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December 30, 2008

December 30, 2008 – New Years Eve

            New years eve wasn’t bad this year.  For my 12 hours I made about $500.  The office tried to jerk me around and crappy rides from the hotel to all of the local restaurants.  You know, that same hotel that doesn’t like to wait for us when it’s slow and puts our rides in their illegal town car service and unlicensed cabs from San Diego.

            I just turned off my radio so that I don’t have to listen to Julie squawking or Catherine’s desperation. Then there's the terrible radio etiquette and the drivers “walk” all over the other cabbies' trying to call in.  So nobody ends up getting through.  It’s a real mess.

            Today is one of those days that I just do what I want.  I pick up people wherever they need a cab and bring them wherever they want to go.  I ended up all the way by Carlsbad at the end of the night.  It's much more efficient this way.  Catherine called my four times and left four separate messages.  I’ll probably check them tomorrow.  Or I may just delete them.

This Week's Search Keywords

More of the same.

                Once again, "Garbage House" reigns supreme amongst my search phrases, followed closely by searches related to rednecks, large shits, and bad haircuts.


December 26, 2008

December 26, 2008 – Corky

             Corky was dispatching tonight so there were a number of problems – forgetting to write down where you wanted to receive calls from, forgetting to write down where you were going, incorrectly writing down the addresses of people needing a taxi.  If only Corky had put as much heart into doing that job as he had into loving Jesus we would be getting somewhere.  But alas, Corky is yet another of Catherine’s bible beating ex-con’s.  


"Corky".  


What a mess.

December 24, 2008

December 24, 2008 - "Hitler Reacts" Parody

          This is simply an edit that was sent to me by a former "Cortez Cab" driver who has been following my blog.  He lives in Tijuana with his father.  A younger, intelligent driver who was disagreeable with "Catherine."  He left the company involuntarily after an altercation with one of the local hotels staff after he was shoved by one of the bellboys.  Word is Catherine fired him after she heard that after he was shoved he spoke with the hotels manager and made a complaint.  She was terrified that this might bring unwanted scrutiny from the city.  So I hear.

video

         He made a parody from a film detailing Adolf Hitler's life.  I guess it's pretty popular.  Not sure the name of the movie.

         I wouldn't have chosen to compare Catherine to Hitler.  For Catherine, I think I would have went with Ralph Wiggam from The Simpsons.


December 23, 2008

December 23, 2008 – Please Don’t Do That In My Taxi

             No good stories in the last few days, however I have come to realize that there are things that I’d rather not have passengers doing in my cab.  Here they are in no particular order.

1.     Singing in the cab.
2.     Asking my craziest cab story.
3.     Going less than 2 blocks.
4.     Being repeatedly told how to get somewhere once you have acknowledged your passengers and informed them that you know exactly where their destination is.
5.     Try to haggle on the cab fare, or tell me that it was cheaper last time. I’ve driven your route dozens of times, I probably know within a dollar what it’s going to cost.  Don’t tell me it was cheaper last time – because it wasn’t.
6.     Picking up smelly beat up bums that smell like a pee cocktail garnished with B.O.
7.     Being constantly asked if it is usually this cold (65 degrees), or told that the weather is nicer where they came from.  That’s wonderful, I’m sure Detroit is beautiful, why would you ever leave.
8.     Being asked if you live on the island.  Do you have a $3 map I’ll show you what a peninsula actually looks like.  Don’t know why this sham about calling Cortez an island irritates me so, but it does.
9.     Being asked if I’m grumpy.  I wasn’t until you spilled you drink and started shouting in my cab.  Contrary to what my blog suggests, I'm actually quite friendly.  It's no secret, bad news sells...:)
10. Being asked any question that starts out by shouting “Hey Cabbie!”

December 15, 2008

December 15, 2008 – Mr. Swalee’s

Julie: Cab 666
Me: 666
Julie: Pick up at building 1810 in The Palms for George.
Me: 10-4

            For the last two months there has been this guy named George who takes a taxi from his apartment to a local Thai restaurant called Swalee’s.  Problem is that the fare is $4.80, and he gives $5.00.  If it was busy I wouldn’t mind, but we are in the slow season and I just waited 2 hours for this ride.  When I get here it is no surprise as to where we are going. 

            At 97 it takes several minutes to ease himself into the taxi.  After that there is the usual complaints.  The noise of the radio, the cold (70 degree) weather outside, some medical condition of his etc…  The whole way there he is complaining about how cold it is with the window down.  I am sweating in the car and I tell him the window motor is broken in hopes that he will request another cab on the way back. 

