Thursday, April 27, 2006

Wanna know what sucks?


My car broke down on the way to work today. Which meant that I was no longer going to be working today, and therefore this update is not about anything really taxi related.

In fact, I was lucky. I had to make a detour through Manhattan before heading towards the garage this afternoon and, as I fought through traffic to get on the 59th Street Bridge on my way back to Queens, I just knew my car was about to crap out. It started shaking and shuddering as I got on the bridge so I stepped on it, just hoping I'd make it to the other side before it died. And die it did. When I got to the light at the bottom, it stalled and I had to stick it in neutral and roll it off the exit ramp and on to 21st in Long Island City, just under the Silvercup Studios sign and six blocks from the garage.

This is a problem I've had "fixed" by random mechanics no less than four times already, but clearly nothing has worked, despite the enormous amount of money I've spent on it.

I called Richard at the garage and asked him to send someone to come tow me in, since I was so close, but I knew my chances of working a shift tonight were doomed. I was too late. They were already loaded with too many drivers and I wasn't going to get a cab. At least they were nice enough to send someone to rescue me, and I appreciated that.

Of course, my car decided to start again right when Danny, one of the taxi mechanics, showed up, so he just followed me to the garage to make sure it didn't stall on the way. When we got there, Lincoln, the head mechanic, looked at the engine and disconnected something that he said might help. If it didn't, he told me I'd have to replace some part that I don't remember the name of.

It would probably really help if I knew the first thing about cars. But at this point, it will have to be enough to know a few expert mechanics who will be honest with me and not try to gouge me out of more money than my 1989 piece of shit Buick is worth. I guess this is one of the "perks" of being a taxi driver working out of a garage. Actually, it's when stuff like this happens that I'm happy that I've stuck with this garage. They've been very good to me since day one.

So with the car working again and my day freed up, I stood around for an hour bullshitting with some other drivers before heading home. Those afternoon pre-shift story-telling sessions are sometimes my favorite part of the workday.

And now for some other news: I'm going out of town for the next two weeks, which means this shitty blog update is probably all there will be for a little while. I'll be in LA, though, and I have a feeling I may have a thought or two on the traffic situation there, so if you want to read more non-cab-related posts, check back from time to time. If not, I should be back to work by the end of the second week of May.

In the meantime, another cabbie friend just alerted me to his new blog, so hopefully that will keep you entertained. It's called The Hungry Cabbie and it's about his on-duty discovery of the best food in the five boroughs. It's pretty much all you could ever ask for from a New York cabbie. But be warned: You'll get hungry just reading it.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

have fun in the golden state, lady cab driver. please don't neglect the blog while you're westbound, as this site is often the savior of many cubicle-bound drones!

LookinginmyRearviewMirror said...

Have a nice break from taxi-cabbing but hurry back so you can feed us with tales of the city! I really love your blog and can't wait for your book to come out!

pelican1 said...

Would love to hear your LA stories. Been there - hate it - the traffic anyway.

Looking forward to your book.

Lugosi said...

I don't actually have a comment. I'm just excited by the fact that IF I did, it would actually be near the top!

Dana said...

Welcome to Cali Girl!!! Good for you, wonder if your trip is business or pleasure?? Anyhow enjoy the beautiful weather, it looks like some rain today but by the weekend and into next week should be perfect!! BTW the traffic sucks terribly out here!! Stay off the 405!! So looking forward to your book and please post while you are here.
Peace

Rob said...

i took drivers' ed in midtown and i'm sorry that you have to drive there everyday.

i also love the posts by other cabbie bloggers--especially the guy from fredericton, nb, where i once worked as a traveling book salesman. what a place...

Joann said...

Sorry about your car. I feel the same way about the mechanics at our cab yard. Some years ago we had shifts and would have to bring the cabs in by 6am or 6pm. This was never an easy task. At the time I was the only woman driving at Yellow Cab in San Jose and my life was in the kind mess where I did not have a personal car. One day I asked if there would be a way I could take my cab home with me. It worked!! The owners said yes. I had to pay more per week but it was so worth it. I saved a lot of money not owning a car. It is so good not having to stand in the yard and wait and wait. Also I am the only one using the cab it stays clean--no male driver cooties. I started a trend and soon all of the lease drivers were on the same plan. Enjoy your time off the road.

lloydcheam said...

