Thursday, May 14, 2009

caps fan

I picked up a 40-something guy wearing a Capitals jacket just south of Clarendon yesterday and took him up to Dupont Circle. I had NPR on, and we talked a little bit about which bridge we were gonna take into DC, when suddenly, he says "you know what?" I assumed he had some special request about directions...."FUCK Dick Cheney!" (The radio had been about how Cheney has been talking about enhanced interrogation, etc.) "No seriously, FUCK THAT GUY. He's EVIL - I said it - he's EVIL."
I'm no fan of Dick Cheney, but I had no idea that was coming - I sorta shook my head, agreeing with him, and said "Yeah, he's not that great," or something vanilla like that. But he'd already moved on by then and made a phone call - "Hey baby - oh you're so hot.....Yeah, I got the tickets....Uh huh, I told you I'd get the tickets and I delivered and you're so hot. Uh huh, yep....ok, love you long time" Sure, I felt a little dirty hearing his conversation, but after he hung up I said "You lucky devil, you get to go to the Caps game tonight."
"Yeah that girl is a cute little thing, it's my buddy's girlfriend. She's so hot!"

I didn't know what to say, so I just kept on driving. Finally I dropped him off at Front Page, he stepped out of the car, threw his hands out wide and yelled "I'm looking for a gay man!"

What a nut! Good tipper, too.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

thanks for the advice, buddy

I picked up a guy on an account at a bar near Capitol Hill yesterday evening. While telling me that he keeps a stack of cab vouchers around and goes through about four or five per day (basically defrauding his company), he dispensed the following nuggets of advice:

Bribe the Red Top dispatchers
Lose my "dumb jock" attitude (Ha! the guy guessed that I went to school on an athletic scholarship - who the hell would EVER believe that about me?)
Claire McCaskill is a loser Democrat
Don't ever get married (been married 21 years, and it sounds all good at the time but you don't realize how MISERABLE you're going to be and how much SHIT you have to put up with)
Work on a committee for a few years then leave and make huge amounts of money

He also said he's quitting next year and he's returning to California. What's he going to do? "Walk the earth." Yeah, he sounds like a real flower child. Also, he said we should get drinks and talk about my future, which I think I'll pass on.

Monday, May 11, 2009

manager material?

I walked in to pay for my cab this morning and my "mentor" waved me over to his office. There's been talk about moving me into the Inside operation at Red Top. He said that I've been doing a good job and that people like me around the office. I told him that I'm interested, of course - it would mean that I'd be a substitute manager, so I'd get a free day of the cab, work inside and get paid for it, and then I could drive a few more hours if I wanted to make some more money. It seems like a rapid rise to me, too, and pretty silly of them. I'm like Andy Garcia's character in Godfather III.

I bet they wouldn't think of me as manager material if they knew what happened on Thursday. I pulled off what has definitely been my most massive boner yet. I picked up an attractive woman in her early thirties at some apartment building in Georgetown and took her a really bad route to National Airport. She was furious. Really really angry. But once you start going somewhere in Georgetown, you're kinda we just kept going the way she hated. She said "Oh God I'm gonna miss my flight!" and then I offered her a free ride and we sat in silence for the rest of the 20 minute ride (woulda been about 12 minutes if I had gone the right way....). I spent most of the trip admiring the scenery to the left side of the car so that I didn't have to look anywhere close to her direction. I was dreading what I knew had to do when we got to National - ask her which airline I should drop her at. She said "United - not like it matters now." I nodded and stayed silent. "Do you EVER drive in DC?" she asked in an agitated voice. "Fairly often, actually," I tersely responded. And then, finally, I dropped her off at United. She paid (and tipped, actually - probably so that she didn't have to wait for me to pull out change) and ran out of the cab before I could give her back her money. I mean, it's great to get paid for bad work performance, especially because my mistake made it more expensive, but I wish I could have that one back.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

famous passenger

Well, sorta. Yesterday I picked up General Petraeus's wife, which is about as close as I've come to someone famous. She was a nice lady, although maybe a little too quick to mention her famous husband. It's kinda hard to naturally work that into a conversation, and she didn't make much effort at it. I don't mind though - I'm happier knowing, right?

Also, I took a guy for the second time in a week. He's a young, sharply dressed west African guy who speaks with that cool African-French accent. What is really amazing about him is that he speaks five languages, his native dialect, French, English, Spanish and Russian. I heard him talking on the phone to someone and he was switching in and out of four of those, sometimes in the same sentence. I couldn't understand the parts in French or his dialect, but he would say things like "Well of course he gave you that, es lo que hace con todo el mundo." Crazy, and really impressive.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

i hate taking kids to school

This morning I was busy as hell but couldn't make any money. I sat through outlandishly bad traffic, a five minute red light at S Four Mile Run and Columbia Pike (can you believe that? I'm serious - FIVE minutes!) and an accident that closed two lanes on Rt. 50. Those were each to go pick people up, and they each turned out to be kids going to school. School trips are really bad. They are always pretty short rides, and kids never tip - one girl gave me a credit card for $6.75 and made it $7.00 even, and one of them was on a voucher from Arlington Co., which doesn't allow passengers to tip.

Anyway, that's just a little bit of whining, thanks for indulging me. It's really not so bad - yesterday I had a quick, solid morning and then went to the Nats game at 12:35, which isn't the worst way to spend a day.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Because 55's license plate has clearly been flagged by all DC traffic cops, I switched it up this morning and grabbed cab #158. It's a little newer (about 150,000 miles newer) and is clearly in much better shape....but I miss ol' 55.

Had my first crazy lady this morning who refused to pay the full fare because she thought I was screwing her on the meter. That got pretty unpleasant - fare was 17.95 and she paid me 15, and there were some strong words exchanged. Oh well, what's three dollars, right?

Friday, May 1, 2009


I was picking up at a grocery store yesterday afternoon, which usually means an old woman, a half-mile trip and about $4.50 for me. I don't mind - I'm just saying that I spend most of those trips looking forward to the next one. Well, I picked up a young guy, mid-30s or so, who was on the phone and hollers at me when he gets in "MVC." I thought I had heard him right - MVC Late Night Video is a porn shop, and they have a couple different locations in the area. I asked him which one he wanted, and he said "Man, I don't care, any of them, I'm not from around here." Well, I'm no expert on MVC late night videos or anything, but I can tell you that anyone who used to be a 13-year-old boy in the Bailey's Crossroads area knows EXACTLY where that MVC is (well, 13-year-olds in the pre-internet era, anyway. Maybe things are different nowadays). I took him right over, and then waited outside for him (and watched some very nervous fellows walk in while I was idling outside) and then took him back. Needless to say, he and I shared a lot in common, it was a good long trip and he tipped great.

Two fares later was a guy going from Crystal City out to Herndon, which is a huge fare. That was all fine and good, except that he spent the whole (long) time trying to convince me to join the Marines, which is really just an awkward conversation if the cab driver isn't interested.