Monday, February 20, 2006

Cab Olympics


It was a long, disjointed night. I got into a screaming match with the cabbie pictured here. What sucks about writing this is that I spend so much time trying to defend cab drivers, but I have to admit, there are quite a few who drive like fucking animals. This guy in particular pulled a really fucked up move that forced me into oncoming traffic. We were both making the left turn from 11th Ave onto 23rd St. There are two turn lanes, so two cars can turn at the same time as long as they stay in the lane they were turning from.

I was in the left lane, this guy was in the right. But as he made the turn, he cut over into the left lane on 23rd, where I was heading, thus making me swerve onto the other side of the street. Luckily there were no cars coming and I was able to fall back in time. He must've seen this happen, because when I pulled up next to him after he finally moved back into the right lane, he rolled his window down and started yelling at me. Of course, he believed very strongly that he did absolutely nothing wrong and that I was an asshole for trying to turn next to him, even though that's what the traffic markers called for.

I was so pissed off, I started yelling back, and we drove side by side for a minute just screaming like maniacs at each other. He was saying, "You have a problem? What's wrong with you?" He was just so innocent. I replied, "I wouldn't have a problem if you learned how to fucking drive." He gave me the typical "Suck my dick." And I gave him my standard answer to that request, which is, "I would if you had one, but since you don't, you can suck mine!" My intention was to imply that his penis is so small that even a girl, who has no penis, still has a bigger dick than him. I couldn't tell if he was confused or offended, but right after that he turned down 9th Ave while I got hailed and picked up my next passenger. Either way, I considered it a victory.

As the night wore on, the club business increased. I picked up a guy on 7th Ave and W. 4th St going to the gay leather bar The Eagle on 28th between 10th and 11th (which is, incidentally, just down the block from Scores West). When we started talking, I found out he works for Virgin Airlines and is the guy who listens to your phone calls when you hear the message that says, "This call will be recorded for quality purposes." I am thrilled to know that someone really does listen to our phone calls when we talk to these companies. I did not reveal to him that our conversation was being recorded for blog purposes.


I had to take a bathroom break at one point, so I went to one of the places cabbies frequent for such purposes on 8th Ave between 55th and 56th Sts. This sign is posted there so that cab drivers can park without difficulty. Actually, the sign designates the block as a "Taxi Stand," which means we need to be in or near our cabs awaiting passengers. This is slightly different from the signs that say "Taxi Relief Stand," which means we can park there and leave the cab to eat and pee and do whatever else needs to be done. Both of these types of sign are posted in various locations all over the city. However, regardless of what the signs say, private non-cab cars always seem to be parked on these blocks.

When I pulled up to this one, there was one cab parked there and about eight or nine regular cars taking up the entire block. I really needed to pee, though, so I just double-parked and ran inside. There was no way I could afford to drive around looking for a legal spot. I wasn't gonna make it. And it just sucks because, even though these blocks are supposed to be reserved for cabbies, the cars that park there never get ticketed. On the other hand, if a cop came along at that moment, there is a high likelihood that I would've received a ticket for double-parking next to them. Why doesn't the NYPD enforce taxi stand parking, but then ticket the hell out of cabbies for parking illegally when we need to use the bathroom? I wonder if the cabbies who drive like animals would be nicer on the streets if they didn't always have to pee so bad.


Earlier in the evening, I watched a kid unsuccessfully attempting to throw a pair of sneakers over the lamp post in front of this 7-11 store. The funny part of this is it was on York Avenue. (For those who don't know, that means it's a nice part of town). So of course an old man came up and yelled at him to stop.

Also early in the shift, one of my passengers had a great idea. I picked up a group of four on 5th Ave and 55th St going downtown. We were catching every green light until we got snagged in a small snarl of traffic and had to stop at the red at 35th. The guy sitting in front with me said, "We had a good run there for a while." I said back, "Yeah. But, actually, I'm a block off schedule. I can usually catch all greens until at least 34th St." To which he replied, "Cab driving should be an Olympic sport." If it was, I'd like to think I would qualify for at least a silver medal.

81 comments:

UNFJoel said...

