Monday, February 20, 2006
It was a long, disjointed night. I got into a screaming match with the cabbie pictured here. What sucks about writing this is that I spend so much time trying to defend cab drivers, but I have to admit, there are quite a few who drive like fucking animals. This guy in particular pulled a really fucked up move that forced me into oncoming traffic. We were both making the left turn from 11th Ave onto 23rd St. There are two turn lanes, so two cars can turn at the same time as long as they stay in the lane they were turning from.
I was in the left lane, this guy was in the right. But as he made the turn, he cut over into the left lane on 23rd, where I was heading, thus making me swerve onto the other side of the street. Luckily there were no cars coming and I was able to fall back in time. He must've seen this happen, because when I pulled up next to him after he finally moved back into the right lane, he rolled his window down and started yelling at me. Of course, he believed very strongly that he did absolutely nothing wrong and that I was an asshole for trying to turn next to him, even though that's what the traffic markers called for.
I was so pissed off, I started yelling back, and we drove side by side for a minute just screaming like maniacs at each other. He was saying, "You have a problem? What's wrong with you?" He was just so innocent. I replied, "I wouldn't have a problem if you learned how to fucking drive." He gave me the typical "Suck my dick." And I gave him my standard answer to that request, which is, "I would if you had one, but since you don't, you can suck mine!" My intention was to imply that his penis is so small that even a girl, who has no penis, still has a bigger dick than him. I couldn't tell if he was confused or offended, but right after that he turned down 9th Ave while I got hailed and picked up my next passenger. Either way, I considered it a victory.
As the night wore on, the club business increased. I picked up a guy on 7th Ave and W. 4th St going to the gay leather bar The Eagle on 28th between 10th and 11th (which is, incidentally, just down the block from Scores West). When we started talking, I found out he works for Virgin Airlines and is the guy who listens to your phone calls when you hear the message that says, "This call will be recorded for quality purposes." I am thrilled to know that someone really does listen to our phone calls when we talk to these companies. I did not reveal to him that our conversation was being recorded for blog purposes.
I had to take a bathroom break at one point, so I went to one of the places cabbies frequent for such purposes on 8th Ave between 55th and 56th Sts. This sign is posted there so that cab drivers can park without difficulty. Actually, the sign designates the block as a "Taxi Stand," which means we need to be in or near our cabs awaiting passengers. This is slightly different from the signs that say "Taxi Relief Stand," which means we can park there and leave the cab to eat and pee and do whatever else needs to be done. Both of these types of sign are posted in various locations all over the city. However, regardless of what the signs say, private non-cab cars always seem to be parked on these blocks.
When I pulled up to this one, there was one cab parked there and about eight or nine regular cars taking up the entire block. I really needed to pee, though, so I just double-parked and ran inside. There was no way I could afford to drive around looking for a legal spot. I wasn't gonna make it. And it just sucks because, even though these blocks are supposed to be reserved for cabbies, the cars that park there never get ticketed. On the other hand, if a cop came along at that moment, there is a high likelihood that I would've received a ticket for double-parking next to them. Why doesn't the NYPD enforce taxi stand parking, but then ticket the hell out of cabbies for parking illegally when we need to use the bathroom? I wonder if the cabbies who drive like animals would be nicer on the streets if they didn't always have to pee so bad.
Earlier in the evening, I watched a kid unsuccessfully attempting to throw a pair of sneakers over the lamp post in front of this 7-11 store. The funny part of this is it was on York Avenue. (For those who don't know, that means it's a nice part of town). So of course an old man came up and yelled at him to stop.
Also early in the shift, one of my passengers had a great idea. I picked up a group of four on 5th Ave and 55th St going downtown. We were catching every green light until we got snagged in a small snarl of traffic and had to stop at the red at 35th. The guy sitting in front with me said, "We had a good run there for a while." I said back, "Yeah. But, actually, I'm a block off schedule. I can usually catch all greens until at least 34th St." To which he replied, "Cab driving should be an Olympic sport." If it was, I'd like to think I would qualify for at least a silver medal.