Monday, March 06, 2006

So a gay cowboy gets in my cab...


This is Elliott and Allen, two of my friends from the garage. They're standing in front of a retired roof ad for a band I never heard of but I thought it was funny -- and kind of stupid -- that they're called "Train" and their album is called "Cab."


On one of the lockers behind them is this old sticker advertising the defunct NYC Taxi Drivers Union. Believe it or not, taxi drivers once had a union that sort of protected them, sort of not, according to the old-timers. Apparently the union lost what little power it had and faded away after the taxi leasing system was put into effect. The quote above the image of the hands says, "It's nice to be nice." Perhaps the union would've survived if their slogan told drivers it pays to be nice.

As for my shift tonight, it wasn't great. In fact, it was pretty fucking slow. Early on I picked up a middle-aged guy from Penn Station who unloaded a whole story about how he just broke up with his boyfriend of 15 years. When I asked why, he told me that the boyfriend had begun doing a shitload of crystal meth, staying up all night having sex on the internet, and just generally acting like an asshole. I asked, "How'd he get into doing crystal?" He explained simply by saying, "We have a house in Fire Island." That explains everything. (For those who don't know, Fire Island is a predominantly gay beachfront party town on Long Island where lots of guys go to get away from the city, relax, have sex, do drugs, and/or engage in other forms of debauchery.)

Once the big awards show was over, a very drunk gay cowboy flagged me down. I'm not kidding. He was wearing a cowboy hat, a fringed suede jacket, and cowboy boots. He was so wasted, probably from trying to drink away the pain of losing to "Crash," that he could barely tell me where to go. I said, "Where to?" He responded, "Down the street." I might've enjoyed having a gay cowboy in my cab, or even this city boy dressed as a gay cowboy for Oscar night, but it's just no fun when people can't tell me where to go. "Okay, which street? Do you know the address?" He was having trouble speaking, but finally managed to slur out an intersection that made sense.

When we pulled up, he said, "Where's the gay place?" When I told him I had no idea what he was talking about, he replied emphatically, "The gay place. There's a gay bar around here somewhere." I looked around but only saw some shitty bar & grill type place that definitely looked straight, so I just said, "I don't know, but good luck finding it." It was a bit rude of me, but there was no way I was gonna get stuck driving around looking for a bar with someone that drunk. He spilled out of the cab mumbling some unintelligible jumble of words and I just drove away. The incoherent drunks are always annoying, but I guess if there had to be a theme to my night, I'd rather have it be "Brokeback Mountain" than "Crash."

61 comments:

Aussie Bob said...

Long time reader first time postee...You would of heard of one of Trains songs "Drops of Jupiter" very catchy....I must say after reading your blog i have a greater appreciation for what the NYC hacks go through. My most memeroable experience involved getting in a cab at the South St Seaport trying to get to midtown at about 5pm the friday before a long weekend. Wew driving up the FDR and the guy was constantly bitchin about jewish people leaving the island for holidays....It was pretty uncomfortable but then he pulled the best move ...Traffic was backed up so he got off the exit at full speed turned once got on the on ramp and we were past the problemm...Good times good times...

Dave said...

I'll never forget when my brother in law visited us in upstate NY from Queens... he came unannounced and arrived at the train station.. ended up walking to our house because, unlike NYC, you have to call a cab where we lived, you couldn't just flag one down because they ignore you. Was he pissed!

I just added an audio clip to my blog.. too bad you couldn't do that here. I'd love to hear your voice.

Your post is entertaining as usual.. thanks for the great read!

Anonymous said...

>>I thought it was funny -- and kind of stupid -- that they're called "Train" and their album is called "Cab."
Their album is called "For Me It's You" (2006) and only one track is called "Cab"

Al Kover said...

I read about you with a photo of you in the Tabloid section of Gulf News, here in Al Ain, UAE. You might enjoy reading about my experiences in taxis in Al Ain on my blog: http://livinginalain.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_livinginalain_archive.html
my Sept. 29, 2005 entry

Matt

Raylee said...