Sure enough, an hour and a half later, I get a call from the Thai restaurant.  I’m pissed.  I sat at the cab stand for 90 minutes for this.  I go there with the window rolled down.  George walks up to my car and angrily begins thrashing his cane inside my window and around the frame.  The sea was angry…  I yell out for him to stop it and he shouts out “I don’t want you!” 


I know if I tell the office that he doesn’t want to ride with me because I have a “broken window” they will just call me to the shop to have it fixed.  Since there is nothing really wrong they will quickly figure out that I lied to George to avoid picking him up, thus having to deal with a lecture that will quickly be forgotten - in addition to having several hours of my time wasted.  I drive around the block and inform George that I had to pull the window up by hand.  Needless to say it was a silent drive back to his apartment, as it was apparent that neither one of us was very happy.


November 26, 2008

November 26, 2008 - Shooting Photos

For now another photo posting.  This is a photo of the Chicago skyline shot from the John G. Shedd Aquarium.  More on the taxi company soon...  For more photos visit my photo blog at -

http://sandiegocabbiephotography.blogspot.com/

Chicago Daytime - Shot for the John G. Shedd Aquarium
Chicago Daytime - Shot for the John G. Shedd Aquarium (Desaturated)
San Diego Nighttime - Shot from the Coronado Ferry Landing
Joshua Tree National Park (Dusk, Desaturated)



These were all simply cropped from a larger image.  There was no stitching used.  More about that on the photo blog.

November 25, 2008

November 25, 2008 - Photoshopping

       These were some images that I borrowed from a friends blog.  It's conservative political humor for those who are interested.  These are just a few of my favorites.

http://theshavedape.blogspot.com/

 Barry Bonds Steroid Abuser
 Allen Iverson Criminal
 Mel Gibson Drunk Racist Jew Hater
 Greta Van Susteren The Wackjob
 Al Gore The Fat Global Warming Liar
Ted Kennedy The Drunk The Killed Mary Jo Kopechne
Funny Cheerios Parody 

November 24, 2008

November 24, 2008 – More From Stanley

             As I stroll in to the office I see all the familiar faces.  Stanley, our accountant is eating soup.  I suppose soup is a pretty safe thing to eat.  There he sits in the corner, dribbling on his faded button up shirt, which appears to be as much of antique as he is.  A string of drool hangs motionless from his bottom lip.   He doesn’t collect the cab leases anymore.  I’m not sure why.  My guess is that the drivers have become impatient with him as I had long ago.

             I go straight to “Victoria”, our effeminate bookkeeper.  I don’t often deal with people who are so old that their age consists of a three-digit number.  Perhaps I have some room to grow.  I smile, nod, and slowly continue to the back office.  Stanley is a nice man, I don’t wish him any ill will. 

            Victoria is the morale booster of the office, always trying to put a positive spin on things.  I’m not able to do that anymore, but I keep my peace, and focus on the matter at hand – paying my lease.  Victoria and I are on the same page with the operation of the company, and it’s malfeasance, but he keeps quiet.   I can see the reaffirmation of my snide comments in his eyes.  There’s an understanding here.  Albeit a unspoken one…

            Catherine is here too.  We make small talk, sharing strained smiles.  We have an understanding as well, although not one that is acknowledged.  Our encounter is brief.

            On the way out I pass Lupita in her lopsided office chair, which has become warped by years of strain by Julie and Bertha.  It’s resilience is astounding.  Lupita’s despondency is evident, with her glistening forehead, greasy hair, and sad face. It seems as if years of working at the company are beginning to show their age.  She has the good book to keep her company, as do the other office workers.

            Lupita and I are on good terms.  She likes me.  As I leave I pick up oil for the taxi and business cards that I offer as receipts since the company has decided that something more official isn’t necessary.  I’m expected to stamp the back of them with a generic template for the customers to fill out with any pertinent information from their trip.  I am much too busy for that.  As I am walking out I’m asked how many business cards I took.  I tell Lupita what she wants to hear.  I tell her that I only have 40.

            Catherine has been instructing the dispatchers to monitor how many business cards (which simply have the company name and phone number on them) that the drivers leave with.  I can only begin to speculate the reason for this.  Catherine has a reason for everything.  Reasons that she understands.

