Tuesday, March 31, 2009

law school advice

I drove tonight, and picked up a couple interesting fares. My first fare was an enormously fat guy that I picked up at a bar near Columbia Pike and Walter Reed. He actually had a tough time getting in the cab; I had to move the front passenger seat forward so he could squeeze in, and he was really drunk and out of breath until we got to the Burger King. I ordered for him (sometimes passengers scoot over to behind me so they can order, but this guy wasn't doing much scooting) - a #2 large (that's a double whopper) with a coke, 2 junior whoppers, and 12 chicken fries, which are like small chicken tenders or something, I guess. Anyway, $14.91 is a hell of a lot of food at Burger King. I had to help him out of the cab when we got to his place. Then he grabbed my hand to shake it and said, "A white cab driver!" I responded that I know I'm not common, and he said "I don't get it. But I love it!" It was a gross and uncomfortable encounter all around.

My last fare of the night was an awesomely drunk guy from a hole-in-the-wall bar in Clarendon (I didn't know those existed). We got to talking and he asked if this is all I do, and I mentioned law school, so he gave me some sage advice.
Jay: Look, man, when you go and do your....thing....law thing, keep doing YOUR thing. Keep doing what you do [did he mean driving a cab? or just "being me"?]. And...get a real estate license.
Me:Real estate, huh? That's a good idea, that way I can be a one-stop shop, right?
Jay: Yeah, one stop, and....also, you should....get to know people. Get to know an athletic trainer, or BE an athletic trainer, that way you can meet people, you know NBA or NFL players or whatever. Like, my cousin....he used to train Chris Samuels.
Me: Hey man, thanks a lot for the advice!

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Boner

In honor of this terrific Batman comic, I wanted to mention a small boner I had the other day. Really, one of the smaller boners I've had. I picked up a young lady on Saturday morning. She was going from S Scott and Columbia Pike to N Quincy. The obvious move is left on Columbia Pike, right on Glebe, right on Quincy and BAM we're there. Well, she was cute, so I immediately committed a boner and tried to impress her with a cooler route (R on Columbia Pike, 27 North, L on N 10th, L on Wilson, R on Quincy). I have to say - my boner was probably so small that she didn't even notice, but I was embarrassed by it anyway. We went about a half mile and a minute or two longer than we should have. What a boner!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

people honk at me

People honk at me all the TIME now. I love it - there's nothing funnier than somebody honking at me while I'm dropping off a passenger or picking someone up. Do they really think it's gonna change what I do? I gotta make mine! Used to be back when I was a regular citizen and someone would honk at me, I'd get nervous and jumpy and flustered. Now I just laugh my ass off and hope that they see me laughing.

I picked up a guy at the airport yesterday who started a company that does online booking and cell phone payments for cabs, which then go immediately into your expense account. Needless to say, we had a great talk about lots of stuff, but most important was that they try all their new products with Red Top because he says they are the best run cab company in the country. Looks like I lucked out getting into Red Top.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

good news about potholes

They finally filled in the potholes on the far right lane of N Lynn heading over to the Key Bridge. I drive in that lane several times every day - every time I use the Key Bridge to go to Georgetown or to use the K St Expressway. I've been trying to figure out how to avoid each pothole, and I'm pretty sure it's impossible. But I went away for a week and they fixed it! Terrific news.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

tonight's heroes

Greenie and I finally got back late tonight from Las Vegas after we got paid by the airline to extend our trip for a couple days. Brian was the first hero of the night - I got into my cab and the battery was dead. I had turned off the lights and whatnot while I was gone, but I hadn't thought about how my dispatch computer of course draws from the battery, too. Since I didn't turn that off, it killed my battery. Greenie's pretty good with jumper cables, and five minutes later I was on my way.

About a mile down the road, I realized that I had a flat tire, too. I am no expert with cars by any means, but I actually can change a flat tire (I learned after I got a flat on the way to pick a girl up for a date my senior year of high school and had to have her come pick me up....that was pretty embarrassing). I swear that the jack Red Top has in my trunk does not work though - the little lever-wrench thing actually doesn't fit, so the jack wouldn't rise. My brother Andrew is hero #2 - he drove all the way out to help me with a new jack and a flashlight. Turns out his jack didn't work either, but just then a cop came by and helped us out, and Andrew did all the work and changed my tire. Thanks!

Anyway, that was a great way to be greeted by DC, and I'm back driving again tomorrow morning(after Red Top gives me a new spare tire and checks my battery). And really, if you're gonna get a flat and have a dead battery, might as well just ruin one night with it, right?

Monday, March 23, 2009

excitement wednesday morning

Anyone wanna take a ride with me up to North Arlington on Wednesday morning? I just got this email.

Good evening,

Please see message below received on the "Training Exercise with Large Simulated Explosion Planned for Key Bridge Area".

For the filming of a TV pilot, there will be a simulated explosion on Wednesday, March 25 between 9:30 a.m. and noon near Key Bridge in the District. The explosion will produce a 20 to 30′ fireball that will last for approximately 2 minutes.

