Friday, May 19, 2006

Welcome home






So tonight was my first night back in the cab. I got into the city around 4:00 and found my first passenger on 50th and 2nd. She wanted to go to 8th St and Broadway and, seeing that 2nd Ave was all backed up, I turned right on 49th. When I hit Lex, I turned left to head downtown. But somehow, I totally overlooked the sign that was posted that said no turns allowed between 10 am and 6 pm, Monday through Friday. I mean, I guess I always knew it was there, but I was distracted and rusty and not really thinking. I just didn't see it, and was still clueless as to what I did when I got pulled over by the TLC police.

They were just standing there, actually, waiting for idiots like me to do just what I did. The TLC officer waved me to the side of the street and made my passenger get out and find another cab. When he finally told me what I did wrong, I just felt stupid. I've made this mistake once before, over a year ago, and I got a ticket for it then, too.

I handed over my license and sat there feeling annoyed with myself. After a moment, though, I realized I needed to just roll with it and not let it get to me, so I got out of the cab. I walked up to the TLC police car and started talking to him, saying, "You know, I'm sure you hear this all the time, but I really didn't see the sign. I feel pretty dumb, actually, but I haven't worked in a few weeks and I guess I'm a little out of practice."

At first he was stern and a little cold, but maybe because I was sort of smiling and laughing about the whole stupid ordeal, he seemed to loosen up and all of a sudden we were almost friends. Of course, he still gave me the ticket, but I already knew there was no getting out of it. The worst part of it is the ticket holds a $150 fine.

It needs to be said that the TLC is notorious for being extremely unfriendly and unforgiving to cab drivers. They're our built-in enemies, mainly because their job is to ticket us -- and our job is to get away with what we can without getting caught by them.

My experience this afternoon, however, was actually not that bad. Sure, giving out a $150 ticket is not necessarily a compassionate act, but the officer writing it was at least decent to me when he could've been a total dick, and that makes all the difference. I think he even felt a little bad, since I was being so casual about the whole thing, and eventually he smiled, shrugged his shoulders, and with just the tiniest tinge of guilt in his voice, said, "I'm just doing my job." This I understood, but I was just doing my job, too. Unfortunately my job is one in which I run the risk of starting my shift $150 in the hole.

The rest of the night was fine. But the ticket sort of put a little damper on things.

I guess this was my official welcome back to New York.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

When it rains it pours.

The_'Real'_Batman said...

but then we can see how bright the sun is afterwards. I'm sure you'll be up to peak form in no time and shuttling people around

Love the blog by the way - awesome.
2nd poster as well!

Anonymous said...

I don't know why, but paying a traffic fine just sucks the joy right out of ya! Hope you have a better day tomorrow!

trashicon said...

hmmm. road sign and traffic fines... just two of the many reason i don't drive...

trashicon : for when it rains in melbourne

celeste said...

there was something in the news reccently about two teenage girls murdering a cabbie. and just last night a 71 year old cabbie got bashed for 300 bucks. full on hey..

celeste- melbourne

greg said...

Heads up, in case you're driving this evening: The new Apple Store on Fifth Ave., between 58th & 59th Streets (the GM Building), will have its grand opening today at 6PM. According to a rumor repeated by Curbed, one of the nearby streets will be closed for the event.

anti-shave said...

I think the first comment sums it up!

Courting Dementia said...

Arn't these they guys who busted and cuffed Mike Wallace a few months back?

luke said...

Hey mate, know just how you feel. Don't worry, could have been alot worse.

Nelson said...

HA HA!!!

Sicilian said...

What a welcome home. . . . sorry for your silly ticket. . . . he'll remember you when you're on Letterman talking about your book.
Ciao

Anonymous said...

Melissa, You did nothing wrong! What's wrong is the regulation! The City of NY won't admit they made a mistake when they created this regulation at the start of the Bloomberg Admistration. It doesn't do what it was intended for. That is to keep traffic moving. Any way you could have turned legally on Park Ave. That goes directly into Broadway and directly to the destination you needed. I'm going to include this in my next column that I write for Mini Press.. Abe

greeny said...

You know, I think you followed a very important gut feeling to not let it get to you and it turned out relatively well for you. If more people followed that idea(me included)as much as possible, life might be a bit less stressful for many. Hate that there was a ticket for you, tho....
You have a rocking blog, by the way....

catkins13 said...

I still would rather get a ticket for something I deliberately did knowing it was wrong!

Katy said...

hopefully you are going to have a few good fares to make up for the $150 lost. Question, did the fare that got out have to pay for the trip until then?

Drunken Master said...

Nothing like a swift kick in the pants to welcome you back to New York. Surely you'll make it up in the coming weeks. Cheers

The Lone Beader said...

Sounds familiar. Everytime my father visits Boston, he gets a speeding ticket on the Mass. Pike (not to mention parking tickets). I've lived here for almost 15 yrs. now...you would think he would've learned his lesson by now. LOL!

