Follow by Email

April 18, 2008

April 18, 2008 – Lenny

             So let me tell you about Lenny…  Lenny’s been with the company for some time now, as is reflected by his attitude.  There seems to be a correlation between the amount time a driver has been with the company and their morale.  A positive correlation I might add.  And lets not get a positive correlation confused with a positive attitude.  At any rate, suffice it to say that Lenny isn’t too happy with things here at Cortez Cab.

            Lenny isn’t exactly an ideal employee, in Catherine’s eyes at least.  I have to admit that it’s becoming less and less clear exactly what that is nowadays…  Lenny gives me a good laugh though.  I like him and he’s a nice guy.  Not to be confused with an honest guy though.

            I picked up a lady from 123 Tangerine Avenue the other day, who we'll call Mrs. Smith.  Nice lady.  Our conversation quickly centered on a particular driver.

            Me: Hi
            Mrs. Smith: Hello, how are you.
            Me: I’m well.  Where are you off to?
            Mrs. Smith: I’m going to the airport.  Southwest please.
            Me: Sure
Mrs. Smith: You seem like a nice driver.  Who’s the ***** guy who drives the van?
Me: That’s Lenny.  Why do you ask?
Mrs. Smith: He tried to steal $100 from my son last time he went to the airport.
Me:  That doesn’t surprise me in the least.  Unfortunately Lenny is known for that sort of thing.
Mrs. Smith: He took my son to the airport and was given $100.  (The fare was probably about $24 at this point.  My son gave asked for $70 back.  He said that he got out of the taxi and started to walk to Lenny’s window after getting his bags out and Lenny just drove off.  My son called me what happened and I called the company and told them to send the taxi that picked up my son back to my house so that I could have a word with him.  When the driver got here I told him that I would take the entire hundred dollars back.  He didn’t say anything.  He just gave me the money and walked back to his car.
Me: Yeah, our boss is well aware of the behavior of some of our employees.  I apologize for that.  I can’t believe that he though that your son wouldn’t notice.
Mrs. Smith: He stole that money.
Me: I’m sorry about that.  Here’s my card, so if you want you can call me directly.
Mrs. Smith:  Thank you.  I will do that.

          Another dissatisfied customer.  Lenny’s lucky that she didn’t call Catherine, or the police for that matter.  In addition to most likely violating some company policy (Although I suppose you could plead ignorance on this one since there are no defined company policies) and being dishonest, Lenny committed theft. 

          Why is there no formal written company policy anyways?  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  It’s like Catherine just makes up rules on the fly.  Also, then an employee can’t say that something isn’t violating company policy – because there isn’t one!  It’s purely discretionary.  If something is completely discretionary I would think that it might make sense to have a someone who isn’t off balance making judgment calls.

          One time one of our drivers was pulling into one hotels when a man on bicycle was flying down the street not paying attention and crashed right into the side of the taxi.  The bicycler hit it so hard that the front fork on his bike broke.  The police came, it was quite a scene.  The bicycler was adamant that it was not the taxi drivers fault.  Oh did I mention that the guy on the bicycle was drunk?

          None of this dissuaded Catherine however.  How did she react?  She reacted by castigating the driver for not being more careful and tried to instate a new policy so that drivers couldn’t cross the street to go into the hotel drive anymore.  They would have to leave the taxi stand, drive up the street to the stop light, wait there until they got their green arrow (which can take 3 minutes sometimes), make a U-turn, and turn into the hotel.  How fucking silly is that?  And how does that insure that an accident would be avoided anyways?  I would have to think that a U-turn is a more dangerous maneuver than a left turn.  I think most rational people would agree.  All the drivers got a good laugh about this one.  I don’t think one single driver complied.

(I couldn't find a map that was big enough and not color coded.  The coding is due to the fact that it's a zoning map.  Just ignore that.)