First comment! Give me the gold!

Karen said...

I just love reading about your exploits whilst driving. Very human.

One question: why do kids throw things over light posts? Just wondering. I've never understood that one! LOL

Glad to have you back!

V~V

Anonymous said...

Usually signals a drug buy area. Sometimes.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Drive LIKE animals???

From what I'm experienced, most of them WERE DRIVING animals, not too long ago.

Amy said...

I hope throwing crap over lamp posts/telephone wires don't actually signal drug buy areas...there were plenty of things on telephone wires at my middle school!!!

PS-
Nice come back to the "suck my dick" line. I'll remember that one

Umar Lee said...

When you are driving a cab, as I have done in the past, finding a place to piss is often a major issue. One time I opened up my glove compartment and found a jar of piss from another driver...not good.

Bep said...

I have to say that was a very nice line. I enjoy reading your stories a lot keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

Shoes over lamp post, telephone line etc. means that drugs can be purchased nearby. I know this becasue of the clientele I deal with on a daily basis. No, I am not a drug dealer!

MTM said...

Oh my GOD I love that you told that fucker off!! More jerks need to realize that they drive like asses..

Anonymous said...

oh u mean theres fags in new york?

Dave said...

I can totally sympathize with you on that guy cutting you off. Why do bad drivers always seem so ignorant of their lack of driving skills? It baffles me. You had every right to be pissed and he had no right to be angry at anyone other than himself. Douchebag. Too bad you couldn't kick him in the nuts as well! Believe me, it hurts like a bitch!

John M said...

Welcome back! Glad to see you didn't lose your form while down south!

Hunter said...

You always tell it as it is. Thats why I enjoy reading your little stories. Keep up the good work, &
find that dickhead Cabby & kick him in the nuts for me.

Atmarama said...

Read your story. The "Road Rage" thing is a difficult issue for cab drivers. I keep my meditation tape going constant while driving. I've tried other audio. The meditation disk works the best. It is Bhagavad Gita chanted in sanskrit. I tell my customers it is yoga meditation, but I have other things for them to listen to if they prefer. Most let me keep the yoga meditation playing. Sometimes they ask me to explain. Anyway, that helps me with road rage thing. I try to keep myself in trance. DHARMA http japa-mala.org

The restroom thing is an issue around here too.

I suppose it is more difficult for women. I try to take care of it before it gets to be too much. If I had the money I would maintain a Go-can for cab drivers. Don't even know how much those cost. Those who trash Go-cans should be jailed, fined and made to do community service.
DHARMA http://japa-mala.org

Anonymous said...

MP, great blog! You have the gift of conversational comment. Your blog flows, is interesting, entertaining, and reflects your personality with seemingly effortless ease. You are definately a writer, driving a cab. I drove cab in Las Vegas for 5 years, ended that part of my life in May of last year. So I can definately relate to your experiences on the road, and dealing with the public. I will continue to follow your blog, but will probably not spend much time reading the "comments". Some of those people are waaay out there!
Please continue to write, you bring pleasure to those who read.
Bob, former LV Cabbie.

Anonymous said...

I love the HELL out of your blog. But could you please change the background and text colors? I'm going BLIND reading your blog. :)

Keep up the good work…go for the Gold!

Pat T Hat said...

Wonder if Depends will start marketing to Cabbies?

Pond said...

The silver medal you receive will be a gold medal after you PEE on it, 'cause you always have to PEE so badly.

I don't have a point.

Larry said...

This is my first time here. Reading through your life as a cabbie in NY was awesome. I come through your site through news site. All the best and Drive safely :)

Larry from New Zealnd

Anonymous said...

i love reading what you have to say about life... reminds me that i'm not the only one experiencing it.

keep it up.

~kat, hawaii

Anonymous said...

Look on the bright side...no-one has tried to shoot you and vise-versa...yet. Things are way way different in Johannesburg, South Africa, where you could easily be shot by someone in a fit of road rage simply because you (as an example) changed lanes and did not indicate. I lived there for 3 years and it does happen. SCARY SHIT.

Anonymous said...

