Sunday, December 20, 2009
Some of my blog entries are painful to write, especially if they require me to explore an episode that was negative or unpleasant. This is a story about last Saturday night, when I drove my usual 4-4 night shift. Sometimes the luck of the draw gives you a bad night. Saturday night is normally a good night, since the bar crowd is out and the city buses don’t run, but not for me. I was getting all short runs, that were of the $5.00 variety, with either no tip or the change. At the same time every call that I got was on the opposite end of the city, from where I was at on my last one. Then every so often the passenger flagged down a competitor cab for a ride, just before I arrived and I saw them drive off. I was very discouraged about how the night was going, so I decided to think about my next blog article, which I decided would be about jealousy among drivers. Then around 7:00 PM I dropped off a fare in South Salem, and felt my brakes go to the floor before they grabbed, when I tried to slow down.
I thought to myself, “so now, I’m going to have to waste time taking in my cab and checking out a new one. When I got downtown and was ready to tell the dispatcher that I was coming in, she gave me a call on the east side at Shopko. I decided to chance it, since it was getting slow, and you could wait an hour for the next call in your rotation, unless you were flagged, but the pouring rain usually prevented that. When I arrived, nobody was there, but the dispatcher told me that she was coming from across the street, at 7:30 and I should wait. So I waited, until about 7:40 when a blonde woman, who looked to be in her 40’s got in my cab and told me to take her to Macy’s at Lancaster Mall. On the way there, she told me that she just got out of jail yesterday, and her daughter kept treating her like she was a child. She was a cosmetologist who put on demonstrations at Macy’s, but her daughter wouldn’t let her use her personal line of cosmetics.
By this time I realized that I should have taken my brake crippled cab in, because she was going to burn me. When we got to Macy’s she handed me a debit card, and when I asked for ID, she handed me a Washington state drivers license. As I figured the card was no good, so I took all her information with a promise that she would pay after she returned some items. I gave her my card and took my van into the yard, but all that was available were two sedans, so I took the one with the cup holder for my coffee, and was back in commission. Since the dispatcher knew that the woman owed me money, she sent me to pick her up at 10:00 PM, even though she didn’t ask for me like she was supposed to. When I got there in a different cab, she got in and told me her address, I told her that I needed $20.00 up front to cover her previous trip, plus the current one. She wanted to know why I couldn’t collect from her husband when I dropped her off?
“Because when people owe me money, I don’t drive them again, unless they pay what they already owe,” I told her.
“Then I guess I’ll be walking,” she indignantly said as she got out of the cab.
By midnight I hadn’t booked $100.00, when I should have already have been close to or hit $200.00, so I was feeling pretty low. Especially with 3 other drivers getting long out of town trips to Portland, and Lincoln City, for more than I booked in the last 8 hours. Jealousy was raising its ugly head and I looked it right in the eye, when the final straw occurred. I was sitting top down, on Amtrack, when the dispatcher, who knew that I was now in a sedan, bypassed me to give 2 other drivers a call to pick up some elderly people in a broken down bus, and drive them to Eugene, for $150.00 each. I went nuts, in the privacy of my own cab. Then I spent the next 4 hours doing crap calls for mostly $5.00, until I got off at 4:00 AM, with a lousy $167.00 booked. That was a decent Monday night, but this was Saturday, and last week I nearly hit $400.00.
I was ready to explode, when I pulled into the yard, and vacuumed my cab. I began my paperwork on the bench outside, so I wouldn’t have to talk to the other drivers inside, doing theirs. When I went inside to use the adding machine, number 37, who was one of the two drivers who got the trip to Eugene, asked me, “Did you have a good night?”
“Fuck no!” I told him.
Then I proceeded to beat the adding machine with my totals, until I screwed up the first tape and had to redo it. By the time I was done, I had vented all my hostility about having a lousy night and, number 37 said, “yeah but last week you nearly booked $400.00. You can’t do that every night.”
“Maybe not, but I want to,” I told him.
After I dropped my envelope in the chute and was driving home, I realized how far I fell into being controlled by jealousy. I was ashamed that others had seen this in me, and realized that I would have to apologize to number 37, the next day.