Friday, December 02, 2005

Sanitation


So the tree was lit Wednesday, as was the big snowflake that hangs over the intersection of 57th and 5th. And with these events came the crowds, which will continue to increase until the end of the year. I have been trying to brace myself for this. So, yeah, traffic was bad tonight, but I actually expected worse. I was able to maintain a relatively calm mental state, until about 7:45, when I got stuck behind the garbage truck you see below.



I was on 22nd Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, when it happened. The truck stopped and two sanitation guys got out and began to leisurely haul a huge heap of garbage bags into the back. I had a passenger with me, so we chatted, waiting for them to be done as the meter ticked away it's shitty 40 cents every two minutes. After about 10 minutes, the truck moved up three car lengths and stopped again, this time to collect another 20 or so bags of trash from the other side of the street. But near this pile of bags was a huge empty space in between the parked cars. After continuing to sit there for what seemed like forever, I started to lose it. I got out and asked the guys if it would be possible to pull into this space on the side so me and the 15 cars behind me could pass. They simply smirked at me and said, "Nope," and continued to ever so slowly throw the trash in the truck. Ten more minutes passed, and the truck kept moving a few car lengths and stopping for more trash. The whole ordeal lasted about 30 minutes, and by that time, my cool had evaporated and I was completely drained.

The thing about driving a cab is, I can make it through a 12 hour shift without feeling too tired or sleepy as long as I'm busy and moving. Once I get stuck in a really bad traffic jam, or behind an asshole garbage truck, as the case may be, my energy depletes. It's not driving the cab that exhausts me, it's the sitting still that does it.

Anyway, I finally got the woman home, and she was sweet and gave me a nice tip, despite the extra time and money it took to get her there.


Meanwhile, at one point in the night, I found myself behind a car with this curious license plate. I had some tourists in the back, so I made a little joke and said, "Look! We're behind the mayor of New Jersey!" I think they thought I was serious, though, because, after a pause, they politely corrected me, saying, "Well, it would have to be the mayor of a town in New Jersey. There can't be a mayor of a whole state."

11 comments:

Tramontano said...

H.A.N.A.C. Taxi Academy has nothing on your blog- picking up my Hack license from TLC on Monday because it never arrived in the mailbox- I'm a little nervous.I've never driven a cab and I don't know the NY streets like I should.I'm coming from D.C. this weekend.Wish me luck.

M.P. said...

How was HANAC? I found out too late that they are the one taxi school that offers the course free to women. Oh well. I went to the taxi school at Laguardia Community College. It was money well spent. I loved it. The teachers were entertaining and brilliant and amazing, and the director of the program is really nice and cool. He actually teaches a taxi yoga class that I've been meaning to take, but haven't got around to yet.

I wouldn't worry too much about the driving. My advice? Be careful and alert, memorize the streets (especially the ones that break the even-east/odd-west rule), try not to make the same mistakes twice, and don't be afraid to ask your passengers for help when you don't know where you're going. If you tell them you're new, most of them will be understanding. Also, always have your map with you.

Let me know how it goes and email me if you need help with anything. Good luck!

tramontano said...

HANAC was very good or should I say ABLE(name) was good.I took the 24 hour course and passed on my first try,although it wasn't really easy if your not from NYC.I haven't heard anything about a free course for women but I do know they give a FREE defensive driving course($50 value).I'll take your advice and will email you letting you know how things are working out.

M.L. said...

Hi MP, long time reader, first time poster. Just want to say that your blog's really good and informative... I mean, I never knew how what a taxi driver goes through on a day to day basis. When I was at JFK last Tuesday, I was waiting for taxis and hoped to get you but alas, there are only *so* many other drivers lol, the odds probably would've been slim to none. Ah well.

Jeremy said...

Gotta love that those passengers assumed you were a dumb taxi driver who thought states had mayors.

Jodi said...

EXCELLENT blog! I'm thrilled to have found it/you!

The stuff about the slow as molassesholes (I just made that up) garbage collectors actually made me start to clench my fists. And the bit about the license plate and the dolt's remark ... makes me want to use the fist.

I'll definitely be back! Keep up the great work! :o)

Anonymous said...

And those all too earnest passengers who didn't get your joke had to be from Massachusetts. I'm a New Yorker living in Western MA for over 4 years. You're not just crossing state lines to get here, they're humor borders. The farther you get from NY, the slower on the uptake. I miss all the pent-up rage and hostility too. I'll be reading you and getting nostalgic.

Anonymous said...

You should have told your passengers that only big states have governors, and since New Jersey is such a small state it only has a mayor.

Gilighan Quayebuleqi said...

I always have a book/mag/newspaper handy for those long waits. But I drive day shift, so there's sunshine to help me see what I'm reading, without having to risk a passenger becoming annoyed by artificial light. I know what you mean about being able to go 12 hours w/o feeling drained, if it isn't for a situation like this that only takes minutes to empty out all your energy. Focusing all my attention on something I really want to read has a magical way of making me forget I'm stuck. How often does a night cabbie have time for literature therapy?

Anomaly said...

LOL. Some people are just too stupid to even joke with.

Anomaly said...

And in reference to the garbage truck, yeah, we drivers in Virginia have it even worse. Garbage trucks seem to be legally allowed to block traffic, and city buses, even though they HAVE a place to pull over.

I blog about stuff like this quite a bit. Mainly about stupidity.... :)