Thursday, December 29, 2005
I watched a cab get hit by an 18-wheeler tonight. It was around 7:00 p.m. down 2nd Ave in the 60s somewhere and the street was all clogged. This cabbie pulled what would normally be a relatively harmless move when he tried to get over into the next lane. However, the 18-wheeler that was already in that lane didn't stop in time and hit him. I'm assuming the cabbie wasn't too injured because the truck driver jumped out and started screaming at him, and usually you don't scream at dead people, or even at people who are bleeding much. Of course, there's a chance he was hurt, but the trucker was so angry, he didn't really give a shit. He was saying, "How the fuck do you expect me to see you from up there? What the fuck is wrong with you? You fucking idiot!" I kinda felt bad for the cabbie, since it must suck to get chewed out two seconds after almost getting killed by a big fucking truck. Unfortunately I was in the flow of traffic, so I couldn't stick around to see what happened next.
Meanwhile, Times Square was a nightmare tonight. They've already begun setting up for New Year's Eve (part of which is shown above), and then they closed it off entirely so they could seal manholes and remove mailboxes, or whatever it is they have to do there. New Year's is the biggest money night of the year for driving a cab, but I don't even bother with it. It's too crazy, with too much traffic and too many drunk people puking in the cab. I'd much rather get drunk myself and puke in someone else's cab.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
I never did update about the strike, but it's over now, so it doesn't really matter anymore. But in case you didn't see enough of it, here's a picture of some of the treacherous traffic. This was taken on the Pulaski Bridge, on my way back to the garage at the end of that one day shift I worked last Thursday. I'm happy to be back to nights and back on the meter.
Tonight's shift was pretty boring though. It was the post-Christmas shopping frenzy, and the city mainly consisted of tourists (shown above in, where else, Times Square). I had one girl in my cab who was crying hysterically into her boyfriend's shoulder, but that was pretty much the only thing out of the ordinary. She was talking too low, so I couldn't hear what the problem was. But it reminded me of some passengers I picked up last year just after the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the World Series. A man and a woman got in, and the woman sounded like she was crying, saying, "Oh my god. I can't believe it. I just can't believe it." I was concerned because she really sounded upset, so I asked, "Is everything okay?" She tearfully, yet cheerfully replied, "Oh, yes! We're Red Sox fans."
Friday, December 09, 2005
Sometimes it seems like part of these sightseeing tours include an attraction called "Dead Cabbie." I imagine the tour guide saying something like, "Now, if you'll look to your right, you'll see what happens to a yellow cab when our bus cuts it off and tries to flatten it and kill the driver."
Luckily I swerved and hit my brakes in time when this particular bus got to that part of the tour.
Despite murderous sightseeing buses, the night was uneventful.
Monday, December 05, 2005
I drove 195 miles tonight and my fingernails are, as usual, black with dirt from touching all that grubby money. With the snow (shown above in Central Park) came good luck for me. Or, as Diego calls it, "the Diego luck." I got a job to Newark Airport early in the evening, and found no traffic there and back. I'm assuming most people opted against driving into the city tonight because of the weather, even though the worst of it was over by this morning. I heard on the radio that New Jersey registered nearly 600 accidents today alone. Figures.
Later in the night, when business had already gotten slow, I found a fare going to Westchester. Two stops. This pretty much made my night, since out of town fares are the most lucrative. Money-wise, I think this was actually my best shift ever driving a cab.
Friday, December 02, 2005
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."