Friday, January 27, 2006
I just got home and I'm exhausted. It was a weird shift, but it turned out okay. My second fare of the day was the guy pictured above, named Teddy Geiger, who is some up-and-coming 17-year-old musician, and who also was on that new tv show called "Love Monkey" recently. He's opening for Brandi Carlile at Mercury Lounge next month.
After dropping him off, I ended up back uptown on Central Park West when I got stuck behind some Nissan that was driving like a zombie. They kept stopping at green lights and swerving into the other traffic lanes and just generally driving like fucking idiots. When I finally pulled up next to them, I saw what the problem was. The occupants of the car were leisurely smoking a joint. I tried to get a picture, but when the light turned green, they were actually paying attention and started driving again.
Later on, one of my passengers got in, took a second look at me, and said, "Wait, weren't you on tv tonight?" I said, "I believe so, though I haven't seen it yet." So he proceeded to describe the entire ABC News segment for me in detail. It was so weird having a passenger tell me stuff about myself, but I have to admit, I kind of liked it. It was certainly better than having to answer the same tired old questions over and over again.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
So the Associated Press did an article about me, and the result has been a whirlwind of attention. To be honest, it's all a little overwhelming, but I figure I'll just enjoy it while it lasts. So this morning I agreed to be interviewed by Kemberly Richardson (pictured above) for ABC News, and, though I was nervous, it turned out to be a lot of fun. The segment should appear on either Wednesday or Thursday during the 5:00 p.m. broadcast. I'm only now beginning to wrap my brain around all this, it's just so utterly surreal, but it has certainly made the past few days interesting, to say the least.
UPDATE: Supposedly the segment is gonna run tonight (Thursday) during the 6:00 pm broadcast. I won't be able to watch because I'll be in the cab by then, but I'll be taping it.
Monday, January 23, 2006
It was another slow shift tonight. And though there weren't many people taking cabs, there were more than enough asshole drivers on the streets. Seen above is yet another Jersey fuck who doesn't know how to drive. This guy decided that, rather than pulling off to the side, he needed to stop dead in the middle of Bleecker St to ask a parked cab driver for directions. When I honked at him so that maybe he would make enough room for other cars to pass, he refused to move, despite the fact that about 10 cars were now stuck behind him. Only when he finally did start driving again did he decide to pull off to the side, but only for a second because apparently he wanted to get behind me so he could honk back at me. So not only was I stuck behind this idiot for five minutes, but now I was stuck in front of him with him leaning on the horn non-stop. A lady standing on the sidewalk finally got so annoyed with him, she yelled, "Shut the fuck up and go back to Jersey!" Too bad she wasn't looking for a cab because I would've given her a free ride.
Meanwhile, anyone know Prizzy is? Or, I mean, was? There were four cars painted with this message driving west on Houston, and they were speeding like maniacs and weaving in and out of traffic. When I commented on this to my passengers at the time, they said, "Whoever he was, if they don't stop driving like that, they'll be joining him soon."
Friday, January 20, 2006
I got to see the sunset tonight from underneath the FDR, facing the Brooklyn Bridge.
Later, while on the FDR going towards the Brooklyn Bridge, I got stuck in this fucked up traffic. What annoys me most about this is it's a totally unecessary backup. For whatever reason, the NYPD seems to think that placing two cop cars in the left lane at the beginning of the bridge will act as a deterrent to terrorism, when in fact all it does is create a long slow-moving stream of tired and angry drivers that reaches all the way up to the Williamsburg Bridge. I don't really see the point. It's not like they ever pull anyone over to make sure they're not terrorists, and besides, how could they possibly know? Meanwhile, anyone who has to go to Brooklyn at night is completely terrorized by the traffic.
My passengers at this time were two drunk ladies who needed to go to Coney Island Ave and Ave H. When they saw the traffic, they told me to take the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel instead. Of course, there was construction work on the tunnel, so that ended up creating even more aggravation, with everyone merging into one little lane. So, basically, the message the city's sending is, if you live in Brooklyn and need to get home at night, sucks for you.
Speaking of cops, earlier in the evening, about 30 or 40 cops, all with lights flashing, lined up on both sides of 1st Ave above 34th St. I have no idea what they were doing, but I'm assuming it was some sort of exercise. Still, with news on the radio that Osama Bin Laden has resurfaced and has renewed his pledge to fuck with the U.S., it was slightly alarming to see this many cops in one place. And yet, despite their great number, all these cops still managed to cause less traffic than those two that sit on the goddamn Brooklyn Bridge.
And one more related item: Tonight I saw a new form of undercover cop car. As you may know, many precincts have taxis that are used as undercover vehicles, which is pretty smart as it is. But tonight, for the first time ever, I saw a church van with tinted windows blow its cover by flashing its police lights to get through a particularly bad traffic snarl. Most drivers were so surprised that they didn't take it seriously enough to pull over and make room until the van made the sirens blare. Who knew?
Friday, January 13, 2006
The usual. I have no idea what I did that pissed this woman off so much, but she told me I could kiss her ass, gave me the finger, and even held it for me when I pulled out the camera.
Not so usual was seeing a roll of toilet paper hanging off the back of a parked cab. It's like the cab walked out of the bathroom with toilet paper stuck to its shoe. How embarrassing.
Later on, I took these two guys, named John and Steve, to a hotel in Livingston, New Jersey. They were extremely friendly and curious about me and, somewhere along the way, the blog came up. After that, they were desperate to be mentioned on it. I told them they had to do something interesting for me to write about it, so the whole rest of the ride they said things like, "Okay, there's a bank over there. Pull over and we'll rob it. Will that get us on the blog?" Ultimately, nothing out of the ordinary happened on the trip except that they were very nice to me and tipped generously. So, though they didn't give me the finger and tell me to kiss their asses, I'm happy to fulfill their wish here.
