Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hi! How've you been?


I've been hesitant to post here lately, mainly because I've been too busy for the past two months promoting the book (which is, of course, available for purchase using the handy little Amazon link to the right, hardy har har). And I certainly don't want to let anyone down, but I have to say, if blogging paid the bills, I'd probably do it a lot more. Writing this blog has indeed given me so much, but the truth is that for the past year or so, the book advance and some overdue settlement money from a long-ago accident are what's helped me get by, with some supplemented income from driving a cab. Call me selfish, but this is the way it is. I live in New York, for fuck's sake.

Still, I've been extremely lucky. For the past two months, I've been doing non-stop interviews to get the word out about my book. I was really happy that people were so interested, but it was weird and exhausting running around like that, answering the same questions over and over and over. Eventually, I got used to it. Plus, it was easier than driving a taxi! In fact, it wasn't totally unlike those long shifts when every single passenger that got in my backseat quizzed the shit out of me with the same exact list of questions ("How'd you get into this? Where'd you grow up? How old are you? What's it like to drive a taxi? What's next?").

What's funny is that I was being asked about driving a taxi so much that I had no time to actually drive a taxi. The side-effect of all this, however, was that after a little while, I needed a little break from thinking about, talking about, and -- yes -- writing about the damn taxi business. Which is another part of why I neglected this blog so badly.

Of course, I still find the job fascinating, and I find myself always coming back to it, no matter how hard I might try to get away. In fact, I just finished reading a great book about the history of the taxi industry in New York. I highly recommend it -- it's called "Taxi! A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver" by Graham Russell Gao Hodges. It really put me in my place, in a good way.

But, despite my obvious addiction to all things taxi, I'm finally working up the nerve to move on to other things. This whole thing, driving a cab in New York, started in the spirit of seeking out adventure. There was no intention to start a blog or write a book or do a hundred interviews and somehow become the spokesperson for an industry I only entered three years ago. And there was never any intention to make a career out of it and do it forever. I want to hang on to that original mindset for the next thing I do and not worry about all the other stuff, because then it feels like a trap.

Of course, I'm still working on deciding exactly what my next step will be, but I'm so excited by the idea of embarking on a brand new adventure. I've got a few ideas that I'm kicking around, but I'm not ready to talk about anything just yet.

And lastly, I haven't totally quit driving a cab. I don't think I ever will, to be perfectly honest. Now that the journalists are bored of me, I can pull a normal shift again if I need the cash. Which will be soon. And then there will be something to blog about.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would you ever consider selling autographed copies of your book?
It would be a great way for you to make a few dollars and for ppl to get a signed copy.

Lori K said...

For your next career, do something that's equally fun to write and read about! I enjoy it!

Barry said...

Well, we do miss you but I guess we can get by.
Any plans for a signing session in Toronto?
Good luck on whatever you decide.

Paradise Driver said...

I'd love to buy a signed copy also.

I hope that whatever you decide to do, that you take us along with you.

Either way, MP, have a wonderful life.

Anonymous said...

I heard you stumping your book on WPLJ-FM 95.5. Sounded good, but whatever you decide to do, DO NOT host a talk show.

I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with the book - no pictures. Pictures kind of put us in the cab with you as your blog does. Maybe in the second edition, a coffee table book?

Average Jane said...

Welcome back! I really enjoyed your book.

marlow said...

When polish editon will be in the stores?

Philip said...

Thanks so much for finally posting. I've been patiently waiting . . . The book was a really fun read, especially since knowing you through the blog. Keep posting when you have something to say.

Nan Patience said...

Well, I guess I've sort of stumbled upon this blog at its denouement. It sounds like it's only one battle in the war of life for you. Now you need to identify the next one, which undoubtedly with relate to this past one.

I wish you great, continued success, and like other commenters, I hope you'll take us with you.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back... We've missed you.

Try airport security... What's another thankless job you get to meet lotsa cranky people and this time you can beat them over the head and get away with it! :)

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I just finished reading HACK over the course of 4 days. It was one of those books that I couldn't put down. Loved your sense of humor and writing style.

Best of luck on your next adventure!

Austin Baird said...

I can feel the blog coming to an end - more's the pity. Perhaps in a short while.
You've really provided an entertaining, interesting blog but, I assume, when you move on, the blog will cease.
So, for what it's worth, I want to say thanks MP. I've loved your writing.
I wish you all the very best for the future :)

Renee said...

Just started reading your book and I love it!

Anonymous said...

yay! I've really enjoyed your blog for the past few years.

PatTHat said...

It'll be blogalicious I'm sure!

Eu penso que... said...

Amazing your blog!
I saw your interview for a Brazilian program (Didi Wagner - Incomum places)
It´s very intersting for me all about NY city. I love it!
Kisses from Brasil.
Andrea

Gina R said...

Heya Melissa.

Y'know, I love the perspective on driving. But I also simply enjoy your voice, your observations and how you wrestle with whatever is in front of you. So, I'd like to encourage you to keep your blog going and simply expand it beyond hacking.

Confessions.of.a.NYC.Lezie said...

I spent an entire day reading your blog....and you kept be going really..interesting and captivating I must say.