Also, the hotel has a reputation for being impatient, and if we aren’t able to get there immediately then they are likely to just put the fare in an out of town cab.  This is illegal because we are the only company that currently is allowed to pick up within the city limits of Cortez.  Not because we have a “monopoly” as our mushy headed owner believes.

This is not to say that all of our drivers play by the rules either, although I believe that the misconduct on our sided is due in large part to situation such as the one at the hotel.

When Lenny drops someone off at the airport he looks to see if anyone else needs a ride.  This is strictly forbidden.  Not only by Catherine, but by the City of San Diego as well.  Taxi drivers need a special permit to pick up at the airport, and probably an additional one to pick up in San Diego (Since the airport is within the city limits).  If Lenny doesn’t find anyone at first glance he’ll simply circle the terminal until he finds a fare.

April 16, 2008

April 16, 2008 – The Crazy Lady Going To I.B.

            Picked up this real nut earlier.  She didn’t look like your typical weather beaten crazy on the street.   She actually seemed pretty normal at first.  Well dressed, articulate, polite, didn’t smell.  It’s always nice when your cab fares don’t smell, and for the most part they don’t.  Except if they’re in the Navy.  Then they usually do.

            So this lady was pleasant, and going to Imperial Beach.  Probably a $30 ride or so.  Anything over like $12 I consider to be a good ride.  The lady, who we’ll call “Beatrice”, was quite talkative.  Lots of questions, which I don’t mind, unless they are about “Taxicab Confessions” or “Cash Cab.”  I hate those questions.

            Beatrice was going off on and on about all of these backdoor political scandals, that apparently only she was privileged to know about.  The stories all seemed pretty feasible, and I didn’t really have any way of knowing because she was talking about CEO’s of major, but lesser known companies, and how they were all engaged in malfeasance in some form or another.  This was all premised by the “fact” that she was a lawyer, or an attorney as I believe they like to be called.  I thought that I heard that “lawyer” has a negative connotation attached to it. 

            Regardless. So as Beatrice keeps blabbering away I began to wonder.  First off, I don’t think lawyers are allowed to tell me about on going criminal cases.  I would just smile and nod.  That’s really the best way to deal with people like this.  Then she dropped the bomb on me.  She had “people” that were on to her.  After all, she was on to them.  She knew about their surreptitious dealings.  She told me that she could be killed for talking about this, yet she just kept blabbing away.  And what was the bombshell might you ask…?  Well it was that she had $20,000,000,000 in secrets stemming from political pawns to the upper echelons of Congress, and even the White House, sitting I a safety deposit box somewhere in San Diego.  That’s not a typo – 20 Billion.

            Really?  So why are you renting, in Imperial Beach of all places, in some run-down apartment building.  I mean if I had 20 billion dollars I sure as hell wouldn’t be living in Imperial Beach, in the hood.  It must be too dangerous right now to sell those secrets.  Perhaps the Russians are watching her.  It’s no problem to spill your guts to a total stranger though, a cabbie I might add…

            But there’s more...  As she got out Beatrice noticed a car in the dark alley.  Could it have been a government agent?  An assassin?  Someone getting off the night shift at work?  She ran out and jotted down the license plate and told me that I absolutely was forbidden to repeat anything that we talked about.  Until now.  I must break my silence.  The world needs to know…

April 14, 2008

April 14, 2008 – The Rim Turns?

           Heard a good one from a fellow driver the other day.  Bobby had brought the car into the shop yesterday to pay his lease, as many of the drivers do, when he bumped into Catherine.  Some small talk ensued.  I don’t like small talk – what’s the point?  It’s a little scripted for me, although admittedly, I can be a little brash – especially with that toilet mouth of mine.  I appreciate when people are direct, when they tell me what’s on their mind.  To a point that is.  Once years back when I worked at a gas station I ran into such a situation.

             Me: Hello
            Customer: Hi
Customer: Give me a pack of Pall Mall cigarettes. (Please would have been nice)

              These are simply DREADFUL by the way.  Especially the ones in the orange pack.  I don’t ever want to be so poor that I have to smoke Pall Mall cigarettes.