            And for the oil, when I do check it, which is done rather infrequently, it often needs several quarts.  But usually I don’t check it at all, I just dump in a few quarts – there’s always room.  I am expected to fill out a log specifying how much I take.   The rule is two.  I grab six and go on my way.

November 22, 2008

November 22, 2008 – Cadaver Cab

            Today I heard several funny stories about “Jorge.”   You may remember Jorge as the driver who pees in a milk carton in his van and stuffs it under the seat for his cab partner to find.

            Lets be blunt - Jorge is an asshole, and isn’t very inviting towards the passengers either.  Often he’s downright mean.  Well today it came to bite him.  I don’t know exactly what happened but it turns out that one of the local bar owner’s son punched Jorge right in the side of the head and then ran off. 

            The driver I spoke to said that Jorge was almost crying, yelling into the radio for help.  If only he had taken the time to learn even halfway decent English, one of us could likely have helped him.  Jorge was ok, he just left with hurt feelings.

            I was also told a story about how Jorge was stealing urinal cakes down from the Loews Coronado Hotel, over on Coronado Island,  to “freshen” his cab with.  Personally that one seems too good to be true, but more and more I see things equally ridiculous happening here on a weekly basis, so who really knows.

            One thing that I do know for sure is that Jorge is no longer allowed at the Glorietta Bay Inn, or any of the daytime cab drivers for that matter, because of what he did in the hotel’s bathroom.  I don’t know what exactly was done, but they brought out caution tape, yes, yellow CAUTION TAPE to close it off.  Like the stuff you would see at a crime scene.  The employees at the Glorietta Bay were not pleased.

November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008 – Repeat Offender Traffic School


           Today I went to traffic school, again…

            I get to go again tomorrow for an additional 8 hours.  I’m not your typical traffic offender.  I’m a “Repeat Offender”.  The class is twice as long as the traditional traffic school (8 hrs) but it costs 3 times as much.  Surely a punitive measure.  It seems silly to me to have a bunch of grown ups circled around a table playing trivia games related to California’s “Rules of the Road.”  Like were back in high school, in drivers ed.  Most of the people in here knew exactly what they were doing, they just weren’t worried enough about getting a ticket to not do it.  Me, well I was just following the flow of traffic.  Unintentionally speeding.

            I was pretty angry about the whole thing.  I had a fare in the car, my speedometer wasn’t calibrated, and the light on the dash that illuminates all of my gauges was burnt out.  I actually thought that I may have been going too fast and had started slowing down.  The offices solution – well it was to put a sticker underneath the dial for the speedometer stating “Car goes faster than speedometer states.”  Nice fix.   No expense spared here.  I pointed this out to the officer – he didn’t care.  I don’t much care for the California Highway Patrol. 


My dash lights.  The check engine light is always on. 


November 14, 2008

November 14, 2008 – Getting Back At The Liveries

            Retribution.

            It is not often that I am able to stick it to the man, or woman in this case – Catherine.  But today I did.

            For years now Catherine has been STEALING rides with her competing charter/livery vehicles, rides that rightfully belong to us.  Every once in a while we get our revenge.

            Today I heard the dispatch frantically calling one of the livery vehicles requesting them to come back to Cortez to pick up a passenger.  These are more often than not good rides, and unfortunately they are more often that not our rides.  I knew that I was only a few minutes from the Marriot, and would be able to arrive much quicker than the livery. 

            As I drove up I saw a couple with luggage that needed a ride to the airport.  They seemed surprised and admitted that they had thought a van was coming (all of our livery vehicles are Chevy Astro van’s).  In this sense they were correct.  They didn’t mind.  Then they informed me that they were told that the ride would only be $20.  I told them that would be fine.  I would have picked them up for $5 and taken a loss just to keep that money out of Catherine’s greedy little soiled pockets in her grubby men’s sized jeans.

            They were a nice couple, going back to Phoenix.  They gave a nice tip - $10, and were on their way.  I could have radioed the office and let them know that there had been a mistake and I had “accidentally” picked up a party that had called for a livery, but what fun would that be.  I let the livery drive all the way from the airport and fumble around at the hotel looking for the customers in vain.  A small victory for me, although it doesn’t even begin to make up for the years of thievery that Catherine has participated in.

            Shame on you Catherine, you little troll, shame on you.

November 13, 2008

November 13, 2008 - Shooting Photos

        I'd love to write another post about the company, but alas, once again I find myself not having the time, as I am also currently working on a photography blog of mine.  So, for now I will leave you with a picture.  More updates on that circus of a cab outfit that I work on soon...

