Monday, September 27, 2010

A Happy Greeting

Something that I learned along the way was the importance of greeting my passengers with a smile and a, “Hi, how are you?” Doing this at the earliest possible moment establishes that you are a nice guy and are happy to see them, which sets the tone for the rest of the trip, even if there are a few bumps, due to temporary brain malfunctions, related to alcohol over-saturation.

The weekend began with “The Night of the Moron Drunks, on Friday, even though the full moon was waning. The epitome of stupidity for a passenger to stoop to in my mind, is when they want to talk to the dispatcher on my radio. Maybe they just want to act like they are a taxi driver, or maybe they want to imitate a truck driver or maybe they want to tell the dispatcher what a wonderful person their taxi driver is, but whatever the reason, it represents a level of what I call Juvenile drunken intelligence.

Around Midnight or so I picked up a couple at the Can Can, who were obnoxiously drunk, and the female sat up front with me. After I called in the pickup and address, she wanted to talk to the dispatcher, who she said she knew. After I tried to deter her, I finally gave up and just turned the radio off, as she grabbed the microphone and babbled incoherently into the microphone, while I drove them to their address.

Saturday began with a major accident on I-5 that ended up in a traffic jam on both Hawthorne and Lancaster, as the traffic diverted and tried to move on. One of my passengers that I picked up a few hours later was a witness, only 3 cars away from the scene. It seems that a car somehow jumped from one side of the freeway to the other and hit an SUV head on, killing the driver, who was thrown from the vehicle, and injuring the other juvenile passengers. The rest of the night was pretty much uneventful.

Around 2:00 AM I got a call to get Sean at Vons Tavern. On the way there, I realized that it was the guy who usually had a Yellow Cab voucher from the bar, and wanted to go out of the way to stop at the Mexican food meat wagon, and not have to pay anything extra. Sure enough it was one and the same. Let me explain Sean to you, at least from my perspective, which you must take with many grains of salt.

He was in his early 30’s, and was a low life moocher that tried to always con his way out of paying for anything, and would scream to high heaven if he had to use any of his money. Then he would never give you a tip, unless it was the change from the dollar. When the bartender pointed me to him, I told him that I would be waiting outside. After about 2 or 3 minutes, he came out with a woman, that I’d never seen before, who got into the back seat with him.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“Muchos Gracias, and step on it,” he said.

The woman in the back seat with him asked, “Is this cab driver a friend of yours?”

“No,” he answered.

“Then why are you talking to him like that?” She asked, as he stumbled all over himself, failing to find the words to answer.

I thought to myself, I like this woman, maybe she can knock some sense into this bonehead. When we pulled into Muchos, there was a cop with a car and a tow truck, indicating a DUI.

“It’s a good thing that we are taking a cab,” Sean said, as I pulled up to the order microphone, with my time meter on. Then they began ordering Oregon Burritos and Quesadillas while the meter clicked. We were second in line, but by the time that we got our order and drove back out onto Capitol the meter was already at nearly $8.00.

“I see you ran a hot meter on me,” Sean said as we started heading to his address.

“What do you tell your boss, when they tell you to punch out and work off the clock?” I asked him.

“I’d tell them to go fuck themselves,” the female anwered.

“Cab driver’s don’t get paid an hourly wage, and the only time that they are making money is when the meter is clicking,” I explained. “This is the busiest time of the night, and calls are backed up, so if you want me to wait for you, you are going to pay.”

“I work on commission too,” the woman answered, “so I understand what you are talking about.”

“What do you do?” I asked her.

“I’m a makeup artist,” she answered. “I sell makeup at one of the most prestigious beauty salons in town, and at the same time, I will apply it to the customers if they want. It’s all very expensive, so the only reason why you would buy it is if you knew that it would do what you wanted. The cheap items run $70.00 to $100.00, and with my services the price could double.”

When we pulled up to Sean’s house, there were 2 SUV’s parked in the driveway, and one of them was all banged up. The woman asked what they were, and he said that he was selling the damaged one, and she asked why anyone would want to buy something like that? The fare came to $12.60, and Sean gave me a $20.00 bill, so I handed him $7.00 change, which he took and pocketed, as I wrote down the fare and, a .40 tip. Then as they got out of the cab, the woman turned to me and said here is your tip, as she handed me a $5.00 bill, to Sean’s protests, as she told him to shut up

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