Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Friday Night Waybill - take 1

A "waybill" is a log of jobs, fares, customers as kept by a taxi driver. I list on this "waybill" starting destination, ending destination, charge account number IF this job is being paid via company account and the total amount of the fare.

As a taxi driver, you're SUPPOSED to keep a complete and thorough list of the jobs you've done over the course of the night. One reason for this is to keep track of where you've been and what you've been doing as you've been driving around, doing this weird job of taxi driving.

Another reason is one of liability. A waybill means I'm working. I'm not being sketchy. I'm actually transporting customers around and not selling drugs or being involved in other criminal activity. I guess I could make up all kinds of things for a waybill and still be doing whatever the hell I want, but the point of me personally being in a taxi cab driving around in the first place is to make money to pay my bills, to cover my expenses and to basically live life. Some guys sleep in their cab. Some are doing drug deals. Some are trying to pick up the "local talent". I'm working. Period.

So... Friday night... job by job...

Park Ave / Maywood to UMass Hospital on Lake Ave. Transported a young college girl clear across town to the hospital, cab ride paid for by Clark University. Later on that night, I lucked into getting this fare again going BACK to Clark. That's about $30 round trip.

Work release program jail guys going from the Holden Industrial Park back to the jail. Guys going from the jail to the Wendy's restaurant they work at. Later on, I lucked into getting the Oil Doctor work release guy while I was over by Lincoln Plaza and the job that led me there had cancelled, so I waited ten minutes for the jail guy.

After I dropped off the Clark U girl at UMass' ER, I picked up the large, strange dude who had tried to wave me down just before I dropped Clark U girl off. He was over by the bus stop and he was still there after I turned around to go pick him up. He said he was a "charge" (that his ride was being paid for by CHL - Community HealthLink) and I had this verified by the dispatcher. Okie dokie. The guy wanted to be driven to South Main Street. The weird part of this story - and the sad part, too - was that his "girlfiend?" had just gotten on a city bus heading towards City Hall and he wanted me to catch up with her. "Follow that bus!" Okay, whatever. He tells me along the way to City Hall, which was on our way to South Main anyway, that he had many ailments and life problems and this woman that we were chasing after was one of them. She is a drug addict. The hospital wouldn't prescribe her pain killers. She was pissed about this. She was pissed with the guy. She somehow begged for bus fare and off she was to score / find / obtain drugs downtown. Oh, and she's bi-polar, too, the guy tells me. We catch up with the bus and the girl and she looks semi-retarded and alot older than she probably really is. She's reluctant to get in the cab with the guy, but she does. She's belligerent, rude, foul-mouthed and both of them seem to be deeply entrenched in total dysfunction involving love, dependency, substance abuse, health problems, poverty and all this was going on in my taxi cab. I drop the two of them off BEFORE reaching our intended destination because the girl is now threaten to just get out of the cab as the cab is moving and I can't have that happen. I drop them off and away they go, off to whatever sad little world they occupy.

Real life - real, all too real life goes on in my cab. It's amazing, scary, heartbreaking, exciting, thought-provoking and right there in the car with me. This blog was supposed to be a blow by blow account of one Friday's night of work, but it';s really hard to do that when there is so much to say about each fare and how the fares as a list interact with eachother or relate to eachother.

I picked up a regular customer of mine over in Shrewsbury and was to bring her clear across town to Quinsig Village for a metting she had to go to. I was to come back and pick her up in about an hour and a half or so. Well, in that hour and a half, I just happened to get a fare at an elderly apt complex in Quinsig Village going to St. V's ER because of a persistent migraine headache. This elderly woman told me of her own volition that her now ex-husband had just recently split with her, that he had had a much younger girlfriend even before they got married and that his refusal to giver this girlfriend up is what tore their marriage apart. This elderly woman was on the verge of a tearful breakdown in my cab and there I was bringing her on a "charge account" to the Emergency Room where she's probably be waiting for in excess of five hours, waiting for some sort of help in easing her Migraine headache pain.

