Monday, October 31, 2005

We interrupt this program

One thing I forgot to mention about last night is that, though it was "Mischief Night," or "Hell Night," or whatever you want to call the night before Halloween, I was happy to have absolutely no trouble. I did see a few people in costumes, but my favorite was seeing someone's dog dressed up as a punk, complete with pink mohawk and army shirt. I guess I got in my egging quota a few weeks back.

Meanwhile, a local college radio station rebroadcast the original radio adaptation of "The War of the Worlds" from October 30, 1938. This radio play, performed in honor of Halloween by Orson Welles and his theater company, semi-accidentally convinced people there was an alien invasion in New Jersey (I wish). Since most people missed the disclaimers at the beginning of the broadcast, the program inspired widespread hysteria and panic. Listening to it now, it sounds so completely outlandish, it's hard to believe it had such a real impact. But, from what I've read, America was pretty tense in the days before WWII, and many people thought the aliens were a metaphor for the Germans. I'd never heard it before, so it was good entertainment for one of the slow late hours in the shift.

Aside from that, the oddest moment of the night was when three rabbis -- real rabbis, not Halloweeners -- got in the cab and had me take them to Borough Park, Brooklyn. It was exactly like the beginning of a politically incorrect joke: "Three rabbis get into a cab..." Too bad there was no real punchline to the ride.


Scott T. said...

In Detroit we use to call it Devil's Night. Until we realized that burning the city down every year was more dangerous than helpful or fun. Now they call it Angel's Night.

Johnie said...

Nice interview on Gothamist.

Anonymous said...

Hey there! I really love your blog. So many people just get in and out of cabs without ever thinking about the driver, and that they have a life of their own fer cryin' out loud.

But help me out here: I moved to NYC 12 years ago, and have lived in Brooklyn the whole time. For the first ten years in Williamsburg at the top of Bedford Ave, now in Brooklyn Heights. Whenever I decide to get a cab home from the city, I either get a totally calm person who just drives me to where I'm going, or I get someone who goes BUCK WILD freaking out about having to go to Brooklyn.

I've argued with plenty of 'em, and so many have claimed that it ruins their *entire* night's take, it's crazy. Mathematically, in a 12 hour shift, that doesn't seem possible. What gives? I'll take your word as gospel. If I'm screwin' up a cabbie's whole night, I'll take the subway! I just don't see how that could be, let alone the completely mental response it sometimes generates.

School us outer-boroughers.

douglas said...

found your blog via Gothamist and I have to say i'm enjoying it thoroughly. having moved here from Chicago it's interesting getting a first person insight into an industry/business/occupation that partially defines New York

Anonymous said...

your interview on gothamist, one of only a few that i actually read all the way through. and now, i'm enjoying your blog. interesting stuff! you are one brave girl :D

jen said...

great blog - i love the way you tell your stories. reading through here as brought back a lot of cab-related memories from my nyc days. thanks.

Anonymous said...

For some unknown reason, in Rockland County, New York, it was called Gate Night and toilet paper (unused) was unfurled over the trees. By the way, where did you grow up?

M.P. said...

It does not screw up our entire night to go out to Brooklyn. It just sucks when you drive so far out and lose time coming back empty. Those in the know usually tip a little extra to make it a little less painful, but many don't. That's up to you. I'm surprised that the drivers flip out for having to go to areas like Williamsburg and Brooklyn Heights, since, not only are they both so close to the city, these neighborhoods offer a better chance of finding a fare back to the the city than, say, Bed-Stuy or Bay Ridge. Last night I did about eight trips to Brooklyn. I wasn't thrilled about it because it was so busy in the city and I wanted as little lag time between fares as possible so I could make the most money possible in my 12 hours with the cab. But, ultimately, it was fine. It certainly didn't ruin my night. And I never complain to my passengers about having to go the outer boroughs. It's just part of the job and you can't really avoid it. Besides, I live in Brooklyn, too.

As for Gate Night, it's so weird that this was brought up because I totally forgot about it. And I grew up in Rockland County!

EverJack1 said...

I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog, m.p. You are a brave lady to drive a cab at night.

I learned about your blog in a Lubbock, Tx. newspaper..... and I'm glad that I did. How does it feel to know that your 'words' are being read from just about everywhere?

Please take care out there.


mamdigs said...