Hey MP,
I read your blog on a regular basis (almost like checking out those news websites). Two things :

1) Get an agent quick!!!
and
2) Go for the Gold

Satya

Anonymous said...

One comment about your comeback. If it is so clever that he doesn't get it, it's not really a good comeback. He'll just think you're retarded.

Andrea said...

You are awesome. I love reading your driving excursions. Some asshole did the exact same thing to me, that being they cut me off in a double turning lane. I honked (by accident) and the little bugger just fucking laughed! I couldn't believe it.

I think that one passenger may be onto something with the Cabbie Olympics. Do it!

Anonymous said...

so,young lady you lost your temper. shit happens. i drive a black car in nyc since 1973. i get even by tossing my old coffee at the cabbie. try runnin pink floyd for your 10 hours and you can finnish your coffee and not lose it most of the time. btw, thejobs will come. just keep coasting. G-D loves you/ you're good people. :-))

theinebriantgrape said...

When we first moved to a-town, my girl got in a screaming match with the driver in the car next to us. The driver of that car reached under her front seat. We turned off. We don't yell at shitty drivers anymore. Darn.

Outburst said...

It's nice that many cabbies try to get their customers to their destination as quick as possible but too far many see that as being the most important thing, leaving the safety of the car's riders and other cars around them in danger.
I'd rather show up a minute-and-a-half later and show up in one piece.

itsybitsygod said...

Yay a long post!
That shoe-over-the-wire thing can mean a lot of different things. Sometimes it means someone got killed and those were their shoes. Different neighborhoods, different reasons.
The crazy-cabbies can compete in their own version of the cabbielympics. Like the ECW. I would totally watch that.

RickyZ said...

I always thought when they make the perfect taxi, along with a 'vacant' light that can be seen on a sunny day and a/c heat controls that actually work FOR the passengers they should put a toilet into the drivers' seat. Wouldn't that be cool- taking a dump whilst heading crosstown... some guys use gatorade bottles to piss in. The day comes when I have to pee in the cab and dump it out is when I need to move to Europe and start over... I found the secret is to drink only water. And occasionally eat something.

That left on 23rd and 11th messes lots of people up. I don't get in the left lane anymore for that reason. The block has no lanes (wouldn't matter anyway, many cabbies hog 2 lanes.

It's tough about the # of taxis out there and driving standards. You sound like you were taught the correct way to drive Hackgirl, which I find to be a detriment at times myself. I remember one night after I took the cab out I found my turn signals weren't working in the rear, and it was so busy I didn't want to bring the cab back to the garage. So I worked the whole night that way. I HATED IT. I think the key to being a professional driver is to make your intent as clear as you can as much as you can. Communication, which let's face it if you came from a country with dirt roads and have no desire to assimilate is way down on the list for most cabbies. But since there are about 13,000 taxis in the city now (and more's a comin') if say only 10% drive like assholes they'll stand out.

Be safe and keep on keepin' on~

Daisy said...

What a prick that cab driver was! And why does everyone thing they are right when they do something stupid? Actually I'm the same way. It's not till later and I've thought about it that I realize -- 'boy, that was stupid. I screwed up big time.' That guy probably knew he was wrong but wasn't going to admit it. So he had to blame you. Jerk.

Reluctant Misanthrope said...

Oh, you are so my hero for going after him! In a double turn lane like that, I was outside once and the moron next to me went straight and t-boned me. I had my daughter in the back---oh my god I was livid!
Thankfully you are unhurt and able to sling the mud at this guy, even post his picture hahahaha.
I feel closer to all my kin in NY reading your blog. It is so full of that wondeful spirit and character that embodies NYC. I'm glad you're getting all this attention, too!

stephanie_in_mass said...

WHAT AN ASSHOLE!! I hate those type who look so innocent as if they did nothing wrong...making us look like the psychotic ones. I liked that come back...just for that come back you should receive the gold medal for putting up with drivers who piss on themselves, rotten fucking jersey drivers, men who have no clue on the driving book manual on who has the right of way or which lane to be in, and just plain rude pissed off jerks out there...wow I feel so much better now!

Take care,
Steph

Anonymous said...