Shannon R said...

its one of those things you learn i guess. theres something about being non confrontational in a stressful situation that disarms most people. they tend to let their guard down when you interact with them that way. it does make life more enjoyable when you don't feel so angry or worked up about shit that happens. but a 150 fine still sucks.

AWE said...

Wow that is more than just a slap on the wrist.

Any time I get pulled over I am always nice to the officer. It kills their whole tough guy vibe.

Molly Sue said...

Fricken signs. Driving in NY scares the hell out me. Therefore I rely on cabbies like yourself to do my driving for me in the city. Keep up the attitude and driving.

I'm sorry I wasn't in your cab when TLC gave you the citation, I'da paid it for ya, or at least split it with ya'. When you make maneuvers like that it gets me there on time.

P.S. Been visting for some time but only just had the balls to post.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back!

I am sure your next shift will be filled with great fares and awesome stories

Anonymous said...

hey dont feel too bad :) i was pulled over for having a faulty tail light on my m/bike - i looked it that i got away with it for 4 weeks [due to me being lazy not getting it repaired] before another bike copper caught me and placed a yellow sticker on my bike for all to see. of course i played dumb but i didn't whinge about it knowing what i know.

it will cost me AUD$54 to get my bike re-examined within 10 days of the notice

welcome back

Anonymous said...

the cop was probably from Los Angeles and saw what you had just written about his city on your blog. he probably saw you coming and put up the sign right when you were driving by.

Anonymous said...

the cop was probably from Los Angeles and saw what you had just written about his city on your blog. he probably saw you coming and put up the sign right when you were driving by.

meesh said...

Ah, yes the NYC tickets. Argh! Not cheap either. :( My nemisis here in LA has been parking tickets. I swear the parking police hide behind bushes in Hollywood just waiting for you to park six inches into the red zone. It's enough to make a girl walk.

Maria said...

I hope it's not a typical NY welcome...

I'm glad you're back online, I love reading your posts! (just like everybody!)

Oedipa Maas said...

Nothing makes me more homicidal than a traffic ticket.

EverJack1 said...

Do they ever give warning tickets in New York??

EverJack1

Anonymous said...

Well do what I do when I get a ticket,(Im` a NYC cabbie as well)is I wait till the very last second when my plea is due, which is usually in 14 days, then mail in a not guilty plea. You will be called for a court date in 2- 3 months. Do NOT get a lawyer as I`ve been found guilty every single time I`ve gotten one, go there yourself in person and explain honestly what happened. All these lawyers do is postpone it, they could give two damns about you, all they want is your money. Then if you appear in person and you are found guilty anyway, immediately request an appeal. It will cost you $10 for the paperwork and $50 for court transcript. Last year I blatanly went through a stop sign and it got dismissed after I appeared in person and honestly explained that I was helping a passenger look for an address and didn`t notice it. The one before that, I made an illegal turn and if you can believe it the cop resigned so that was also dismissed. Talk about luck..Anyway, ALWAYS plead not guilty because chances are you will get off. Some Judges will dismiss it just for the fact that you show up. Do NOT listen to these idiot lawyers who say "You don`t need to show up...I`ll get is dismissed for you!" I almost lost my license 3 years ago when I was convicted for 3 out of 3 tickets, all after hiring these idiots then I got wise.

Jenn said...

Just don't pull that shit any more. Simple.

Anonymous said...

I too, was a victim of those random "no right turn - except commercial vehicles" signs in NYC. It was near FIT, and there was no right turn on Mondays between 4 -6 pm. How absurd is that. The sign was broken and upside down, and since I had the green light I didn't read it. After I turned right, a brownie (NYC traffic cop) was standing right there and waved me over. Being from out of state, I had no idea what was up. Needless to say, I got a ticket, even though I tried to talk her out of giving me one. I never will understand the traffic rules and parking regulations in NYC, I have no idea how anyone can drive a cab and keep his/her sanity! I love reading your blog, btw.

Anonymous said...

I understand what you went through. Last year I had family come in from Ireland for my younger brother's wedding. To make a long story short, I parked my car close to a coffee shop, But between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. The parking spot was resevered for valet parking. I got back to my car with a $50 parking ticket. I knew this because I live four blocks from the coffee shop. When I got back to my car and saw the ticket my cousin laughed at me because I parked right in front of the sign warning about getting ticketed. The sign could not be more obvious if it bite me.... oh well life goes on...

Lugosi said...

I suppose you could have argued that you were still on California time, but that would still have mad it 1 PM.

LookinginmyRearviewMirror said...

Yeah, you're back and in working order! I am sorry to hear about the ticket. Life happens, you have a good attitude about it. Great story.

Anonymous said...