Hey MP,

Noted up there! I dont know much about cabbie in NYC, but if you could just junk the old buick away and do what Joann is doing, it might help you out alot.

Also, on car tips, I think if you try to get a Japanese Made car, even if it's a second hand, it's till worth. All my previous cars in US were all Jap. A Nissan 240SX 1989, 200K miles and still roaring! A Honda Accord EX 1991, got lower mileages and runs without a knock! I mean, at least the engine will not let you down.

Post Script: I got both car for only 3K.

Katy said...

Well enjoy your trip and please update us on your time there. Is this book related?

Leslie said...

Hey M,
Welcome to the West Coast. Hope you have a good time and I look forward to reading more on your blog soon. Keep up the good work. Sorry about your car.

Maria said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
celeste said...

have fun in LA rock n roll cab driver. because of your blog i didnt feel so bad about telling the lady at the phone company to fuck off the other day.. you make it ok to swear at strangers.

Sicilian said...

Enjoy LA. . . . sorry about the car. . . be looking for updates on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Yo Cracker!

I'm talking to you lloydcheam! Did you know Jap is a derogatory term?

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel, my clutch gave out the other day in peak hour traffic. Luckily I managed to get it into a parking lot at the end of the freeway. The mechanic told me it was going to cost R3500 (+/- $600), I flipped, but didnt really have a choice. Turned out he was wrong, and it wasnt the entire clutch kit, but only a part of the hydraulics, relief! R600 (100$)instead, far easier on the pocket :)

- By George

http://www.bygeorge.iblog.co.za/

Greg said...

So, how are you getting to the airport? Even if you could be confident that your car won't die on the way there, I don't imagine you'd want to pay to park it at or near the airport for two weeks.

lloydcheam said...

My bad! I should have said 'All Japanese'.

Anonymous said...

Honesty is the best policy

annmary said...

It's always a real diverting moment in my day to read your blog
also interesting the happenings good and worse from a lady cab driver; I suppose the trouble shooting things are the same all over the world for taxidrivers. About mechanics it would be usefull you got a emergency service specially in main towns to avoid dangerous trafic upholds and obstructions.

Anonymous said...

Have a safe trip!

Alan said...

I'll be waiting you come back to write here.

Have fun in LA.

West Texas Cowboy said...

On your way to LA stop by in Lubbock, the scenery is pretty flat, but no traffic. Have fun

Hannelie said...

Have fun and stay Safe!

Russ said...

I HOPE that the book people can advance you so you can buy something newer, like maybe a '95 Buick :)

R2K said...

Why dont you take the subway? I took the plates off my car and parked it in the country.

Dont need it in the city, and with gas prices, why would I ever again?

R2K

Anonymous said...

Hey West TX Cowboy,

So, is MP gona take a parachute on her flight from NY to Cali? It's funny when u you said, stop by in Lubbock...
well yeah, maybe she just need to tip the pilot well.

Central Oklahoma Scooter Boy

Anonymous said...

sounds like the lock-up torque converter. I had an '89 Century myself and that's exactly what happened to mine -- at slow speed the engine would shudder and finally die at any full stop. The problem is the torque converter in the transmission that locks the gear in "overdrive" for better efficiency--eventually it fails in the "locked" position. Disconnected it any everything worked fine -- lost a little fuel efficiency on the highway, but I didn't have to think about it after that -- it still
goes.

Anonymous said...

LA:
Trader Joes; El Pollo Loco; manicured "lawns"; everything artificial and "dusty"(a nice word for grime)
Where "entertainment" is business.

nothing between you and Japan except a small area of expensive real estate.
Going to the countryside might mean the desert.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I had the exact same car, same color everything, a 1989 Buick Lasabre. It was a great car. I had about 200,000 miles on it before it gave out.

Anonymous said...

derogatory indeed us japs hate derogativity

Oh, Miss! said...

well. my family has been "buick" fans. They always had problems with their cars. I, however bought a nice Honda 15 yrs ago. One minor problem and she's still goin!

Annie in Alabama said...

I love your blog! I've only ridden in cabs in Atlanta - and let me tell ya, I was scared to death! Looking forward to going to NYC soon and see the sights. Maybe I'll end up in your cab!!!! I check your blog every day, I'm an addict!!!

Anonymous said...