Please pass along this information to others appropriate. The Department of Homeland Security and D.C. Police and Fire departments have been notified, along with the Washington Airports Authority. The Virginia State Patrol and Arlington Police Department will be contacted. If you have additional questions, contact Kathy Hollinger or Burt Warner with the DC Film Office at 202-727-6608.

The explosion will take place on the Potomac River just north of the Key Bridge and Jack’s Boathouse (K / Water Street, NW under the Whitehurst Freeway). In the scene to be filmed, there will be six (6) sculling boats on the Potomac River and one of them blows up.

CBS Paramount television is filming a pilot titled “Washington Field.” This is a new television series about the elite Washington field office of the FBI and a team of agents with exceptional and diverse skills who are called together for only the most critical cases.

Thank You. Have a nice evening,

Saturday, March 21, 2009

quick dispatch from las vegas

Obviously, cab drivers in Vegas have better stories than I do.

First: Guy we had yesterday morning said that the craziest thing that ever happened in his cab was two gorgeous European models got in his cab and told him just to drive up and down the strip. They were high on ecstasy, and then they started [hooking up] in the back seat while he drove up and down. That has NEVER happened in my cab!

Second: One of Brian's cab drivers yesterday is the actual guy from Taxicab Confessions. He's got some great stories, too, and luckily, you can watch them on TV. Entire season box sets are reasonably priced.

Monday, March 16, 2009

big downer this morning

I had to be at Red Top at 5:30 this morning to guarantee that I got a cab to drive around (I was able to get Red Top #55 back - totally sweet). I had to take all my junk out of the cab because someone else was driving it this weekend, which creeps me out a little bit, to be honest. Getting in this morning it was like someone had slept in my bed or something (someone besides Corey or Pat, of course). I crashed at Greenie's place last night right when I got back from the airport so that I could walk over to Red Top from his place.

The big downer was that when I was racing around to pack up all my stuff on Friday morning, I didn't think to take a map with me out to Colorado, so I didn't have it in the cab with me this morning. No big deal, I pretty much know all the streets by now and I even got a couple compliments last week about how well I know the roads without using a GPS. Well, you can see where this is going - my second fare of the morning took me out to some obscure address in Fairfax city that he had never been to and didn't know the way. I called up our dispatcher to ask for directions, and he was able to get me out there....but really, considering the dude has maps right in front of his face and presumably used to be a cab driver, his directions were laughably bad. Combine my being tired from 4 hours of sleep last night, pissed off at myself for being a cab driver and not having a damn map in my cab, and angry at this dispatcher for not being able to look at a map and notice that the street I was trying to find loops around and hits Jermantown Rd twice.....I was an unhappy little boy. Anyway, the guy asked "does the tip go to you or to the dispatcher?" and then tipped me nicely, so I guess I can't stay angry.

But actually, it's good to be back driving again! I wonder if I'll miss it as much when I stop this summer as I did this past weekend.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

going on vacation!

I'm leaving tomorrow for an unpaid (to put it mildly) vacation, my cousin's wedding in Colorado. I'll be back for a couple days next week, then it's off to Las Vegas. I won't have too many cab-related stories during my vacations, natch.

One quick note: earlier this week, I took a woman from Crystal City up to the OEOB right next to the White House. Except I didn't really take her there, because 18th St was completely blocked off. It was impossible to cross the E St corridor there, so I had to let her off a couple blocks away. That is basically an admission of defeat, and a serious blow to my pride, which I didn't like at all. The reason? Friggin' Angelina Jolie was shooting some movie. Wouldn't you think that basically any other time would be better than 9 am on a Monday morning? And anyone who knows me knows how much I HAAAAATE Angelina for what she did to Jen. Ugh.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

totally sweet wednesday morning

I'm pretty tired right now, but I just had a great morning. I got in from driving last night around 11:45 and woke up this morning at 2:55 am to go get a friend in Woodbridge and take her to National. I immediately followed that with a trip from Crystal City to Dulles (wooooo!), then got a guy on my way back and took him to near the White House, then picked up a woman from Georgetown and drove her back to Rosslyn. If you're keeping track (no worries if you're not - I am), that was a hugely efficient morning. Now I'm gonna sleep it off.

By the way, the lady I picked up in Georgetown was the same lady that I picked up last week that smelled like lady gym sweat. I took her to work, and I can report that she smelled delightful this morning, so it's good to know that it was probably just because of working out last week, not a constant thing.

There's something noble about taking pride in your work, I think. I stopped at a 7-11 at around 3:55 this morning to get another cup of coffee (I was really really tired). I went to go pay, and he asked if I had a minute, which I did. He told me to dump out that coffee because it had been sitting around for a while, and they were about to finish brewing a new pot, and I'd like it better. What a sweetheart! I mean, it was 7-11 coffee, so it still kinda sucked, but it takes real pride to be that friendly to a customer at 4 am.