Welcome back

Philothea said...

Hi guys,
Just wanted to leave my site for those of you who have to renew your defensive driving discount. http://www.newyorkdefensivesdrivingdmv.com-a.googlepages.com/
This is also good for point reduction as well as a 10%discount. You can also reach me at http://taiw.org/NYClassScheduleNY.aspx

Take care,

Bill

4min said...

Yes I've read your book, loved it, wrote a short review in the beginning of one of my posts, and now I'm on to the "taxi!" book. not as fast of a read by any means. I've been on page 60 or so for about 2 weeks, lots more info though.

as is said in the book, by a taxi driver in the 40's "there are three types of passengers... one of which is the quizzer."

It's nice to know when we look at history some things never change.

ileen said...

If you drive a shift now, you should bring copies of your book with you, and if the passengers start asking the same old questions, you can tell them your answers are in the book and sell them.

Eric B said...

Don't you think posting blogs here is a good way to promote your book? See Greek Tragedy and The Search by John Battelle as key examples of juicing book sales with a blog.

wrdcreater said...

Yeah, it does suck for the readers when you are not blogging, but you have been doing this for awhile, and if you want to take a break...fuck it. Take one. We will still be here when you get back. But eric b. is right. A constant blog will keep you out in the public eye, for promotion's sake.

Anonymous said...

It's been a trip. Hope the new one is as much fun.

Anonymous said...

has everyone seen http://www.yellowcabnyc.com ?

Stupid NYC said...

I like what you have to say. My grandfather drove a medallion cab from about 1947-1970. All the best.

Anonymous said...

A suggestion for your next career: Dominatrix

Mary said...

I promise to never quiz taxi drivers anymore. I just finished reading Infidel and in the book the author was hiding out in the US at one point. She described Americans as Curious. Always asking questions. I thought of me in a cab right away. I will stop.

Anonymous said...

I really hope that the end I feel coming to this blog is not so. First and foremost, I have to say that it has been great and entertaining, entertainingly written and compelling.

Secondly...I beg to differ that this blog "doesn't pay the bills". If it weren't for the blog, you may not have had the opportunity to pen your book. And without the blog, you likely wouldn't have near the built-in fan and readership base your book now has. So, indirectly, it does actually pay the bills. It is for that reason, and hopefully your enjoyment of entertianing those of us in cyberspace that have come to regard you as a comrade, that you'll continue to devote time to this effort.

The Cab Guy said...

Melissa,

Great blog, wish you lots of success with your book.

I'm a cabdriver here in Phoenix, Arizona, which I love doing. What I want to do for the customer is give them a safe ride via the most efficient route, and be has helpful along the way as I can.

What I don't want is to put up with any crap from a person in my backseat who feels they have the right to dump on me because I'm "just a a cabdriver," or, as one nincompoop put it, "Well, I'm paying you!"

Yes, you are paying me - for the ride. If you want to dump on me, you need to pay extra. Lots and lots extra, because I don't sell my dignity cheaply.

Get in my cab, and believe me, I'll do the very best I can to earn your respect and good will.

But, if you want me to respect you as a customer, then you need to treat me as an individual, without any preconceived notions, biases, or reations to the problems in your own life.

Cabbies: did your last customer stiff you? FIDO - "F--- it, drive on!" and do the best you can for your next fare. And the next, ad infinitum.

Customers: was your last driver a jerk? Don't take it out on your next one.

Sincerely,

The Cab Guy
www.RoadRageTaxiTales.blogspot.com

Deborah said...

Hi Melissa,
A long time ago you mentioned possibly trying something like ranching or farming. You should give that some more thought, if you're seriously looking for adventure. Check out my blog for more on that: http://antiquityoaks.blogspot.com For the past few months, I've been dealing with a coyote (or two or three) who've developed a taste for lambs, chickens, geese, and ducks.

conniemadway said...

that sounds really awesome. i would love to get published someday (my blog is mostly about writing). how did you get into that field?

Taxi-Germany said...

Hi, grüße aus German vom Capdriver Bayern

wrdcreater said...

Glad to see you are still blogging.

Anonymous said...

(1) Watch first: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5232639329002339531

(2) Second: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1070329053600562261

(3) Finally, watch www.zeitgeistmovie.com.

nexie said...

I've always wanted to know the inner lives of cabbies, and your book opened that door for me. Everytime I'm in Manhattan, I always hope that you are the one behind the wheel as I hail a taxi down. Also, because of your honesty, I've been really good to the hacks at the wheel. Whatever you decide to do, you just *have* to keep writing as passionately as you do about it.

New York State Governor said...

Awesome, congrats on the book. I'll have a look at the amazon link and might even purchase it.

Julie said...

Thank you. I am really enjoyed.

London Heathrow airport taxis said...

Great amazing post, and its good informative post good work keep it continue

tenenda said...

I FOUND YOU!!

I read your blog like crazy a few years ago, and i moved out of the house and forgot all about my favourite sites. and my mom deleted everything, and ever since then i could never find you for some reason! now I've found you and your book is out! AWESOME! congrats!

Defensive Driving Course NY said...

I wish you will take us along with you where ever you are, may be your book, blog etc...