Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A crappy, chaotic short night of cabbing

It's a Tuesday, so therefore it's probably going to be a slow night of cab driving and I know this, but I'm bound & determined to work five nights this week. I get 89 at around 3pm, say hi to Stefan the older Russian driver who drives 89 during the day and then proceed to load my gear into the cab: messenger bag full of reading material, cds, camera, etc., mini cooler with 4 Mountain Dews in it, my Newbury Comics metal lunchbox with change, cab forms, receipts, etc. inside of it AND my Code 4 kit consisting of a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, flashlight, cutting blade, etc. Good. Done. Ready to go.

I sit about half a mile away at Davita Dialysis where traditionally I can score a pretty good fare right off the bat. But no. I wait. And wait. Wait some more. I bid on a job for Chadwick Square, right next door. Another driver says he's there, AT Shaw's Supermarket. I decide to check on him. I get there first. He comes roaring on up after me. I decide to LET him have his customer instead of being a meanie, DESPITE the fact that the rule of night driving is that whoever gets to the customer first, gets the job AND isn't "stealing" a fare, but better SERVICING the customer. Bah... Let 57 have his fare even though I was there faster. Back to my perch at Davita I go.

I get a dialysis customer as my first fare. He's heading to around Brittan Square. I see 45 sitting near Brittan, so I head back to Davita. Wait. Wait. Not a whole lot of work being dispatched. Tuesday is living up to its rep. I decide to head to Holden Center to pick up my regular 4:30 job at Holden Industrial. I sat there waiting for half an hour until 4:30 and then the rain started. And then my windshield wiper (driver's side) failed on me. It was missing a plastic thingie on one side that held the blade itself onto the arm and with one fell swoop it decided to slowly make its way off of the arm rendering it useless for clearing liquid off of my windshield, making it possible for me to see through it and avoid curbs, other cars, pedestrians and other immovable objects that might wreck the cab or throw my ass in jail. One of my "jail guys" assisted me in McGuyver-ing the wiper back to usefulness by ripping off the rubbery housing of the blade and using that material to tie the blade in place. Yes! Ingenuity! And it worked...

Delivered the jail guys back to the House of Corrections. Raced to 19 Tacoma in Great Brook Valley and got "Markita" (real name "Marisa", but someone mis-heard or something in the dispatch office) and brought her and her significant other to near Providence & Harrison (btw Coral & Penn, actually). Traffic was murder on 290. SO MANY FREAKING PEOPLE!

My next job was right around the corner at the Irving gas station on Grafton, going right around the corner for five bucks to Arlington St. Next... This proved to be my only CASH job of this very short evening.

I was sent to Millbury & Endicott to pick someone up, but even after circling around twice, honking twice and getting pissed off once, the customer had either passed out, changed their mind, already hopped in a cab, already transported themselves to la-la land and I was the sucker for even trying to catch the fare in the first place. Screw them. If the customer can't be bothered to be outside and ready for the cab they called, I have little sympathy for them. I show up in a timely, prompt manner and if they can't bother, well I'm off to help someone who can.

I lie on location. I say I'm at Shewsbury & Prentice for UMass hospital. I get the job. I go to the main entrance and get a weird dude with 2 full duffle bags and another bag and he needs to go all the way back to Murray & Wellington, back home. It's a charge. It's on the meter. Yahoo... traffic is GOOD in cases like this.

I get a kid from Youth Guidance on Belmont Street going all the way to Cantebury & Litchfield St. On the meter. Charge. Fine by me. But then...

I got a job going to Adcare hospital, picking up someone going back to Pleasant & Crown Street. Another charge on the meter except this time I have to physically go IN to Adcare, sign the log and retrieve my customer. Done & done. Customer gets in, says she needs to go to Abby's House on High Street. But I thought I was told to go to Pleasant & Crown. Nope. High Street. Abby's. Okay. Do what the customer says. "No, this isn't the right place. I meant Abby's House on High Street." But this IS High Street and it IS Abby's House. Nope. Wrong place. AND the rain has kicked in, the makeshift wiper fix has failed and I'm flying semi-blind, pissed off with a confused blabbering Code 4 customer telling me wrong info because she really doesn't know WHERE the hell she's going, BUT she has to be there by 7, in about 10 minutes, as I circle around and around trying to find her correct destination... AH! The Abby's on Crown Street. Whatever. Freakazoid bozo loser. I may sound unsympathetic but one should ALWAYS know where one is going when you set foot, ass, everything in a taxi cab. All this lady had to go by was an Abby's envelope with the incorrect High Street address. Adcare and Abby's failed this lady in getting her correct info as to how the hell to get home.

I'm really pissed at this point. My driver's side wiper is coming off. The rain is pouring down. I can't see well out the windshield. Gotta get the cab back to the lot. Of course the mechanics are gone for the night. I have zero mechanical expertise with anything. I'm fuming over not having a functional taxi cab with which to work, earn money legitimately to pay my mortgage and other assorted bills and now, thanks to a previous driver not reporting the wiper to be broken, I'm stuck without a means of making money for the night and I'm in a piss-poor rotten mood to boot.

I get the cab back. I leave two notes, one in the car, one in the key dropslot. I angrily tell the dispatcher I'm done for the night. There are no other cabs to switch into, nor should I HAVE TO do such a thing. The cab SHOULD WORK. Whatever. I'm off my rocker at this point. Freaking out.

I go pick up my personal customer in my own car. Talk with him a bit as I drive him to work. Then I head home to make some dinner. Leftover dirty rice and a can of chicken noodle soup. My girlfriend comes over. We cuddle, watch a movie together and have a great night together in eachother's arms. The craziness & stupidity of the previous 4 hours wash away and I can start fresh.

But I'll be damned if they get the full lease for a cab that failed me. But I digress.... At least I knew going into this that it was a slow Tuesday night and probably wasn't going to get that much busier. And now it's October 1st... 1st & the 3rd... checks being sent out and needing to be cashed, spent, blown, deposited, burned through, etc. and I'll be ready to drive the yahoos around...

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