            Me: Sure thing.  How’s the day going?
Customer: Shitty.  Just found out my wife’s pregnant.  She’s banging some other guy.  Kid’s not even mine.
Me: Oh.  Sorry to hear that… That’ll be $4.17.

              Not a very smooth transition, I was caught a little off guard though…  I don’t know what surprised me more that he would volunteer such intimate details of his life to a gas station attendant of all people, or that he was married.  It was strange nonetheless.  He was awkwardly staring at me as if waiting for a rebuttal of sorts.  I admit, I was a little confused.  And so I digress…

            So back to the case at hand, with Bobby and Catherine.  There was a problem, a big one – in Catherine’s eyes at least.  A scuff on the rim.  Bobby explained how the car had grazed a curb as it was pulling off of the road.

            Catherine: But Bobby, I don’t understand.
            Bobby: Why?
Catherine: I don’t understand why there isn’t damage to the fender (that surrounds the wheelwell.)
Bobby: Because I bumped into a curb.  It was only like 6 inches tall so it didn’t make contact with the body of the car.  Just the rim.
Catherine: Bobby.  The scuff is all the way up here though.  How can there be a scuff this high up on the rim without any damage to the body of the car?

Bobby just stood there stunned.

Bobby: The rim turns Catherine.  It was at a different position when I bumped the curb.  When I drove the car here it just happened to stop at a different point.  (In this case the wheel had rotated 180 degrees.)
Catherine: No, that doesn’t make sense. There would be damage higher up as well.

              I mean this is pretty basic shit.  You don’t have to be a mechanic to know this, although the mechanics that she hires probably don’t.  I use the term “hire” loosely as well – not really sure what sort of arrangement she has going. 

Hasn’t Catherine ever watched the Price is Right.  You know the part, when they spin that big fucking wheel to see who is going to get into the “Showcase Showdown.”   Guess what, it spins on a big axle as well. 

            Catherine probably thinks when one of Bob’s (not to be confused with Bobby) contestants spins that big wheel that it stops on a dollar every time.  Maybe she thinks the wheel is stationary and it's the room that's spinning.  I wonder if she thinks that the Earth is flat…  I mean she believes in Jesus.  Don’t get me wrong, everyone has the right to believe in whatever they please – no matter how silly those beliefs may be.

What's with this?  And where did all the cougars go?  You should be ashamed of yourself CBS.  By the way your station sucks.  All you do is Create Bullshit Sitcoms.  I'd rather smash my finger with a hammer than watch "Everybody Loves Raymond" or "The King of Queens."  Shameful.

Looks like Bob's still holding it down though.  Never looked better Bob.

            I go in and pay my lease at night just so I don’t have to deal with shit like this.  It makes me dizzy talking to those people.  I just drop my money in the little black safe – which is a joke in itself, I’ve seen sturdier mailboxes.

April 12, 2008

April 12, 2008 – A Call From The Office

Ring, Ring...

            Me: Hello
            Catherine: Hi *****
            Me: Hi
            Catherine: It’s Catherine
            Me: I know. (No Shit)
            Me: Yes…
            Catherine: *****, do you know what this is about?
            Me: I’m not sure.
            Catherine: ***** were you driving yesterday at 4:50 p.m.?
            Me: Yep
            Catherine: Do you know what I’m referring to?
            Me: No, I’m not sure.
            Catherine: At 4:50 p.m. were you driving on 6th street?
            Me: It’s quite possible.
Catherine: Do you remember an incident with another driver near the library.
            Me: I do.
            Catherine: Do you remember what happened?
Me: Yeah, I remember coming across this guy that threw a fit for no reason.  Was it that guy?
Catherine: The man who called just wanted to say that he was disappointed.
Me: He was disappointed?
Catherine: Yes *****, he was disappointed.
Me: Well, I’m not really sure how to help him.  I didn’t do anything wrong?
Catherine: He said that you went around him when there wasn’t any room.
Me: There was room because I passed him. If there wasn’t any room I wouldn’t have been able to do so.
Catherine: Do you see what this is about *****?
Me: It’s about some guy that got frustrated for no reason.  I don’t know what to tell you.
Catherine: Do you see what the problem is?
Me: No I don’t.
Catherine: *****, in Cortez we are held to a higher standard.  We have a monopoly here in Cortez.  We could lose this at any time.  We have to be careful.