         This is shot of the Hotel Del Coronado at dusk.  For more details on this and other photos of mine please click the above link.




November 12, 2008

November 12, 2008 - My Photo Blog

I recently started a Photo Blog.  Some of this will be on the cab blog as well, but in a different format.  This one will be strictly photography.

http://sandiegocabbiephotography.blogspot.com/

November 11, 2008

November 11, 2008 – Loaner Car

          Since my taxi once again broke down they gave me a loaner car.  As dilapidated as my regular taxi is, it looks like a Cadillac compared to the spare that I am now driving.  This thing is absolutely REDICLIOUS.  Perhaps it should be called “Chimney Cab.“  The guy who usually drives this smokes those little cigars in here.  CIGARS!!!  You remember Randy don’t you?


There she is on the lift.


That never stopped Randy.


I actually cant take credit for this picture.  I borrowed it from a friend who also works for the company. Were on the same page when it comes to what we think of the cars.  Catherine, not so much.  If you really want to get her all worked up just point out to her how shitty her cars are.  She's in denial, I just can't understand it.  You be the judge, pictures speak louder than words...



November 9, 2008

November 9, 2008 - Shooting Photos

I took a flight not too long ago.  Here's a photo that I shot from the airplane.  I like it.  Airplanes make some people nervous, but I find them relaxing.


November 6, 2008

November 6, 2008 – Geppetto

           Every once in a while one of our drivers gets into an accident.  I can’t say the same for “Geppetto,” he gets into them like they are going out of style.

            Suffice it to say “Geppetto” is his nickname, based on the fact that he looks like the old man from the Disney children’s classic “Pinocchio.”  Hopefully everyone’s familiar with Pinocchio.  Geppetto is a sixty something Polish guy.  At least I think he’s Polish, he has claimed several different nationalities.  One thing's for sure, he drives like a madman.  Tonight he crashed into a car, hopped a curb, and rolled to a stop just inches from the town’s police department.  The taxi was pretty banged up, as was the other car.  It’s probably safe to say that they were both totaled.


            It was quite a scene – fire trucks, ambulances, and squad cars.  Thankfully Geppetto was ok.  Strange thing though, the airbags didn’t go off.  Well, strange from a casual observers viewpoint.  Doesn’t seem all that strange to me, but then there’s things that I know about Cortez Cab that most people don’t.  Like the fact that Catherine doesn’t change the airbags once they deploy.  Why? Because that’s too expensive.  With that being said (by Catherine) it’s safe to say that the drivers lives are worth somewhere less than the $500 or so that it would cost to have the airbags replaced.

            All joking aside I find that rather disturbing.  For an outfit that “employs” drivers to utilize company vehicles doing official business, I would think that this would be a priority – the safety of it’s (the company’s) workers.  Air bags shouldn’t be expendable.   The city probably had to twist her arm just to provide seat belts and mirrors.

            Although airbags might not be enough to ensure Geppetto’s safety.  Perhaps a roll-bar too?  Maybe nearly emptying the gas tank and chaining the doors shut would better suit him.  You know, like cars in demolition derbies.  And for those of you who don’t know what demolition derbies are, well my friends, you are missing out.


November 4, 2008

November 4, 2008 – Business In The Front, Party In The Back

           I was talking to Seamus, one of our brighter foreign drivers.  He’s from Poland.  We were joking about another one of our drivers, one who isn’t quite so bright – Randy.  You probably remember Randy from my previous posts – the drunken redneck that had [the] “Good Year,” on his hooker and booze binge.


"Randy"

            Randy has this ridiculous haircut.  It’s a variation of the “Mullet”, a popular 80’s haircut which featured a shorter, more styled look in front that was long and wavy in the back.  Later came along a hybrid version of this – the rat tail, typical of the haircuts of Wal-Mart shoppers in the Southern States.


"The Rat Tail"

            To add a little pizzazz Randy accessorizes with a variety of different colored beads.  Seamus calls Randy the “CC Rider” or the “Cherokee Chief.”

            Another one if Randy’s trademarks are his mispronunciations.  These are a few of them.  Although pronouncing things when you are drunk must sure be difficult, especially when you are busy concentrating on driving the taxi…

            Peohe’s (A Restaurant) – Peeole’s
            Lowes (A Hotel/Resort Chain) – Lowell’s
            Costa Azul (A restaurant) – Costal Azul
            Clive Cussler – (An Author) – Cleve Clusser
            Laura Dern (An Actress) – Laura Dean

            One day one of the fellow drivers tried to correct Randy.