Love the show...Go for Gold!
BTW; St. Louis has id10t drivers too.

Becky said...

I have been reading this for quite sometime now and I have to say it is very intriguing. But this one struck me funny when i read the comment about the suck my dick and if u had one thing becuz i always grew up saying that to people. I am a female and my dick is bigger then yours was always a hit. Keep the blogs coming..I look forward to them

Anonymous said...

Could it be safe to say maybe this asshole cabbie driver was originaly from NJ? :)

Aurimas said...

great post...good day from lithuania ;) foun your blog just few days ago, and its very interesting...restepca...

bum from jersey said...

I think the cab driver knew he was wrong but like most men, we can't admit we are wrong to someone else, especially if that someone else is a woman. So thats why I think he jawed at you for that minute or so. He just wanted to keep face.

ramblingmuse said...

Wow - I'm loving your posts!

Who knew that people actually listen to those recording on the phone. I thought that was some gimmick to make us be nice to the person answering the phone call.

And Scores West...you and that place just can't seem to part ways, huh? Ha ha! Too funny!

And yes, you deserve a gold medal.

Glad you're back and posting again! I sure missed reading about your adventures!

John Springer said...

I am curious as to whether or not that other cab driver works for the same company as Melissa does? That would make for an interesting situation at the "barn", which is what our local cabdrivers call their base of operations.

mysteryfan said...

To Jersey Bum,

I can appreciate your comments but any man who has to scream so viciously at a woman in order to keep face:

1--is not a man, and
2--has no face to keep

lol.

MP, I wouldn't have your job if it came with free babysitting, male strippers, and all the money in the world. :D

Anonymous said...

LOVE reading your stories. Be careful out there.

nyheyman said...

Great story!!!! The more I read about your driving in New York the more I miss it. Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

You must be young still. I once let other drivers get under my skin. I had an epiphany of sorts while on holiday after I received a well deserved speeding ticket in bad driving conditions.

Since then I have categorized drivers into two groups; Defensive and the “white knuckle crowd”. They are so easy to spot as they dart back and forth, tailgate, cut others off, etc., all the while maintaining a death grip on the steering wheel (and oftentimes their cell phone jammed in their ear!). It’s not that they are in a hurry, for whatever reason they just want to go faster then whatever is ahead of them.

I now play small as I can, and try to be invisible on the road. The bad drivers are so easy to spot, and I find them humorous to observe and rewarding to avoid. It sure has lowered my level of stress.

I really enjoy your blog!

Julie said...

In response to V~V's question, what I heard, it ment they were "selling" in that area. Green ment weed, white ment cocaine...and theh like. Now I might be TOTALLY wrong, but that's what I heard that it ment.

Anonymous said...

I live on 84th and york and sure enough I looked up this morning after readingy our blog and the shoes made it up. Looks like a nice pair of air jordans!

Great Blog

Anonymous said...

Now does that shoe/drug selling theory only apply to NYC or is that a nationwide thing? I'm in WI and remember as a youngin' seeing shoes on wires, but thought it was just cuz some idiot decided to throw someones shoes up there to be mean. Did i miss something in my jr. high days???!!!

This blog is more then fun to read, it is useful and you learn alot of stuff too!!! lol:) Great Job!!

~Amy Jo in WI :)

Anthony said...

I love New York. I wish people here in Oregon were as passionate about their driving. Imagine instead a world in which nobody at a 4-way stop intersection move but rather keep waving politely to one another to go ahead. Aggression can be a good think for the body and mind.

LookinginmyRearviewMirror said...

Me too, I do love your site. You make it interesting to read your site! My husband and I visit the city about every other year. We were there this past summer again for my 40th birthday and my gift was to go see the Spelling Bee. It was awesome fun. I wish you had been our taxi-cab driver! Blessings and keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

If you spent more time driving safely and less time taking pictures while behind the wheel, you would have less close calls.

Put the damned camera up and drive like you have some common sense.

By the way, don't ever post another picture of your self on here. I was blind for a week after seeing your nasty, angst-filled mug.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, if you don't like M.P.'s blog, why would you come back and post a comment? That makes no sense. Oh, wait, it does: You're just another pathetic internet person.

