Monday, February 15, 2010

The Birthday Girls

Overall it was a relatively uneventful weekend of driving taxi. Both Friday and Saturday were busy, and booked close to $300.00 each night, along with a total of over $100.00 in tips. The way that I determine whether an episode or passenger is worth including in my blog, or entering in my journal, is by the emotional impact that they make on me, or if I remember them the next day. Sometimes the night is too hectic to try and write journal entries, unless I force myself to, so I just do my job. On those nights I put my memory on auto pilot and wait until it plays itself back, the next day after I wake up. Sometimes the night’s memories can seem uneventful, but as the dross floats to the surface, there remains a story, or a connection, between passengers or incidents.

Around 9:00 PM, on Saturday night, I was driving the number 44 van, when I got a call to a nice house in South Keizer. I sat out front and waited until 3 people got in my cab. An attractive woman who looked to be in her mid 40’s sat up front with me, while a couple who appeared to be in their mid 29’s sat in back. The younger couple were the woman’s daughter and spouse. It was the older woman’s birthday, and they were going to Copper John’s downtown to celebrate. On the way there we talked about movies that they had recently seen and the one that they just watched was fresh in their minds, was “Pretty In Pink”. It was the coming of age movie for the mother, who shared it with her daughter. When we arrived at the bar, the woman up front paid me and gave me a $3.00 tip.

“If you need a cab later,” I told her, “ask for Number 25.”

An hour later I got a call to “Copper John’s,” and I thought that it might be the same group, but it was three women, who appeared to be in their early 30’s. One sat up front with me, and two sat in back, when they told me that they were going to the South Liberty Bar & Grill. The South Liberty Bar is one of the hot spots in Salem, owned by the Beamer family, who own a few other bars as well. After we started driving one of the women in back asked me what my name was, and when I said Bob, they all shrieked and said, “no, anything but Bob.”

“I guess that you must have had a bad experience with someone named Bob,” I told them, “how about Robert?”

“No!” They said, “it has to be something different.”

Suddenly I remembered my alter ego name, Trevor. When you spelled Robert backwards, it read Trebor, so I said, “just call me Trevor.”

They all liked Trevor and began to put their hands all over me, as I continued down the street, then as I entered the parking lot of the South Lib, the woman up front with me asked me to guess the age of the woman in back who was celebrating her birthday. I realized that I would be in trouble if I guessed too high, so I tried to weasel out of it by saying that it was dark and I was looking at her in my rear view mirror, but that didn’t work. I guessed that the woman up front with me was in her early 30’s, so I said 29, they all began cheering. The woman up front paid me and gave me a $5.00 tip, as she told me that the birthday girl was 31 today. After the other two women got out, the woman, whose birthday it was put her hands around my neck and kissed me repeatedly as she thanked me for guessing that she was younger than she was.

They reminded me of another group of women that I drove from Cokie’s Landing to the South Liberty Bar & Grill, on Friday night. Nobody was celebrating a birthday, but they wanted to know my name, and when I said Bob, the woman up front, with me, who had some Hispanic blood in her, said “Roberto, you are Roberto.”

“Yeah, you can call me Robert if you want,” I said.

“Roberto, your name is Roberto,” my passenger insisted.

So I agreed with her and she gave me a $5.00 tip. Around 1:00 AM, I got a call for the South Liberty Bar & Grill, to pick up some people who asked for me. I wasn’t sure exactly who it was, since I dropped off more than one group, plus other people sometimes ask for me. It ended up being the first trio, of the woman in her mid 40’s going out for her birthday with her daughter and son in law. They were going back to the house in South Keizer, but wanted to stop at a 7/11 on the way, which we did. The woman whose birthday it was, had an okay time, but said that she really didn’t fit in the bars that they went to, which were a much younger crowd. When I dropped them all off at my starting address, the woman gave me a $5.00 tip.

One of my last fares of the night was, a group of Mexican young people, who looked to be in their early 20’s. I picked them up at a house party in the downtown area and drove them to the apartments on Silver Park, off Silverton Road. As I drove them they talked in Spanish, with some occasional English. We passed a couple of Sheriff’s cars, who had a guy pulled over, just West of Lancaster. One of the guys got out on the corner of Silverton and Lancaster, while I waited for the light. When I arrived at their apartment, they paid me and the female asked me what my name was.

“Bob,” I told her. Then I thought better of it and said “Roberto, my name is Roberto.”

They all laughed as they got out, and the guy who paid me, gave me a $1.00 tip.

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