            Randy: I like that movie with Laura Dean.
            Jefferson: Yeah, she’s a good actress, I think she’ married to Bruce Dern.  (Providing added enunciation on Dern)
            Randy: Yeah, that’s her Laura “Dean.”



Si

October 29, 2008

October 29, 2008 – One Of My Tricks

             I have developed a good trick, a system if you will for cooling down my engine while I am driving.  Catherine’s taxi’s are old and outdated and have an array of problems associated with them.  One is that they overheat regularly.  This is caused by a few things – although it us most often due to a coolant leak somewhere, the fact that Catherine refuses to buy coolant (she just puts water in the radiator), or that the driver hasn’t checked the oil in months.  Truthfully I am guilty of that as well.

            That wasn’t the case today however.  My car has been routinely overheating throughout.  I notice this because the water/trace coolant begins to boil and steam up something nasty on my windshield.  It’s almost like a gurgling sound.  This is the point where I check my temperature gauge.  Often at this point the gauge is teetering on the red (DANGER) zone.  Whenever this lever goes into the red you’re in trouble, and risking blowing your engine.  Often times it will have to be in the red zone for a matter of time, I would suppose at least 15 seconds usually.


            It was quite busy and I didn’t feel like being inconvenienced by the office/shop and swapping out my taxi for another one.  This is quite time consuming.  So whenever I see my car approaching the red zone I either drop the car into neutral and coast for a bit, this works especially well on the bridge where the engine is cooled by the air, or turn it off.  I have many chances to do this, usually at stoplights.  If the engine is really hot I just tell my passengers that I have to make a quick 2-minute stop.  I explain how much of the circus things are with the shop and the cars and the office.  My passengers are always fine with this, and often times sympathetic.

October 27, 2008

October 27, 2008 - The Inverse Economic Relationship Of The Cab Company

           Cortez cab is unique in a number of ways, which if you have been reading is quite apparent at this point.  One of the more notable ones is the economics of the business.  With most companies, the more profit that they make, the more the employees are benefited – raises, bonuses, added benefits.  So as things prosper for the employer, these benefits trickle down to their employees.  Not at Cortez Cab though.

            Since we are contracted out by the company (as independent contractors) we are the main source of revenue for the company.  Whatever Catherine is able to profit above and beyond her overhead (maintenance on the vehicles, her office workers meager wages, etc.) she gets to keep.  The drivers pay a weekly least of $310, which will soon increase to $360.  

            So when Catherine makes more lease money, consequently there are more drivers, and less available fares per driver.  However, inversely, when there are less cab drivers working, there is more available fares per capita for the drivers working, and there is less lease money going to Catherine.  An important note though is that when there are less vehicles on the road there is less maintenance required for her vehicles as well, so her overall costs are lower.

            Lately the trend is heading towards more cabs unfortunately, and less money for the drivers, some of whom are working 70 – 80 hour workweeks, sometimes for weeks on end.  Catherine's not sweating it though.  Not in her air-conditioned mansion in Pt. Loma.


"Catherine's Home"

October 19, 2008

October 19, 2008 - My Audience

       This is what people were looking at when they stumbled across by blog this week.



          I'm not all that sure on what drives traffic here.  But one things for sure, if my taxi blog was about the drivers taking big shits in the toilet I would probably have found my "niche" market.

October 15, 2008

October 15, 2008 – The Main Gate

           Today one of the Navy carriers came into port. When I asked one of my fellow drivers which one it was he replied “The big one with the stupid people.”  Unfortunately this didn’t narrow things down much.

            We have a couple carriers that are ported here in Cortez.  The “Nixon” just left – it’s now ported up in Washington I believe.  Today it was the “USS Kissinger” that pulled in.  They’re all the same, just big ships with a bunch of people.  That’s not how some of the sailors see it though.  For a while we had 3 ships in port.  The Richard Millhouse Nixon, the Henry Alfred Kissinger, and the Spiro Theodore Agnew.  It’s true that Agnew and Kissinger don’t have a ship named after them, or Nixon for that matter (and it’s likely that none of them ever will) but just like my blog, their true identity will be forever shrouded in anonymity, or as much anonymity is possible at this point.  I’d hate to defame such a stellar service that Catherine runs over here.  And so I digress.