Way to go telling someone to stop doing the thing that makes this blog so great. And nice move telling her you think she's ugly. That's just mean. If you don't like the blog, don't read it, you pathetic loser.

And YOU'RE calling HER angst-ridden? A bit ironic, don't you think?

Nick said...

my question is how... or why... or what motivated you to take a picture of this guy.. i would have been more concerned with trying to cut him off into some parked cars or something.

Steven G said...

I was watching TV the other day and I see that now there is a NY cab that you get into and it becomes a game for money. Its called CASH CAB. Ever run into this guy? Is he for real or waht??

Jennifer said...

MP - great blog. I used to work for a cab company myself while in college. A friend of mine got me into it. He was going for his psych degree. He got it, but he still drives cab. I guess you have to either be a little crazy or enjoy driving the crazies around. :)

Steven G - "Cash Cab" is a hilarious concept.

Everyone talking about shoes - http://www.snopes.com/crime/gangs/sneakers.htm

--Jennifer

Anonymous said...

two important points i would like to make, regardingyour post...

1) call 311 after an incident w?a cabbie and report the location and plate #, since most are multiple cabe w? same medallion ending in either a, b, or c. and follow up w/the report to tlc. NEVER SAY YOU WERE ANOTHER CAB DRIVER- EVER!

2) RECORDED MESSAGES AND CONVERSATIONS ARE COPNTROLLED BY AN ISRAELI CO. CALLED NICE... i drive them around in my black car.the system can be activated by something you say that keywords the systemto an alertg or by the tone of your voice, amongst other things.

keep on truckin

have fun doin it

dont take any crapfrom anyone... even the fare

Anonymous said...

I found your page and got homesick.
I live down here in paradise. Cape Canaveral Florida.Your on my home page and I check in every day.You have great writing skills, thanks

Anonymous said...

DEAREST MP
I TOTALLY LOVE to read your stuff because you are such a good writer. Very interesting read. I really enjoy getting to know you through your blog. You sound like a long lost friend.

Keep up the excellent work.

You have the GOLD in my book .LOL
Jewels from the Dakotas

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah, one other thing, ...
What is the signifigance of the shoes thrown around the phone lines anyways?? When I lived in Phoenix I saw that a bunch of times....

Jewels from the Dakotas.

Anonymous said...

Tossing your sneakers up on the phone lines marks your territory, similar to how African lions mark their territories by pee'ing. But this kid from York Ave is probably a MTV cookie cutter rebel who buys some Ecko clothes from Macy's and then considers himself gangster.

What's worse than Yellow cab drivers are private black car limo drivers. They live life in slow motion which transcends into their driving. They drive a handful of clients from mostly corporate accounts and spend most of their day driving in slow motion waiting for the night rush, impeding the rest of us who have to get somewhere. Many of them keep laptops in the car as they have nothing to do most of the day and some of them watch movies, (occassionally porn)while driving which would explain why they drive at 15mph when people are trying to pass them. They also idle at legitimate parking spots so that is why we park at taxi stands... you must blame your counterpart for that.

very bored said...

Is there anything more boring than reading about a cabbie with a need to pee? That's not really very exciting.
How about stories about rescuing lost children or stopping a murder or mugging? One more pee story and I'll look elsewhere for entertainment.
And are you that busy that we get like 1 post a week? Come on, pop out some "NYNY" stories like we see on tv...

So Cal Taby said...

I love it! I can't tell you how many times I get on here. Tired from taking care of kids all day. Then I read about your shifts and it really puts airs back in my tires. It helps me get through my day. Thanks! Taby

itsybitsygod said...

Sometimes I have to supplement my cabbie fix with Night Cabbie articles from Willemette Week. She makes me happy. I really don't like the Night Cabbie guy from the San Francisco Gate though. He seems like an ass-hat. I'm glad he's apparently done with all of that.
So my point is: How could anyone be bored with hack stories? Even when they're bad they're good.
If you don't like it, don't read it. 'Cause if my life were so boring that I read blogs I didn't like just so I could post topic-accurate snark in their comments, I'd probably have to consider a lifestyle change, like I don't know, playing in traffic for kicks or something.

helen said...