Monday, January 09, 2006
These are the rules posted in the taxi hold lot at JFK, where I spent some time tonight, as usual. I think my favorite is "Do not prepare any types of food."
The most annoying thing that happened today was when some lady tried to stop another lady from getting in my cab in front of Bed, Bath & Beyond on 6 Ave and 18th St. I was dropping off a passenger there and the first woman was hailing a cab. I pulled up right next to her because that's where my passengers wanted to get out. The meter was off, which means that the roof light was on (the two are connected: when the meter is on, the roof light is off, and vice versa), and the people were paying me. The lady on the street scowled at me and walked back to the cab behind me. Then, when another woman started getting in my cab, she walked back up and told the woman getting in that she shouldn't take my cab. Then she turned to me and through the window said, "It's really tacky to do that." I was completely confused, so I asked, "Do what?" She replied, ""Your light was on but you still had people in your cab, and you were trying to get me to take you. It's not right. There are other cabs behind you that are free." The lady getting in looked at me to see what I was gonna say, so I was just like, "I have no idea what you're talking about. They were paying me. That means the meter was off, which makes the light go on. I don't have any control over that." But she just walked away in a self-righteous huff and the other lady ultimately got in, but what the fuck? I am so utterly sick of people thinking every cabbie is out to rip them off or do some shady shit. Has this woman never taken a cab before? We drop people off, and other people get in after the first people have paid. That's how it works. And besides, it's the nature of the game that we cabbies have to play with each other. We try to get the next passenger we see, at the expense of the cabs behind us. It was a minor event, but it was annoying. And since I went to work in a bad mood to begin with, this ignorant bitch only made it worse.
But eventually the night got better, especially when I picked up three people in the Meat Packing district going to the Waldorf Astoria. One was a publicist and the other two, a man and a woman, were her clients. The guy said he was "on MTV." I didn't recognize him though, since I don't have cable, and who watches MTV anymore anyway? The other woman said she was a porn star. Apparently these two had been married for a little while until the guy came out as gay. When I asked to take their picture, the guy said no because he couldn't be seen in a picture with the porn star. Then they tried to guess my age and I half-jokingly proposed a wager. We decided that if they guessed correctly, their ride would be free. If they guessed wrong, they said they would give me triple the fare. I look much younger than my age, so I was pretty confident they would guess wrong, which they did. When we got to the hotel, the fare was $9.40. They gave me $11 total. I wonder if they would've insisted on the free ride if they had guessed correctly.
Later on, a young guy and girl got in on the Lower East Side wanting to go to Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. Immediately the guy said, "Do you do a blog? I think I recognize you." He had read the blog! I was pretty excited and told them how Diego had a passenger last night who recognized him from the picture I posted a month or two ago. (And it appears this passenger has left a comment under the previous post, by the way.) We had a pleasant chat and, at the end of the trip, he gave me $20 on an $11 fare. Funny how that works: nice regular people from Brooklyn tip much more generously than porn stars and publicists who stay at the Waldorf.
In the meantime, though I may only be able to make money from doing this blog in the form of generous tips from the few passengers who've happened upon it, someone else appears to be capitalizing off of it. I recently noted one commenter on this site has created New York Hack t-shirts (albeit with the image of a London taxi on it, not a Crown Vic). Whoever you are, can I by any chance get one of them? For free?
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
I got out early from the garage this afternoon and it turned out to be a pretty good night, even though I thought it would be dead with everyone at home recovering from the holiday weekend. And luckily, there wasn't too much drama in the cab tonight either.
The only marginally interesting moment was when three young drunk girls got into the cab around 10:30. They were all revved up and talking at the same time so that I couldn't hear them tell me where they wanted to go. I had to act like a parent for a minute and say, "Okay, one at a time. One of you has to tell me where to go." When this was finally accomplished, they peppered me with all sorts of questions about being a cab driver. One of the girls got really excited and told some story about her dad's friend named Sam who was a cab driver and who was the smartest man her dad ever met. She was like, "Yeah, and my dad went to Oxford and Columbia. Class of '66. But he thinks this guy Sam is the most brilliant man ever. He recommended all these books to him, like Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Have you heard of it?" I responded, "Yeah, didn't you read that in high school?" And she said, "No! I'm in high school now and we haven't read it! I'm a junior!" They couldn't believe I had actually read Siddhartha, and all of a sudden, I felt sort of old. I read that book maybe 15 years ago, when I was 15. It's odd to think that way. Thirty isn't really that old, but when you're driving a gaggle of drunk giggling teenage girls home, it sure feels like it.
Anyway, as they were paying and getting out, one of the girls goes, "You're really hot. I'm sure it's annoying because you probably get hit on all the time, but I just have to tell you, I think you're totally hot!" Then they got out and waved as I drove away.
I actually don't get hit on in the cab too often, which I consider to be a good thing, but it does happen from time to time. And when it does, it's usually pretty uncomfortable for me. I've been asked for my number and I've been offered drinks, food, and massages. I've also had one woman jokingly (I hope) offer to pay me in sex instead of cash while she had her girlfriend (who was in Portugal) connected on the cell phone. For some reason, however, the girls tonight didn't really bother me. It was almost cute how energetic and excited they were, and the girl who told me she thought I was hot had major balls, and that needs to be respected.
On a related note, I once drove a woman home who told me she had married her cab driver. He picked her up and they made a connection. Numbers were exchanged, dates went on, and eventually a marriage was had. At the time of our conversation, they had been married for nine years.