            At any rate those hooligans from the Nixon caused us quite a bit of trouble when they were in port.  They had so many of their sailors receive DUI’s that they imposed a ban on rental cars.  One of them tried to choke the cashier at the McDonalds on base.

            One day a while back a few of the sailors from competing ships got into a pissing contest about “who’s ship was the best” and started a giant brawl.  Something like 140 people were involved.  In all fairness it’s not all that unusual for people to get into an argument about this sort of stuff.  We call them children.

            One thing that I do enjoy when these ships come in is the business that they generate.  We get a huge influx of business for the first few hours that a ship comes into port.  I just go straight to the main gate and pick up whomever needs a ride.  There’s no shortage of people who need a taxi at the main gate.  People often try to bargain with me on the fare.  I don’t play that game when it’s busy, and with the Navy, when it’s likely that they won’t be tipping.  Were not alone, I talk to the servers at the local restaurants and they don’t get tipped either.  I don’t make up the rates, the city does, and although they are expensive, they’re fair.

            Since it’s so busy at the main gate there is typically a shortage of drivers throughout the city that are needed to pick up passengers at other establishments/homes.  As soon as I come back into Cortez, Catherine tries to send me to these.  I used to oblige, although since her thievery involving her competing livery service has become more flagrant I have quit doing so. 

            I’m out here to make money, not to appease my boss who is intent on stealing from us, and since it’s become clear that there doesn’t seem to be any sanctions handed down from the cab company, I don’t see the harm.  I just go over and over to the main gate and grab rides for $20 a pop.  I do it for the principle of the matter mostly, and to make Catherine steam.  If she’s going to illegally operate her livery service I’m going to make her work for that money.   Money that she’s not legally entitled to by the way, so that I can make less.  I sometimes turn the radio off entirely so that I don’t have to listen to Julie or Catherine asking frantically for help.

            The business continues through the night, but dwindles after a few hours and then spikes again, typically around 11, since the sailors usually need to be back on the ship by midnight.  When they leave the bars and request a ride back to the base they usually need a little help.  This was my conversation from my last ride.

            Me: Hello, where are you going?
            Sailor: To the base.
            Me: Which base are you going to ? (There’s like 7 Navy installations near the City of San Diego)
            Sailor: The Navy base.
            Me: Which Navy base are you going to?
            Sailor: The Navy base.
            Me: Right, but there are several, I need to know which specific one you are going to.
            Sailor: The one here on the Island, on the other side.
            Me: They’re all on the other side.  What’s the name of the base you need to get to?
            Sailor: I’m going to the ship.
            Me: What’s it called?
            Sailor: It’s over there. (Pointing)

            This is ridiculous.  How can you not know the name of the ship your on, or which base you’re currently ported at?  These are kind of important details.  Do they lose their gun too?

October 11, 2008

October 11, 2008 – “The Gesture”

            Catherine called me today, which she is becoming increasingly reluctant to do.

            It was about a complaint that she received from another driver on the road.  Earlier I approached a car (Car A) that was sitting at a red light.  I needed to make a right turn.  It appeared if Car A was just sitting there, waiting for the light to turn so that he could proceed through the intersection.  I saw an unused parking lane on the right side, which I have to admit, was slim.  But there was enough room to squeeze by on the side – so I did so.  As I was passing the stopped car the man began to shout in his car.  I couldn’t see what he was saying, but it was apparent that he was mad.  For what, I have no idea.  I gave him the finger and went on my way.

            Ring, Ring…

            Me: Hello
            Catherine: Hi -----
            Me: Yes
            Catherine: It’s Catherine.

            For those of you who haven’t been reading my blog, every single time Catherine calls me the conversation starts out like this.  It’s strange.

            Me: Yes
            Catherine: Do you know what this is about?
            Me: Nope

                        Why would I offer something up that she might not know?  This is exactly how detectives talk to suspects.

