Thursday, April 27, 2006
Wanna know what sucks?
My car broke down on the way to work today. Which meant that I was no longer going to be working today, and therefore this update is not about anything really taxi related.
In fact, I was lucky. I had to make a detour through Manhattan before heading towards the garage this afternoon and, as I fought through traffic to get on the 59th Street Bridge on my way back to Queens, I just knew my car was about to crap out. It started shaking and shuddering as I got on the bridge so I stepped on it, just hoping I'd make it to the other side before it died. And die it did. When I got to the light at the bottom, it stalled and I had to stick it in neutral and roll it off the exit ramp and on to 21st in Long Island City, just under the Silvercup Studios sign and six blocks from the garage.
This is a problem I've had "fixed" by random mechanics no less than four times already, but clearly nothing has worked, despite the enormous amount of money I've spent on it.
I called Richard at the garage and asked him to send someone to come tow me in, since I was so close, but I knew my chances of working a shift tonight were doomed. I was too late. They were already loaded with too many drivers and I wasn't going to get a cab. At least they were nice enough to send someone to rescue me, and I appreciated that.
Of course, my car decided to start again right when Danny, one of the taxi mechanics, showed up, so he just followed me to the garage to make sure it didn't stall on the way. When we got there, Lincoln, the head mechanic, looked at the engine and disconnected something that he said might help. If it didn't, he told me I'd have to replace some part that I don't remember the name of.
It would probably really help if I knew the first thing about cars. But at this point, it will have to be enough to know a few expert mechanics who will be honest with me and not try to gouge me out of more money than my 1989 piece of shit Buick is worth. I guess this is one of the "perks" of being a taxi driver working out of a garage. Actually, it's when stuff like this happens that I'm happy that I've stuck with this garage. They've been very good to me since day one.
So with the car working again and my day freed up, I stood around for an hour bullshitting with some other drivers before heading home. Those afternoon pre-shift story-telling sessions are sometimes my favorite part of the workday.
And now for some other news: I'm going out of town for the next two weeks, which means this shitty blog update is probably all there will be for a little while. I'll be in LA, though, and I have a feeling I may have a thought or two on the traffic situation there, so if you want to read more non-cab-related posts, check back from time to time. If not, I should be back to work by the end of the second week of May.
In the meantime, another cabbie friend just alerted me to his new blog, so hopefully that will keep you entertained. It's called The Hungry Cabbie and it's about his on-duty discovery of the best food in the five boroughs. It's pretty much all you could ever ask for from a New York cabbie. But be warned: You'll get hungry just reading it.