To the individual who wrote:

"derogatory indeed us japs hate derogativity"

It is obvious you are not Japanese because your entry is appalling. No initial caps? No punctuation? Making up words that don't exist. You don't look to smart on paper, I hope you do better in real life.

Anonymous said...

M.P.,
You have a long flight so bring a copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Car Care and Repair with you. Although if your book deal goes through, I'm sure you'll have your pick of vehicles. By the way,if you could have any other vehicle, what would it be?
j.d.

Lady Hope said...

Awwww sorry for your car Dear
but have Fun

cpd44 said...

Might be your fuel pump or your electronic ignition. Does it only happen when the car gets warm, and fix itself when it cools off? I had that problem too.

cpd44 said...

M.P.

Book deal = NEW CAR BABY!!!

I'm sure you got the 10 million dollar bonus Pres. Clinton got for his.

Cpd44

Anonymous said...

nice idea the food blog.
pitty new york is so far away...
Grtz and keep it up.

Anonymous said...

I think I know what the problem with your car is. There's a nut loose, behind the steering wheel.

:p

Greg said...

Katy wrote:
Well enjoy your trip and please update us on your time there. Is this book related?

Hey, maybe she's going to negotiate a movie deal! :D

Alex wrote:
Why dont you take the subway?

Considering she ends her shifts in the wee hours of the morning and has to get home from someplace near Queens Plaza, I'd say she doesn't find the subway an appealing option.

Someone anonymous wrote:
Oh my gosh, I had the exact same car, same color everything, a 1989 Buick Lasabre.

As someone else implied, M.P.'s car is a Century, not a LeSabre.

mariasoledad said...

Marinez says:

Enjoy the trip, other world other cab. Is this trip book related?

Here in Argentina japaness vehicle are most wanted . Can´t belelive, there in the State you also chose japaness. I use a Palio, an old car from Fiat. Do you have it? I don´t think so. I have travel with it from the top North of the country till Buenos Aires.
Be back soon.

Anonymous said...

I would like you to tell us why are you going to LA. Is it for pleasure, for business-

What do I care?
Well, I care, couse I´m gonna miss you.
Take care.

MJ06 said...

That sucks cars breaking down sucks.
How every you seem a little pesimistic. I mean you should not refer to your blog as shitty. Really its quite good so dont get so down on your self. Not that I think you really are.

Anonymous said...

Hey have fun in La - thanks for leaving the alternate blog.. the Hungry Cabbie sounds hilarious!

Anonymous said...

might be the fuel pump.

EverJack1 said...

Greg asked "How are you getting to the airport?"

I would think she would hire a cab...... ;o)

Anonymous said...

LA has some horrendous traffic...i know i live there. But then again NYC has some really horrible traffic (I was there in 1994) that really rivaled LA traffic.

LA is a great city but unfortunately it is very spread out and public transportation is unheard of there.

There's a song that says "Nobody walks in LA"...so true.

Have fun! Go to check out Hollywood... they have some great hot spots around there.

deepeekay said...

Intermittent faults such MP described are the hardest thing to troubleshoot.

Could be as simple as a broken wire or a loose connector on a a device or a bad switch/sensor.

I'll go with the crankshaft position sensor

Anonymous said...

I drive (and love my) 1990 Buick LeSabre that used to die for no apparent reason. After a mechanice scraped "debris" off of an "intake valve" the problem was solved (for $50 labor). I sincerely wish I remembered more about it, if I find the work receipt and it says anything useful, I'll write again.

TonyR said...

love your blog... I haven't lived in NY for about 10 years now, I moved to the land of crappy drivers... NJ. :) That's LIC? When I saw the picture I thought Woodhaven for some reason.

Claire said...

I can relate to driving a Buick that breaks down a lot. I have a '93 Regal. My personal favorite was the brakes failing while I was on the freeway with all my friends in the car. That was a blast.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that silvercup sign where they shot the final sword fight scene for Highlander???

chry-flo said...

hi...my name's christina and italian, sicilian for the precision. i think your blog is fantastic!!! you live in the most beautiful city in the world! it must be so exciting!!! U'R too cool!! it can be seem pathetic.. but my great dream is to live in NYC and thanks your blog it seems I'm already there... bye
ps.please don't laugh at my mistakes! i don't speak,or write, in this case, english very well!