            Catherine: Were you driving the taxi earlier?
            Me: Yes (As she knew I was, she was dispatching)
            Catherine: Do you know what this is about?
            Me: No
            Catherine: Were you at 6th and Main earlier.
            Me: I’m sure I was at some point.
            Catherine: (A condescending laugh)
            Me: ------
            Catherine: Do you remember an altercation at 6th and Main.
            Me: Oh yeah, that guy that threw a fit in his car for no reason.  Now I remember.
            Catherine: Yes **** (My name, which I won’t reveal) that man.  He said that you snuck past him when there wasn’t any room.  He said that he was trying to make a right turn and you cut him off.
            Me: Well if there wasn’t any room then I wouldn’t have been able to get past him.  If he was wrong about that it’s likely that he was mistaken about everything else.
            Catherine: Yes ****, he said that you cut him off and wouldn’t let him make  his right turn.
            Me: If he wanted to make a right turn he could have used his signal to alert me, but he didn’t, and if that was his intention I would have had no way of knowing.
            Catherine: Yes **** , and he was a little confused about the gesture.
            Me:----
            Catherine:------
            Catherine: ****, do you see what the problem here is?
            Me: That the man wanted to make a right turn without using his signal, and realized after I was in position to take mine?  There were no oncoming cars. I’m not sure why he didn’t.  He was just sitting there.
            Catherine: (Another condescending laugh)
            Me: Well, I don’t know what to tell you, I don’t see what I did wrong.  I used my signal, and he didn’t.  I can’t read his mind.
            Me: I can’t talk right now, I’m driving.
            Catherine: Ok

            I don’t know why the other driver would have been “confused” about me giving him the finger.  There’s not much room for interpretation on that one.  Catherine talks to me like she is painting a picture for the jury.  Recreating the scene.  Building a case.  Trying to obtain a conviction.

October 6, 2008

October 6, 2008 – “Mexican Music”

            There has been much more of what the office calls “Mexican music” on the cab radio lately.  This is described as any sort of music with Spanish lyrics.  Or Mexican lyrics, because the office most likely thinks that “Mexican” is a language.  Typically music that originates in Mexico.  In San Diego there are dozens of stations that play that sort of stuff.  The cabbies are well aware of this.

            It doesn’t get take much to get our dispatcher, Julie, worked up.  Usually asking her to repeat herself will be enough.  It wouldn’t be a problem if she knew how a radio (CB of HAM – I forget which one we have) worked.  There’s a slight delay.  And that she starts talking before she presses the button on the mic.  She thinks that the drivers just constantly ask her to repeat herself to get her worked up.  I’m not sure who that might benefit, or what the advantage of getting screamed at would be if we knew what address she had sent us to.  I’ve tried to explain that several times to her.  Julie’s convinced that the drivers just do that to taunt her.

            At any rate she quickly loses her temper and fires off at the driver who asked for clarification.  It usually goes something like this.

            Julie: Cab 19
            Cab 19: Go ahead
            Julie: 14 Main St.
            Cab 19: 10-9 (Repeat)
            Julie: 14 Main St.
            Cab 19: 14 Main St?
            Julie: NO!
            Julie: 14 Main St!
            Cab 19: There’s no 14 Main St.
            Julie: YES THERE IS!
            Cab 19: No, there’s not.  The street numbers start at 100.
            Julie: Listen Carefully!

            If the conversation gets this far, as it often does, Julie is already furious, and the disgruntled cabbies rally.  A cabbie mutiny if you will.  The fart noises, burping, and what the office despises most – “Mexican music.”  If Julie had only be able to properly use the radio's mic she would have been able to inform the driver that they needed to go to 514 Main St.


            The office has a theory on all of this of course.  They’ve solved it.  They’ve figured out who is playing all of that dreadful “Mexican music.”  The Mexicans of course.  Really?  How scientific.  I mean who else could it be right?  You would need a sponge the size of Nevada to soak up all of the idiocy in that office.

September 25, 2008

September 25, 2008 - Shooting Photos

Some more photos from Balboa Park.  I believe most of these are on my flickr account as well if you're interested.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/marquis60060/


September 24, 2008

September 24, 2008 – Another Stalking Mission

             Julie (one of the obese dispatchers) just sent me to pick up Robert Pervantes again.  It shouldn’t have been my call but the first 3 drivers refused to pick him up.  They told Julie that they already had picked up a passenger, or that they were taking fares only from the other side of town, or that they were waiting on a passenger.  All lies.  It doesn’t take much to fool Julie though.  She’s like a dinosaur - big body, little brain.  A modern day Brontosaurus if you will.  It was slow so I agreed to retrieve him.

            I agreed to drive him once around the block so that he could attempt to peer into the window of his sister’s house and lust after her boyfriend.  From the sounds of it they don’t allow him over at all anymore.  Then he wanted to talk about his camera.  Robert has this crappy little point and shoot that he uses.  He tried showing me all of the pictures that he had shot in the last week of his day-to-day activities.  I told him that I had to concentrate on driving.

