowing and its supposed to be more than an inch or two, I don't work.  Well, that meant a lot of not working.  And even on days when it wasn't snowing, the streets hadn't been plowed, everything was covered in ice and the cars at my garage, while awesome for everything else, are not good when it comes to snow and ice.  They just slide everywhere and it is downright dangerous.  One of the other drivers at the garage told me that he was droving his cab on the LIE, hit some black ice and spun into a partition.  This guy has been driving for decades and never had an accident.  But that ice was sneaky.  So, yeah, I didn't work much with the weather.
Amusing street art seen in DUMBO, Brooklyn
Once in a while though, Mother Nature eased off and I was able to work SOME days.  A lot of it was the same old, same old.  Well, most of it was. 

I always check the cab at the end of my shift to see if anyone left anything behind.  The most I had ever found was an umbrella.  One night I was driving around and picked up a girl in the East Village.  She seemed rather flustered but was probably an NYU student or something.  But she got out and went on her way.  I quickly picked up another passenger, a very nice woman.  When she got in she sat down and realized she was sitting on something.  It was a laptop that the girl before had left.  She handed it to me and I knew right away who it belonged to, and where i had dropped her off.  But it was a building, and I didn't know what apartment she had gone into.  After I dropped off the woman, I looked in the laptop case and there was thankfully some papers with the girl's address on them.  So I drove back to the building and rang the doorbell.  The girl's boyfriend came downstairs and told me that he was sorry that they didn't have any sort of reward to give me, but if I gave him my info, he would be sure that they sent something to me.  I gave him my email address and figured I would never hear about it again. 

Almost two months later, I opened my email and found a $50 Amazon gift card had been sent to me!  I couldn't believe it.  I had totally just figured i wouldn't hear from the girl again but was happy I did a good deed.  And she had written a very nice note as well along with the card, and it made me feel very nice.  There was no reply email though, so Kendall, if you read this, THANK YOU!!!!!! 
Lovely note I received with my gift card.

The Polar Vortex wasn't totally awful to me.  Snow is bad, but plain old cold can be great for business.  There were some days where it was otherwise nice out, but so cold that people just didn't want to walk in it.  And some days I was just getting very lucky with my fares.  One evening, I kept trying to head home, but spent another two hours picking up people in Williamsburg and Bushwick.  I wasn't looking for them, they kept finding me!  So that was good.  Another night, I was doing a last minute cruise of Park Slope before calling it a night.  I get hailed down by two young guys and they hop in and tell me we are going to the Bronx!  That was a HUGE fare, and after dropping them off, i headed back down through Manhattan where I caught another two fares.  Some nights, you don't get to pick when your shift ends, your shift decides for you.  And that's not a bad thing.  I was happy for those fares that kept me out later. 

OK, so I know that I don't have too many individual stories to share.  It has been so long since my last post that they all kind of blend together, so it is hard to pick out just a few.  But the one I can really talk about is fresh in my mind.

So, I for some ungodly reason, thought it would be a good idea to work on the night of St. Patricks Day.  I didn't have any other plans and it fell on one of my usual working nights, so I decided to give it a go.  NEVER AGAIN!

I knew it would be a day full of drunks, so I was prepared at the beginning of my shift.  I had a bunch of plastic bags and paper towels and all that stuff.  A little after 7pm, I was on Bleeker st where I picked up a guy.  He gets in and tells me we are going to Coney Island.  "Great!" I thought.  That's a nice fare.  When he got in he was talking, he was coherent.  He told me it was his birthday and his friends had been buying him drinks all day.  I told him that if he should need them, I had plastic bags, but he assured me he was fine.  And he seemed it.  We talked for a little while and he did seem OK.  When we got to Brooklyn and hit the highway, this guy passed out, and he passed out HARD.  When we did get to Coney Island I tried to ask him where exactly we were going.  No response.  I had to pull over, turn around and shake the guy to get an answer out of him.  He finally mumbles to me the cross streets of where I need to bring him.  I drive there and by the time we get there, he is out cold again. I had to turn around again and yell at the guy "Dude!  You gotta pay me and go home!"  He doesn't wake up right away and I shake him again and yell it again.  So, he sort of comes to, and asks how much, and as he is going to take his money out I could see that it was gonna happen.  I tried handing him a plastic bag, but it wasn't fast enough.  He spewed.  Mostly on himself, thank goodness.  He then opened the door to spew some more.  At this point I saw a cop car coming, and i tried waving them down to help me, but they didn't care and just drove past.  Dicks.  I finally get my money off of this guy and send him on his way.  As he stumbled across the street he gave me a "sorry about the *hic* mess".  I drove around the corner to a bar I knew I could park by, and managed to clean up.  Thankfully, most got on him and there wasn't much to clean up, but it was still gross.  It was only 8pm.  At least it was a big fare though, and I did get a nice chunk of change for that, and he in his drunken state still managed to tip me appropriately, although not for the cleaning service.
Coney Island, land of hotdogs and awful drunk dudes.
I managed to avoid any more sickness the rest of the night, but the drunks were everywhere.  But they cleared out early.  I had another big fare into Brooklyn later on.  This guy I picked up from one of the many Irish pubs near times square, he was wearing a kilt and had been a part of the parade.  I was worried it would be a repeat performance, but he wasn't wasted, just wanted to go home and rip the kilt off.  He was really nice and apologized for making me go so far into Brooklyn, but i told him I was happy to take him because it wasn't like my previous fare.  I think he was a little grossed out to learn someone had puked in the car he had just ridden in, but by that point he had already paid and tipped nicely, so oh well.  And he didn't smell it, so i did a good job cleaning.

Moral of the story though, I am not working St. Pats ever again.  Ever.

OK, so I hope this made up a little bit for not writing in FOREVER. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Happy new year!

Ok. I know. I suck. I am way long overdue for a post. I have stuff a brewin, and have things to share.  But this will have to tide you over for the meantime. 

You may remember I did an interview last summer for Taxi Fare Finder. I was approached not to long ago by them again. Apparently my interview got a lot if great feedback and they asked if I would write an article for them. So, of course, I did. I am pretty stoked about it. You should all take a moment and check it out!!

New posts soon. Promise.