Thanks for the comments

Greg said...

Wait, did the gay cowboy get out without paying the fare?!

Anonymous said...

Fire Island is actually an island off of Long Island, which you get to takinga ferry (no pun intended). There are many towns or little villages on it. One in particular is very gay, just can't think of the name of it as I will NEVER NEED TO GO THERE!

Anonymous said...

This could make-up for a lousy night ;-)

http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/rnr/139400750.html

Paid Survey said...

Leather sofa, Sleeping bags, HDTV antenna and Tarot cards are the things you don't like, do you?

Cecely said...

yea i know what it is like to pick up drunk guys who cant talk
I had one pass out in my cab he was in the military. i think he missed his fight cause he ended up in the hospital cause i could'nt get him out of the cab

Turner Mitteron said...

ahhh. you city drivers have it so easy haha
Us country cabbies have it so much tougher...no poofy cowboys where I come from. only non payers and who cares if a non payer is gay or straight.

Maggie said...

You just dissed my favorite band! Shame on you! I'm also sure you've heard "Meet Virginia" and "Calling All Angels." Or "Get to Me" from those Cingular commercials with the hot male triplets. Train has always seemed to be the band with amazing songs, but that no one call recall the name of.

Anonymous said...

Hello M.P.

I love to read your blogs. Dont ever quit!!!
I mean it.
Love ya
Jewels from the Dakotas.

adrian said...

We've just had (gay)Mardi Gras in Sydney and I carried heaps of gays over the weekend. Ecstasy users are much better than boozers in the hack.

Anyway, the best thing about many gays when they party is their radical outfits. Skimpy hotpants and out-there stuff. Things is, these outfits don't have coin pockets so they never take change in coins !

The dodgy bit is they secrete their banknotes...well, wherever. So after clubbing for 8 hours they'll produce a note which is wet. I mean Aussie banknotes are polymer and it's wet ! So I put the note on the dash with, 'I'll just let that dry out for awhile'. Cruel I know but that's life in the cab.

MJ, the previous post was a ripper - one for the book. You are putting a book together, right ?

Jill_RochesterNY said...

I thought we were heading for a "brokeback mountain" analogy!!!

Pat T Hat said...

Ba Dum Bum..Chi!!!

JMoney said...

Do you ever get to drive the Ford Explorers or the mini-van cabs? I saw a hybrid explorer out yesterday.

Pablo said...

Unions are a pain in the ass, but they do protect the average guy from being taken advantage of. Unless the avergae guy is a dick and knows how to work the system.

Anonymous said...

If he was wearing cowboy gear, my first thought would be that he was looking for a watering hole like one of those "leather bars" on the West Side Highway. Thought just about everybody in NYC knew that.

Anonymous said...

I started driving in 1980 at the 18th St fleet (pre-leasing.) We'd see the union guy about every other month. Can't remember if the dues were deducted, or if he came to collect them and take a vote once in a while. In between official visits, he'd show up and sell maps, coin changers, and miscellaneous sundry items. The union didn't seem to do a lot of harm, but not much good either. (It's not like taxi drivers were going to go on strike, although various factions like LOMTO would threaten occasionally.) The union guy was a gem though--a short, stubby Italian guy that looked and talked like Jimmy Durante.

surly girl said...

ah, what to say on a first visit? i like the way you write. but i don't like the blogs where there are 97 comments saying "ooh, i did that too, come and read my blog". on balance though, i think i'll come back.

like you care!

The Liberal said...

Fire Island is actually a long, narrow island just south of Long Island. And, it's not as "gay" as people think it is.

Anonymous said...

Hey, everybody.

Lets help M.P. out.

With as many visitors as she gets here everyday, if everyone of us just "click" on each of the three google ads, she might make some extra money.

Only takes a few seconds and doesn't cost you a penny.

Anonymous said...