            Robert: Could we sit down by the water?
            Me: No, the car has to be moving.  I don’t care where we go, but we have to be             driving.
            Robert: Oh…
            Me: Yeah, sorry, it’s a new company policy.
            Robert: I see.

            As you might expect, this simply isn’t true.  I can’t imagine many things that I might enjoy less than getting paid peanuts to sit by the water in the dark and talk with Robert about who knows what.  Nope, were not doing that.  From the sounds of it Robert just needs a friend more than anything.  Surely they have services that offer such a thing.  Me, my services entail picking people up and driving them.  Turns out Robert is actually the one who is driving – driving me insane…

September 19, 2008

September 19, 2008 – Are We Losing Parts?

            Today one of our drivers cabs broke down.  Well, it wasn’t a routine breakdown, although a routine one for this company.

            “Quincy” picked up young lady who was going out to South San Diego.  This is one of the better rides that we get – typically $35 - $40.  If were lucky we get one of these rides every day or two, although we would get quite a few more if Catherine wasn’t sending her liveries to pick up our rides.  Lining her grubby little pockets.

            It’s only fair that I say a little about the livery scheme, as a premise to the story.  Truthfully it’s a rather dry topic, but an important one for a cabbie.  There are two competing services at “Cortez Cab.”  A livery service, and a taxi service.  A clear conflict of interest. 

             A taxi can be hailed/called for on the spot.  A livery/charter vehicle cannot.  Liveries/charters have a set of guidelines regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission that states the legal requirements.  Namely they are that a prior reservation must be made, and that a set fare must be established.  I believe the fare is established by distance and number of riders in most cases.  Taxis have a metered rate that is set by the city.  The meter is calibrated according to time and distance.

            Anyways, what Catherine often does is take people that call and ask for a taxi and talk them into a livery.  The liveries are paid hourly and only keep tips.  Catherine pays for their gas and maintenance, and keeps the rate that is charged.  Sometimes she just makes up the rate, or the livery driver tells the office that they picked up 3 passengers when they really picked up 5 -and charged them for 5 people I might add.  This isn’t speculation.

            Point is we cherish these long rides, nowadays more than ever.  When Quincy picked up his passenger, “Anna”, he knew from the get go that the car was performing at an even lower level than normal.  There was a certain jerkiness in the steering wheel.  That didn’t stop Quincy.  That wouldn’t stop me.

            So as Quincy and Anna are coming out of Cortez there is suddenly a loud clanking.

            Anna:  Do you hear that?
            Quincy: Yeah, I’m not sure what that is.
            Anna: Do you think that’s ok?
            Quincy: Yeah, but I should probably take a look at it next chance we get to stop.
            Anna: Ok

            Just a few minutes later the steering wheel suddenly jerked to the left side.  Quincy had to quickly compensate and jerk the wheel to the right.  The taxi careened left and nearly did a nosedive into the ground.

            Anna: Uh, are we losing parts?
            Quincy: Yeah, I think so.

            Quincy pulled over and another driver with the company brought Anna to her destination.  Quincy wasn’t happy.  Not only did he miss out on the $40, but he lost two hours of his time and had to speak with the office.  He was immediately blamed for the incident.  This is typical – a default reaction by the office.  Sometimes drivers do neglect their cars, lord knows I do, but often times things just break.   A little jerkiness in the steering wheel could just as easily have been chalked up to a power steering leak, a misalignment, or in this case, a shitty old taxi.  Quincy had every reason to think that everything was, well, routine

September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008 – On The Can

             I spoke with one of the drivers on the cab stand today.   A driver who I won’t name.  A few days he had to stop by the office, which he dreads as well, to pay his cab lease.  He thought that he would stop by the bathroom while he was there.

            We’ve spoke at length about the office, and the lunacy that surrounds it.  Saturating it.  Particularly the religious stuff.   Particularly the stuff in the bathroom.  It seems that Catherine is under the impression that people enjoy reading passages from the bible while they pee and poop.  Well the driver in question, who we’ll call "Elmer", gave his take on the subject.  An expression of his own.


And look at the faucet, does that thing even turn on?  How will people wash away their sins?



September 9, 2008

September 9, 2008 - My Audience

             I like to check my stats for my blog periodically.  I'm curious to see who is reading my blog, or perhaps better yet, what they are looking for when they come across my blog.  These were the top 10 searches that led people to my blog this week.