By the way, there are no monopolies here in the United States.  We have anti-trust laws against that sort of thing.  And what’s with all of the repetition?  Just because I drive a cab doesn’t mean I’m slow.

April 6, 2008

April 6, 2008 – The Rules Of The Road

          Driving around lately I’ve noticed that not everyone out there seems to be too familiar with the rules of the road.  Not necessarily laws, but courtesy and common decency as well.

1. This is a huge pet peeve of mine.  When you are driving parallel to me and to the rear and you see me put on my turn signal.  Don’t speed up and try to block me from moving over.  This is rude, and dangerous.  Don’t try to be sly and stare straight ahead as you do this to avoid eye contact.  We both know that you’re an asshole.  I see what you are planning on doing and I’ll just move over anyways.  I’ve dealt with your kind before.  All you’ll be able to do is slam on your brake’s and curse in your car.  Have a little dignity.

2. If we are stopped in traffic and you see me with my signal on, let me in.  It’s polite and won’t prolong your trip.  If you don’t let me in I’ll just point the nose of my car in and go anyways.  All you can do is sit there steaming mad in your shitty little Honda. Yeah, the one with the coffee can muffler.  You’ll look ridiculous. 

3. Don’t tailgate me.  If you feel I am going too slow you can either pass me or change lanes.  If you persist I’ll may slam on my brakes and give you one hell of a scare.  If you rear-end me it’s your fault and you’ll be getting the ticket.

4. You know those entrance ramps that lead on to the freeway, you know why they’re so long?  It’s so you have time to get up to freeway speed.  Don’t try to enter the freeway going 35 mph.  That’s dangerous.  Also, it’s YOUR duty to merge onto the freeway, it’s not my responsibility to accommodate you.  It’s not safe for me to have to suddenly slow to 35 mph.

5. Use your turn signal.  Often times I see people looking over to the lanes to the right or left and trying move over.  Then they’re angry that no one will let them in.  At any rate, you have no right to get mad at someone who won’t let you in if you don’t use your turn signal.  If your turn signal doesn’t work you can use a hand signal.

6. Don’t block the intersection during rush hour.  You’ll be pretty embarrassed when someone needs to cross and you may get blasted with a horn or two, and rightfully so I might add. 

7.  When I use my turn signal, slow to a stop in the right lane and put my reverse lights guess what I am doing.  See that open parking meter 20 feet behind me to the right?  Could I be parking there…?  WHAT THE FUCK ELSE WOULD I BE DOING!  Why don’t people don’t understand this.   Don’t pull directly behind me so I can’t back up.  You’ll get flustered.  You’ll look ridiculous.  And I won’t be moving unless it means that I will be backing into that parking spot.

"See It, Touch It, Trust It." ?

April 3, 2008

April 3, 2008 - Catheter Cab

           Today a new nickname was coined for one of our fellow drivers.  His taxi in particular.  “Catheter Cab”. Not too long ago one of our other drivers, Bogna, who’s a piece of work herself, found a little surprise under Jorge’s seat.  What was it might you ask.  Oh, well it was a milk carton full of pee.  Jorge though he was being sly when he told her that it was “lemonade.”  Lemonade?  Really?  Bet it didn’t smell like lemonade…

            Jorge pretty much never leaves his car for anything.  Not even to go to the bathroom.  I hope that he doesn’t poop in there, although I wouldn’t be surprised.  I’d imagine that at some point in his 19 hour shift he would need to go number 2.    What would he tell Bogna that the poop was?  Cupcakes? Brownies?  Whatever Jorge said would probably be illegible anyways.   You ever find a frequency between two radio stations that pulls in a little from each channel.  They overlap, like Jorge’s Spanish and English, although here it sounds like the Spanish station is in much closer proximity.  I’m always amazed when people move here and reside in the states for years and never seem to acquire an English proficiency greater than that of a 7 year old.  My coffee table probably has better English, and people skills, than Jorge.  The microwave too.

