Tuesday, October 12, 2010
So at some point in the mid 1990’s I came to the conclusion that I believed in destiny. That’s one of those theological questions that you study in Bible college and Seminary when you get to the chapter in the theology book that searches for a middle ground between predestination and volition. The Bible supported them both, so I got to thinking, maybe neither are right or wrong, but apply in certain ways in certain situations. When and where it’s hard to say, but when the time comes you don’t think anymore about choosing, than you do about breathing. What is destiny? It is something that was destined to happen, such as an event, a discovery or the fame of a person, all of which is worthless, unless there is some sort of purpose to this existence that we call life. Then again if there is no purpose to what we achieve, then this is all a waste of time, but that is because of being conscious of this moment.
I believe that I have a destiny, and I will not die, until I fulfill it. However, what that is, I don’t know. And what purpose it will achieve in the grand context of everything, I don’t know. It could be as insignificant as turning off the TV, or as important as writing a book, but I will never know, at least in this dimension of reality, unless we return and the entity that was me, has a memory.
When I drive a taxi cab shift, it has a destiny, which I have learned to submit myself to, as much of the time as I don’t. It is hard to kick against the pricks, but sometimes a shift stretches your faith. In order to survive as a taxi cab driver, you have to have faith and believe that it will all average out, even if you only get $5.00 grocery runs with dime tips for the first three hours. Sometimes it can turn around with one run. Then other times, it’s just a matter of the type of runs that you begin getting, as you graduate from $5.00 runs with dime tips to $20.00 runs with $5.00 tips.
You also have to have faith and believe that if it is your destiny to drive a taxi, then you will be able to have a clean driving and felony crime record. The former is more of a problem than the latter, and has ended many a taxi drivers’ career. The rule at Yellow Cab is, if you get 7 points worth of moving violations, or accidents that are your fault, then their insurance carrier won’t cover you anymore, so you cannot drive a cab. The average ticket, like running a red light, or speeding 10-15 miles over the limit is worth 2 points each, so you could get 4, before you’re history, and taxi driving is no longer your destiny.
Then there is the destiny involved in the fares that you drive, as you become all things to all people. The parade of people that pass through the doors of a cab drivers taxi will run the gamut, just like last weekend. Sometimes things coincide, through synchronicity or chance and create a snapshot in time. Like the 40 year old Latino guy that I picked up at the apartments behind “Jack N The Box” on Hyacinth off Portland Road. While we drove down Hawthorne to an apartment on Sunnyview, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The USA” was playing, as I thought of Cheech Marin’s comedy, “Born In East L.A..
When we arrived at the apartments, I found out that we were just picking up some people and heading back to the apartment on Hyacinth. The additional passengers were a Latino couple, who were in their 30’s, and the woman was obviously in charge, even though I couldn’t understand what she was saying, since it was in Spanish, peppered with occasional English profanity.
“Parar fucking la tienda!” The woman kept repeating.
I found out that she wanted to go to the “Plaid Pantry, before they get to the apartments, so my original passenger asked me to drop them off there. I picked up my next fare at LaMovida, and we headed to apartments on Center, on the East side of Lancaster, and on the way there, his cell phone kept ringing, and he answered it a couple of times and had a heated argument in Spanish with someone who I concluded was female, from the occasional English profanity and Spanish words that I was familiar with. After he hung up the receiver he apologized to me.
As the night was wearing me out with angry fares who were either drunk or on drugs, I picked up 3 people at Hong Kong House and drove them way out Sunnyside, in the middle of nowhere. Right from the start, the 300 lb. plus guy sitting up front with me started to complain about having to wait so long to get picked up and said that he should get a discount. Over the years I’ve just ignored people, or if they were insistent about a discount I would tell them to call the boss, the next day, and give them a Yellow Cab blank receipt with the phone number. This guy shut up once we got going, but then they wanted to stop at “El Taco Grande,” the Mexican drug Cartel’s money laundering operation here in the Northwest. I pulled in, and hit the time button on the meter as soon as they got out. After about 10 minutes they came out, and the big guy with the mouth was down at the convenience store buying beer, so I drove down there.
After I picked my straggling passenger up, we headed to the address he gave me, as he began to rant and rage about how much he hated Yellow Cab. I didn’t feel like stirring up a hornet’s nest by asking him why he was riding in one, but before I could have reacted he told me that “Around The Town Taxi” was the best company in town and I should work for them. I told him that it was just a job to me, and he said that I should take pride in my job. At that point I knew that he would either try to shaft me on the fare or at the least be a problem.
It was the busiest part of the night, with bar rush and this guy was wasting my time. After we did a credit card, it came back rejected. Because of it being so busy, the radio took longer than normal to get through on, and it took longer than normal to run that first credit card, while my passenger ranted about how much he hated Yellow Cab, and this was the reason why. I didn’t like having to deal with hostile drunks who were angered by the inordinate amount of time it took to run their credit cards. I hate credit cards, at least in the present system we use, because we don't have credit card machines, but just use sliders to get the imprint and then have to call it in over the radio, and let the dispatcher run it in the office.
Then he came up with an American Express card, and I remembered him from a few years ago when he was bitching about not getting a discount for having a AAA card. The American Express card worked and I got paid, but he forgot to sign the receipt, and when I asked him to he refused and threw it at me and told me that he hates Yellow Cab and to get the hell out of his driveway. The guy is a passenger from hell, that I will never drive again, if I recognize him, but even if I don’t he will make himself known, because it is his destiny.