Monday, March 9, 2009

bag lady

I really did not mean for this blog to be about odors in my cab, but it turns out I wrote that one post a little too early. On Saturday morning, I went to go pick up a lady at a nursing home, and she was a bag lady. You know, big bags of random stuff, a little cart to carry them, and a cane, all of which I dutifully loaded in the trunk. She was heavily made up, but not like the drag queen; more like a person who has no idea how much make up she is putting on. Then I took her to the Safeway around the corner.

I feel kinda bad saying this, but she reeked of, well, piss. I definitely opened the windows immediately and practically stuck my head out. Nothing a little febreeze couldn't take care of afterwards, though! She was perfectly pleasant - we talked about how nice the weather was, she mentioned that she usually walks, but not that day for whatever reason. I guess I don't understand the bag lady economy particularly well, but since when do bag ladies take cabs? And why would she bother bringing all of her stuff with her to the supermarket?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

drag queen

I picked up a guy dressed in heavy heavy make up and some sort of weird pirate-looking bandana-wig get up last night. She had a very deep voice, but actually did appear pretty feminine, and then she asked to go to 17th St in DC. I asked where on 17th, and she said "Oh anywhere, I'll find my way from there," which really kicked in my chivalrous, classy side, before I remembered that she was actually a dude. But she was slender - I wonder what the rules are on that? I wouldn't drop off a young woman just somewhere on a street in DC to let her "find her way" somewhere, but does a slender, feminine drag queen count as a guy or a lady? I ended up dropping her off at Nelly's at 9th and U, so I felt good about that. On her way out, though, I goofed up and said "Have a good time man!" Is that acceptable, or should I have just stayed gender neutral? Tough calls.

Friday, March 6, 2009

pretty good morning

A strong morning like today's sets me up well for a great Friday night. I'm excited. I didn't have that many fares, but they were all long ones, so I got PAID. Only bad part so far - the GOP lobbyist guy who made up a story about how he was jogging along the Potomac in the '90s and saw Vice President Gore running and so he introduced himself and then ran with him for three or four miles. There's no way he was able to do that. Why would he bother telling his damn cab driver such a dumb story?

I'll report back tonight or tomorrow about any Friday hijinks (by the way, hijink is the only word in the English language that has three dotted letters in a row).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

passenger smells

I get a glimpse of my passengers when they get in the cab, and occasionally I'll turn around if we're having a conversation, but for the most part the sense that really sticks out is their smell. I had some good ones today.

I picked up a couple Japanese guys at a golf shop in Shirlington and took them to their fancy hotel near the White House, and one of the dudes (the one who was doing most of the talking, unfortunately) had gross breath. Really gross; I had to cover up my nose without making it obvious. I picked up a young woman from an office building in Rosslyn that clearly has its own gym, which she had used, and she stank pretty badly. You know, like lady gym sweat. And finally, I picked up a guy who talked exactly like Ali G and reeked of weed. What a night!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

snowstorm, reston trip

Snowstorms are actually pretty scary for a cab driver. The more miles you drive, the more likely it is that an accident will happen, even in the best of conditions, and when things are slippery and gross and treacherous, it only gets worse. I drove for a couple hours yesterday morning during the heart of the storm, and then I had to go home once I started not being able to make it up some hills. The customers that I had in the morning were delightful though - they took a cab because they recognized how dangerous it was for themselves, and so they were all very understanding about how damn slowly I was driving.

This morning I took a woman from Cherrydale (Lee Hwy and Old Dominion) all the way out to Reston, which was a $40 fare. We were chatting, and then she had a phone call and mentioned it was a doctor's appointment, so rather than drive all the way back by myself, I waited and got a cup of coffee until she was done, then took her to work in Alexandria, a $60 fare. She tipped not at all, but it was still a great couple hours we spent together.

And, just to respond to the comments about the Friday night girls - they were actually pretty hot. And again, I'm a classy dude who doesn't like potential legal problems, which is why I didn't take them up on it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

funny friday night girls

At 2:50 am Saturday morning, I picked up a girl (let's call her Madison) outside Hard Times Cafe right by the Clarendon Metro, and sat there waiting for a few minutes for her roommate (how about....Steph) to come out of Hard Times.
"Can we wait just a few minutes? She's in there talking to this REALLY CREEPY GUY! UGGGHHHH. He was so CREEPY!"

I turned on the meter, so of course I had all day to wait, but she kept apologizing for it. That was sweet of her, since I was making money just sitting there. Finally Steph got in the cab and we started going.

Madison: You didn't give him your number did you!? He was gross!
Steph: I dunno maybe. [turns to me] Hey, you're American....and white, and kinda cute.
Madison: Yeah he's cute for a cab driver. [I don't think that was actually a compliment]
Steph: Hey, wanna come party with us in DC?
Me: DC, eh?
Steph: Yeah what are you doing? You should come party with us.
Me: I'll drive you to DC, sure, where do you wanna go? [DC trips make me money]
Steph: How about Adams Morgan?
Me: Well, you know the bars are closing, right, it's 2:50 am.
Steph: Oh God, it's late. Hey, do you wanna make out with us? We're roommates.....
Madison: UGHHH! When she's drunk she hits on EVERYONE!