Friday, December 21, 2007

Stomped by Snow

I woke up today, Friday morning, to the sound of distant snowblowers and screeching, spinning, stuck car tires attempting to make it up one of the several hills my house is surrounded by. Monday is the only full shift of taxi driving that I've put in this week. Tuesday, Jen & I had what turned out to be one of the worst days off together imaginable (story for another time). Wednesday, I was physically & mentally unable to drive cab, but even if I did, it snowed MORE. And come Thursday, I heard a cab getting stuck up on Drexel Street early in the morning. Several transport vans (one of which picks up people to go to a developmentally challenged rehabilitation place) got stuck on Grenada Street and I worried to myself that it'd be another day of no work and no money coming in.

I originally arranged to have lunch with my mom seeing how I probably wouldn't be able to even get out of my neighborhood due to the conditions of the roads. But then I finally saw plow action on Grenada & Drexel, and they were clearing down to pavement and if they're clearing my streets, then the main ones must be do-able too. Cancelled lunch with mom and went to work early. I got a cab, skipped the weirdly timed but well-intentioned taxi company holiday lunch and drove Red Cab #89 out into the field.

I drove to about Lancaster & Highland and then was called back towards Red Cab Garage to pick up on Sigourney Street to bring a woman to Harrington Corner. From there, I chased a job all the way out to Beaconsfield Rd near my house aand I got one of the "regulars" going to work over at Fairlawn Rehab. I was near Mill Street, so I took a guy from near 1st on over to Chandler & Queen, which got tough because of narrow roads around City Hospital, lots of school buses and general impassability on streets like Kingsbury & parts of King. I then got a guy on King Street going to Freeland and then I lucked out.

I was told over the dispatch radio to call the cab company because the owner wanted to talk with me about something. I was asked "how well do you know Athol?" to which I always reply, regardless of the town being asked about, "I can do it, I've got my maps" and then make a quick reference as to how I'd get out to whatever town it is. I'm routinel asked to do out-of-town jobs because I can problem solve with little help from dispatch and I can read a map, ask questions and figure things out. So, I drove on out to Athol in semi-Western Mass by way of 122 thru Paxton, Rutland and Barre, then up 32 to 2A over to a doctor's office to deliver multiple "packages" (blood work, stuff to be tested) on over to the Med Center Lab in downtown Worcester for a flat rate to be determined later (usually quite a bit for this kind of distance, hopefully enough to cover my lease).

Easy trip, but it was snowing to beat the band on the return via Rt. 2 to 190 to 290. They didn't even forecast the snow that was falling, making driving treacherous. And my stupid cab driver brain kicked in when the dispatcher was trying like hell to get a "job" covered in Holden center. I called when I was at 190 & West Mountain and said I could help out. Turns out it was a woman at Big Y in Holden needing to go with all her groceries to Newll Road in Holden, an easy trip minus the snow, but made longer & more nerve-wracking by slippery conditions.

I gassed up the cab and returned to Red Cab garage. I didn't want to risk wrecking the cab and being responsible for the repairs, etc. It was too slippery out for me to drive. But in the end, after my lease, after $25 worth of gas, I made out with maybe $20 for about 5 hours worth of work. Maybe I'll get a break on my lease. I don't know. This December has been horrible for cab driving, but I know I've gotten better at it. I still enjoy it, but I've got to start bringing in more bucks. My savings won't last forever. I can be as frugal as I can, but eventually bills have to be paid... It's scary.

So I sit here on Friday morning wondering how much, if any, cab driving I'll get in today...

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