Your blog if fun to read. You need to post more often

very bored said...

I'm just saying that reading about someone's need to pee isn't too damn exciting. I'm looking for something more. Give me more!
And as far as you go itsbitsy, if you find someone's need to pee invigorating, maybe it's you that has the problem.

adware said...

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Blgos give this opportunity so cool!

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misticsea said...

I have never read a blog before. I started reading my son's who is in Japan. I enjoy his writting style tremedously (not just because I know him...)Anyway! he has a link to you and now I know why...You are an incredible writter too! This is better than a best selling novel. Two thumbs up! I will keep coming back to see how you are doing and what is going in in N..Y.
Thanks for taking the time to share!

skrauntor said...

i too defend cabbie's...for the most part. but they sure can piss me off too. the brother/sisterhood of the cab industry is not as strong as it could be. it amazes me how many times i get cut off by an over agressor, kickin' it in the middle then swooning down like a vulture when they see their prey.

and hey, what's wrong with actually pulling over to pick people up instead of backing traffic up...i mean come on cabbies...maintain the flow.

if there were cabbie olympics, i'd mos definitely not make it to the podium...i'm too laid back, all about the smooth ride.

peace & safe driving

american_crusader said...

Careful Hack...He looks like a chunkier half brother of Uday Hussein!

Checker Driver said...

I used to look at the traffic and the lights like I was carrying a football to the end zone. It usually worked pretty well and I used to pay particular attention to those NJ drivers...easy to spot really. Anyway, I was making my way down Second Ave near 66th street when I saw a fare on my side of the street. You can say that the father of your turn lane guy was a bit more aggressive and although I wasn't pushed into oncoming traffic, he did knock the side view mirror off the drivers side of my cab.

Great stories.
Stay safe!

Anonymous said...

WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH KIDS THROWING SHOES AND SHIT LIKE THAT ON LAMP POSTS AND SUCH!

Anonymous said...

On my first trip to N.Y about a year ago, I noticed that many of the cab drivers did not have a basic command of the english language. If they cant speak the language- how can they be expected to read the road signs? Really I think you are asking to much from them. :)

Anonymous said...

When I saw the picture you took of the hack who cut you off, the first impression I got of the sign on his door was that it read, "Cab Fake," just by the way the R is scraped off. It figures. Hope you see lots of green today (St. Patty's), that being the paper kind of course. Oh, and add me to the growing list of those who think you are a great writer, even though no matter how well one writes, they could make a better living driving a cab.. -jd2

Taluien said...

Well, just one thing to report from all over the world... just read a bit through your blog, which I highly dislike for being so good I can't find anything bad in it. ;-) You have a nice way of writing, so thanks for sharing all that stuff.

One think I'd like to comment on this particular entry is the way the taxi stand "non cabbie" parkers are dealt with in Gernmany. The cab company can always call (almighty Babelfish, help me translate "Apschleppunternehmen" ^^) a tow-undertake (don't know wether this is the right transaltion, I'll just hope it) to get those cars away. It is completely legal and the owner of that car even has to pay for the towing, so these places are always and only for cabs.

Greetz from just another weird german... with hopefully a not too bad english. ;)

Sumtimey said...

I love your page, you made me miss New York all over again. I will stop by here more often you made me smile.

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eleni said...

Awesome blog!
Are you goign to publish a book called "Taxi Driver Journals"? You should.
My blog is www.importantimages.blogspot.com
but it just started so not much is on. Keep going.

Eleni

Chipmunkboy said...

vist me chipmunkboy my blog is the cat was actuley killed by wild dreams

RPM said...

I was born in NYC and enjoy reading your blogs. I think you may have a book in the making!

Anonymous said...

i live right around there, i beleive thats 84th and york (very ncie neighborhood) and while shows over a lampost CAN signal things like gang territory, that is prob'ly some preppy kid who thinks hes a punk trying a prank

Henry Ng said...

Where I'm from (Chicago), a pair of shoes hanging up on a street light or telephone wure, etc. meant that someone got shot/killed nearby.