This is why I moved out of NYC. Way too many cops everywhere. TLC cops looking to bust taxi drivers? Unbelievable. Since 9/11, NYC has become a police city-state. Here in Seattle, I'm lucky if I see one cop a week. And none of the bs socialist income taxes either. NYC is a great place to visit but not to live. Just my two cents :-).

Vibhanshu Abhishek 3.1 said...

Awww that was really sad, but hope your comeback hold more pleasant surprises :)

robert in delaware said...

Oh yeah, the "TAXI NAZIS" strike again!
My brother, a truck driver, had to deliver to the postal center in Queens, so he had to pick me up in De. to ride shotgun with him(literally). As we drove around town trying not to get lost or end up somewhere we didn't want to be, I could just imagine the drivers during the rodney king riots. You dont know who is just gonna walk up to ya and act out. Anyhow, we made it safe enough through the city,but the whole trip we were on edge, especially going through Brooklyn and stopping at redlights. You could just feel the looks, as if we were just fresh meat in a lions cage. The overpasses were really a bitch since most are posted as 13'4", which wouldn't be a problem if our Freightliner wasn't 13'6".
Ooh, sorry, ramblimg on again, but your pics just bring back the memories.
keep on keepin' on, Robert

Pat T Hat said...

California Dreamin'!

Anonymous said...

Well, you live in Tax and Spend Liberal Land, so what do you expect.

Move to a conservative State and you don't have Crap like that.

This just proves the Libs think the money you make belongs to them, and you should ONLY have what they think you deserve.

Here is a Dept. who's only job is to take money from Taxi Drivers. Doesn't Happen in my Conservative State. 70% of registered voters are Democrats, but they are mostly Conservative. THANK GOD!

Supra said...

I live in San Francisco and we have tons of those 'no left turn during these hours' signs. I thought it was absurd at first, but now I've gotten to the point where, if I get stuck behind someone trying to turn during the forbidden hours, I'm like, "C'mon, can't you read the sign??" Lol. I'll adjust my empathy.

PublicSafety said...

License: 5176540
Name of Licensee: PLAUT, MELISSA, A
License Type: Medallion Taxi Driver

Complaints? Dial 311 or out of NYC dial 212-NYC-TAXI

PublicSafety said...

License number: 5N16
Name of Licensee: EASY TAXI INC.
License Type: Medallion Taxi

Anonymous said...

My company (nor mine though) is just about 2 miles away from Venice beach. It's great you got home ok even with a ding first day. Your blog help amuse us and we should help you to see your smile.

Seriously, please give us a mailbox and I'll send $20. Everyone, let's help if you can spare to make Mellisa feel better.

greg said...

Hey, anonymous conservative: I thought conservatives were advocates of law and order. I guess they want the law to come down on everybody except themselves. Do you know what the origin of the word draconian is? The name of a leader of Athens in ancient times, Drakos. He was elected to impose law and order, but he didn't play favorites and soon a great many people had gotten in trouble with the law. So the electorate (which was comprised of men of privilege only) threw him out.

R2K said...

: ) You gotta read the signs.

R2K

maria inés said...

Some time those sign are like bobby traps. Isn´t a bit too much the fee?

Just don´t worry.

Drivin' in my car said...

When it comes to cars, you know I can check to see the consensus!

maria inés said...

I would like to tell Greg how usefull is for me the explanation of the term "draconian". Inmidiatly I wrote to the news paper best reporter, why it is that for we argentine cost us so much to pay incredible taxes. Where does the money goes?You know.
Write to me when ever you want:
mail to:inencini@hotmail.com

qwert said...

If you had a taxi union, you could do something about the TLC...

Anonymous said...

thc police are the worste more power to you keep up the fight taxi drivers have been taking gup for long enough

greg said...

I should set the record straight about Draco (or Drakos, as his name is spelled in Greek). See this. While the history books say his code became unpopular because of its overly harsh penalties, if the ancient Greeks were like the Greeks of today that I know, they threw him out of office because no one got away with anything.

My overall point in response to the anonymous conservative still stands, though.

K said...

To anonymous conservative --

I live in Texas. I would guess you'd think TX is a conservative state.

Son-in-law has received TWO tickets for not having a front license plate, because his 2005 Mazda 6 doesn't even have a place to PUT one, anywhere on his front bumper.

Why the tickets, then? Because they're busy installing red-light cameras at every intersection here, and the cameras are set up to take pics of only the front plates of all red-light-running scofflaws.

Shouldn't Mazda have to pay his tickets, since they built the car with no place to mount a front plate?

bklynd said...

Ah, I hate the no-turn rules, they are so easy to screw up. I got nailed one morning in my own neighborhood in Brooklyn. The stupid thing is that I was stopped at the light and saw several traffic cops standing around on the sidewalk, and thought, "Oh, there's the cops, better be careful!" Made a left, got a ticket. Had no clue.

There used to be some very graphic no-turn symbols right on the pavement in midtown - I liked those, you can't miss that.

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