I read about your blog in the albuquerque journal this morning...
by the way I had a breakfast burrito at the frontier while reading about you...enjoyed reading
thru your notes...hello from new mexico.

katet19

NYC TAXI SHOTS said...

i am sure you heard of death cab for cutie

Big Daddy said...

I clicked my 3 ads for the day.

Mrs. Atkins said...

yep, it takes all kinds to make the world 'round, but it sucks when they show up all in the same day....

mrs. Atkins said...

Yep, it takes all kinds to make the world go 'round but it gets tough when they all start showing up at the same time!!

K said...

I'm new to the blogosphere--but this is great.

I'm coming back for more---interesting stuff that I haven't read before...

Anonymous said...

A drunk cowboy???? I thought that only happened here in Texas....oh wait..you said GAY drunk cowboy...nope not Texas!!!
Keep up the great work..love your site!

Scott in San Antonio,
Texas (Where the men are men
and the sheep are scared!)

Anonymous said...

My only memorable NYC cab ride was about 9 years ago - I was out of smokes, the driver gave me his last Dunhill, then pulled over at a smoke shop and got me a new pack.
Oh wait a minute...I also remember doing illicit drugs in the cab on my next trip to NY - the driver chose to be oblivious, the gods bless him.
I love New York.
Peace out from Montana.

Dylan said...

Tricky little closing line. I enjoyed this entry a lot. Did you make the gay drunken cowboy pay... I hope he wasn't broke.

fly-on-the-wall said...

NY HAck,
Just want to thank you for your site- I lived in NYC for 30 years and drove a hack at night for 2 years while I attended Baruch College. I love the photos you post-makes me realize that even though I live in North Idaho, I'm still a New Yorker at heart.

Patrick said...

I can't get enough of your site. Maybe something like Crystal Meth? I love this site so much I put a link on my own blogspot. Keep it comin'..it's one hell of a read at work.

Finishing Law School said...

Glad to see that you are back posting!

itsybitsygod said...

Yay! You're back! I was getting worried.

For the record, Train sucks. And I don't just mean a little. Count yourself lucky that you've never heard of them.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, you dropped that drunk cowboy off right in front of my house--he was trying to open the doors to all the shops on the block, closed and shuttered for the night. I had run across the street for ice cream, and he stopped me to slur, "Where'ssss the gay place?!"

Ed B. said...

I think M.P. laces her site with some sort of addictive stuff.
Gotta love the drunks, eh?
Keep it comming!
ED

Rubic_Cube said...

Never heard of "Train". Gotta google for them. Also, like someone mentioned, did that gay cowboy pay his fare? As you have not mentioned anything about it, nor do you sound sad... looks like money wasnt a prb! Me watched both Crash and Brokeback and voted for Crash. Somehow felt Crash was more gripping drama than Brokeback.

inkyhack said...

Hmmm, I wonder if he was more upset that Jon Voight still hasn't reconciled with his daughter? Or maybe he's just trying to relive the whole Midnight Cowboy thing.

Charlie said...

2 of those lockers in the picture look so putrid...lol...I can't believe anyone would use them. I mean those 2 lockers look like they need to be thrown away. Get some nice, new shiny lockers. I bet though that the place is too cheap to do so.

Anonymous said...

More taxi union stuff ...

Like the other poster I started out in that ratty W. 18th St. garage, early in 1981. Leasing started at about that time, and it made no sense to give the garage about 50% of your take, when you could keep more leasing, assuming you actually worked 12-14 hours.

What must've helped kill the union was the evil $2 a day lease fee they robbed us for. Soon you saw drivers wearing buttons saying "DUMP THE DEUCE."

When you went to the office to pay your dues, they had many computer screens of info on you, but if they saw you looking, it was, Hey, stand over THERE.

jin said...

I have to agree w/ Patrick & Ed...very addictive site. Keep writing, you're GOOD at it!!! Thanks for the entertainment. Peace.

Anonymous said...

way to go getting rid of midnight cowboy. As I said before:
I'm not homophobic.. I just dont want it shoved down my throat.