I lucked out and got two girls at the train station needing a $10 taxi ride to Holy Cross. They were from Boston, had no idea about getting around in Worcester. They were visiting friends at Holy Cross College.

I brought a Hispanic mother of two boys on a charge on over to UMass' ER from Great Brook Valley, a very large low income housing project that alot of people are afraid to go through.

A sporadic regular customer called me to pick him up on William Street and drive him to Ralph's Diner where he'd be seeing oldschool punk rock band Murphy's Law.

I picked up a regular customer at the Beechwood Hotel and brought him home to Barclay St. He works at the hotel. His wife works semi-across the way at the funeral parlor.

I got Mrs. B, an elderly woman who works at a grocery store and returned her home to near Lincoln Village. We had a conversation about how the local cable company was trying to screw everybody and about how they aggressively try to push internet services on an elderly woman living on the edge of utter poverty, living alone in a little apartment off off Lincoln Street, who barelay has basic cable to begin with and doesn't even own a computer. The ongoing joke per the Dispatcher that Friday night was to keep a metal track / note of how many different personal ailments Mrs. B complains about / brings up in conversation. Actually, this isn't as mean or cruel as it sounds. She usually DOES have quite a bit to say on the topic of ailments / aches & pains, but this time around, she only complained about her legs hurting as she made her way out of the cab. I always help Mrs. B by carrying her groceries to the door for her and opening the heavy cab door for her. This isn't required of me, but you know... a cab ride doesn't have to be drudgery. This old woman deserves these small bits of kindness / courtesy. AND, the faster I can assist her WHILE BEING POLITE & HELPFUL out of the cab, the faster I can move on to my next fare...

Semi-nearby, I was sent along with another cab over to an upscale apartment complex to pick up about 8 people all going out drinking somewhere. Cab 55 and I found the building, circled around it twice trying to figure out what door these folks would emerge from. I had just given up hope and was about to leave (cab 55 had already told me he was leaving) and the gaggle of people came out of the building. There were more than 8 of them and cabs can legally only take 4 passengers plus the taxi driver due to the number of seatbelts. Cab 55 returned. I told the passengers about the 4 passenger rule. They discussed this amongst themselves and some decided that they'd carpool in their own car and I ended up with 4 customers going $12 worth of a ride on over to the Blackstone Tap bar and cab 55 got no one. Big waste of time.

Much like how on Thursday night, my cab and cab 36 were sent to Hackfeld Street to pick up at least 8 people. We sat outside the address where college students were milling about, smoking, talking, deliberating who was going, who wasn't, what's the plan, oops I forgot something, hold on a minute, where is everybody... all kinds of bullshit. If you call for a cab, BE READY FOR THE CAB. Have your plan together. Don't screw around. I do this job for a living and in all seriousness, time IS money and if you waste my time, I am losing out on potential income. These Hackfeld Street college students, in the end, decided that no one was taking a cab and they had basically wasted the time of two taxi cab drivers. They called for two cabs again about ten minutes later, adter we'd already left. The Dispatcher asks me if he should send 2 cabs and I tell him of how disorganized and messed up and undecided these kids are and he thanks me for filling him in on this. Turns out that Yellow Cab had already decided NOT to send any more cabs for these losers going to a technical college for exorbitant amounts of money, but they haven't got enough brains in their skulls to figure out HOW to take a taxi. Idiots.

I could go on and on. And I'll tell more later, but it's my day off today. And as much as I enjoy cab driving and telling cab stories, I have laundry to do, food to cook, cleaning to do, a shower to take and none of this involves a taxi cab or any of this OTHER real life / real world stuff that I engage in every night. As much as all this real life stuff is exciting and interesting, it's also really tiring and draining.

Tonight I'm cooking dinner for my girlfriend. We'll be drinking yummy Creme Brulee cream stout. And later on going to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show with her family out in Western Mass. (Why doesn't Worcester do cool things like a weeks of scary movies before Halloween? Or a month-long celebration of spookiness? No, Worcester has stabbing incidents at 2:30 AM on Franklin Street. I guess that's as scary as Worcester can get...)

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