            Another time one of the drivers happened to find chicken bones under the seat.  Why would you discard the bones under the seat?  Me, I’d probably throw them out the window.  At least if I was Cortez.  They probably have had to hire an extra employee to pick up all of my trash.  I could be creating jobs for people.  Maybe they would put a detective on the case, although given what I’ve seen so far I’d have no reason to be worried.  They seem pretty harmless.  Don’t get me wrong, I think police do a great service to the community, however I think that their attention could be focused elsewhere sometimes.  Here in candy ass Cortez at least.  Underage smoking, jaywalking, and walking home drunk don’t strike me as huge problems.

            “Catheter Cab” seems fitting but I’ve come up with a few nicknames of my own.  How about “Commode Cab”? “Toilet Taxi?”  Maybe “Cadaver Cab.”  Son of a bitch looks half dead most of the time anyways.   Maybe it has something to do with his 90 hour workweeks.  I can only imagine how many transportation regulations he is violating.  He used to have rows of books piled up on the dash.  So tall that you would have trouble seeing over them. One of the drivers said that Catherine became aware of this and told Jorge that he isn’t able to live in the car anymore – one of the few sane things that I have ever heard of her doing by the way.  Jorge would just work as many hours as he was physically able to do without passing out and then go to sleep in the back.  Whenever he woke up he would go back to work.   

April 1, 2008

April 1, 2008 – Our Shitty Old Cars

             My car is in the shop today.  No surprise there.  In the meantime I have a loaner to drive.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that I have something do drive but I’m amazed that some of these things are still on the road.   This one’s a baby, relatively speaking that is…  Only 128,480 miles, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the odometer had already rolled over.  Hell, I can’t really complain, they don’t have me driving that shitty old station wagon anymore.  You know, the Griswaldmobile.

            As bad as these cars are it’s fun to talk to the other drivers about what they had to drive in the past.  Makes these things look like Caddilacs.  Doors falling off, wheels falling off, you name it.  Maybe I don’t have it so bad.  Driver safety doesn’t really seem to be an issue however.  Just look at the tires, the steel is poking through.  Our boss thinks that used tires are a good investment.  She buys tires that only have like 10,000 miles left on them, so typically they are good for like two months tops.  Of course she has to pay a shop to put them on and balance them each time.  She doesn’t pay much though, and it shows.  Usually when I pick up my car from the shop it is littered with wood screws, duct tape, and mismatched spray paint.  I'm surprised it isn't on fire.

Pretty sure when you get a new set of tires you get an alignment.  Although the tires really aren’t new so maybe Catherine thinks that alignments aren’t needed.  I bet if Jesus told her that the cars needed an alignment she would have a change of heart.  I’m surprised she doesn’t try to bless our cars.  Well, not that I know of.  Not much surprises me here anymore…

            I like the cigarette burns in my seat and the rusty gear shift.  Nice touch.  I really wish that she wasn’t such a pain in the ass about washing the car.  Will people not notice that it is a piece of shit if it just went through a car wash?  I should roll the windows down when I bring it through the wash.  I’ll notice something – my wallet being lighter.  Not that it’s too heavy after working here.  Guess it’s been 8 months or so now.  The other day Catherine told me that the car needed to be detailed.  Fuck that.  I could think of a hundred better things to spend $50 dollars on.  None of them involve Jesus.