Mat said...

Another denizen of Albuquerque here. I thouroughly enjoy reading your blog. Isn't it amazing that you run into the same "type" of folks no matter where you go? LoL

Anyway, keep posting please.

Anonymous said...

u should start up the union again

Anonymous said...

This isn't Aussie Bob from Lambertville, NJ, is it?

Anyway, dig the blog. Have from the start.

Anonymous said...

Recently heard of a South Jersey cabbie getting revenge on his lousy fares with this stuff:
http://www.liquidass.com/

Though I guess the story would only get good after they left the cab.

Matt said...

I love New York City cabs. The cabs down here in D.C. have no meters and they go by some kind of zoning system that you can't possibly understand if you're the least bit wasted. They'll go down another block to enter a second zone and drive the price up.

Love those N.Y. cabs--you know what you're paying.... Thanks for advice on tipping and please don't criticize people for asking about tipping etique, as if we should already know. If you don't know something, you should be able to ask.

greg said...

Hey, M.P. and any other NYC hacks who may read this comment: an acquaintance of mine, a 34-year-old white woman with black hair, took a cab today (Thursday) from Times Square to Madison Ave. and forgot her suitcase in the cabs trunk when she got out. If you were the cabbie who drove her or you know where her suitcase is, please send me an e-mail (GrusumGreg{at}Gmail{dot}com) and I'll let her know. Thanks.

Tommy said...

Great story. Very entertaining. You are an excellent writer.

Jericho said...

love reading your posts, and i apolgize for not commenting until now ~ just wanted to say thanks for so many enjoyable moments reading ... thought-provoking, humorous, insightful, touching - you have it all

checkerdriver said...

ahhh, wearing the union label.
I remember paying the dues (not much really)back in the 70's, and they were always around if you needed help with a cruel garage owner...they wer around too. But it wasn't like they were going to go too far for ya, or set up a pension fund. The maps were cool. I wish I had my union dues now. I could buy a tank of gas.

paulthepittsburghcabbie said...

Oh the gay guys, they are the worst. When they are drunk they can be the most obnoxious guys in the world. Got 2 in the back and we're doing 50 mph on the Blvd of the Allies and the one starts screaming: "stop the cab, stop the cab". You don't stop the cab there unless you want to get run over. It's a straight shot into town from where they got in but they thought I was running them around to run up the fare. I would NEVER do that !?!
And then this nice girl gets in to go home after partying at this club. She's in the Navy and is going back after leave. She cuts the most horrendous sounding and smelling fart that I ever heard a human being do. To her it was no big deal....whatever...

Patrick said...

Love your blog.... I live in Palm Springs, CA, but am from the East Coast... Had a huge Sopranos party, and laughed at your posting re: premier night in NY. Thanks for all the entertaining moments, and keep 'em coming!

Me said...

wow thats cool check this out http://adultfriendfinder.com/go/g771165-pmo

ARION said...

" New York snow this time of year
There’s nothing more beautiful to me
Except for you..."

Those are the opening lines of the song Cab by Train. Its actually about a NYC cab driver. I love the song.

You have a great blog!! Thanks for sharing your life.

Godspeed....

'Sometimes I think I’m the only cab on the road......' - Train

gomarky.com said...

wazup I need more support from New York~!!! d' way this is ur real GOD!!!

bob said...

you article kidnoff good makes you remember something

Dave "Roadkit" S. said...

Congrats on the book deal. I have to admit, I'm jealous. I'm also very happy for you.

You "kick ass" as we used to say...

Checker Driver said...

evidently I have left a required field blank. That is the look I got when I had picked 4 people up at the then anvil off of 14th street and wouldn't let one of them sit in the front seat of my cab. They were only going to the empire diner so I thought that the tight fit wouldn't bother them all that much for such a short ride. I was just glad they didn't start poping the amy's. It really gave me a headache after a while. I did give them a discount on the fare just so they would shut the hell up.