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July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008 – DUI Stop

            Every night at around 10:30 Cortez beefs up it’s police presence.  Looking for drunk drivers mostly – something that I agree with.  San Diego is ranked number one in the country for DUI convictions.  I don’t know whether that is figured in terms of sheer number or per capita.  It’s a fairly common site, but much more common in Cortez.  Surely a number of these stops are involving people who are legitimately drunk, but from what I have seen that is often not the case.  Many of the people who ride in the taxi have been harassed at some point or another by the local police.  The other day I got to see it first hand.  At 3:00 a.m…

            Officer Bert: Do you know why I stopped you?
            Me: No
            Officer Bert: You have a headlight out.
            Me: Oh.
            Officer Bert: License, Registration, and Insurance please.
            Me: Here you go.
            Officer Bert: Where you coming from?
            Me: I park over by the Albertsons.  I drive a taxi in Cortez.
            Officer Bert: Oh.

            So Officer Bert goes out to his car for a few minutes and does whatever paperwork needs to be done. 

            Officer Bert:  How much have you had to drink tonight?           
            Me: I haven’t been drinking, I drive a cab.
            Officer Bert:  You could tell me, have you had a few beers?
            Me: No, I haven’t
            Officer Bert: Well it smells like beer in your car.
            Me: No it doesn’t.
            Officer Bert: Can you step out and do a few tests for me?
            Me: Can we just skip that if I take a breathalyzer?
            Officer Bert: No, we have to do a few tests.

            Now we start a series of the generic DUI tests – Touching your nose with your head tilted back and closing your eyes, walking in a straight line with one foot right in front of the other, the pen test, and so on.

            Officer Bert: Now I need you to follow this pen with your eyes, but don’t move your head, just follow it with your eyes.
            Officer Bert: (After the test) Your eyes are really big and jerky.  What have you been doing?
            Me: I’ve been driving a cab all night, and I had a few energy drinks, and its late, and I’m tired.
            Officer Bert: Energy drinks won’t make your eyes do that.  Only alcohol and Narcotics will do that.
            Me: Well, I don’t know what to say, I haven’t done any of that.
            Officer Bert:  It’s ok, you can tell me if you had a few beers.

            At this point I have nothing else to say.  It doesn’t appear that Officer Bert is believing my story.  Now another police car shows up – containing Officer Ernie.

            Officer Bert: Look at his eyes.
            Officer Ernie: Wow.  What have you been doing?

            So I do the rest of the tests.  I fail all of them – or so I’m led to believe… Eventually the breathalyzer comes out.  It’s a pivotal moment.  Bert and Ernie have big shit eating grins on their face, and probably a big hard on in their pants.

            Officer Bert: Alright, I’m going to need you to blow into this.
            A few moments pass…
            Officer Bert: (With a bewildered look on his face) Ok, get out of here.

            Get out of here?  I most certainly think an apology is in order.  This whole ordeal was totally uncalled for.  What really made me mad was that they needlessly prolonged this whole thing.  It was pretty obvious from the get go, and this should have taken 4 minutes not 40.  I am not happy.

And what a bunch of A-holes anyways.  Ford Mustangs?  I'm sure all that extra horsepower really comes in handy on those densely packed 25mph streets...


July 24, 2008

July 24, 2008 – Business Travelers

             Picked up a few business travelers earlier tonight.  These are pretty routing, especially during Convention season (Summer months).  They’re a pretty good crowd for the most part, and when they realize that you don’t smell and speak fluent English they are much more apt to ride with you.  I get a lot of return fares, and most of them tip well.  They all just write it off as a business expense.

            They also love the strip clubs, although not as much as the Navy does.  Business travelers often cleverly try to segue into the topic.  It’s obvious where they want to go, and it doesn’t make one bit of difference to me.  I like to bring people to the strip club, they’re all quite far.  They’re all a good ride.

            The travelers often ask me to recommend a good club.  I tell them that they’re all pretty much the same, just that you don’t want to go to one in a shitty part of town.  Me, well I never really saw the appeal of strip clubs.  Paying all of that money to get your dick teased.  Doesn’t strike me as much fun…

            Often I pick up repeat customers, some of them frequent the clubs several times per week to visit “Luscious”, “Candy”, “Fantasia”, or some other typical stripper name.  Now that I think of it, Randy’s favorite girl at the club was named “Candy.”  And what was that strip club called – The Body Shop.  How appropriate.  It looks so glamorous, so elegant, right in the middle of an industrial park in Point Loma.

"World Famous?"

July 20, 2008

July 20, 2008 – The Taxi Blog Uncovered

            A few days ago Catherine, the company owner, found a fellow drivers blog.  It was pretty tame, especially compared to what I have to write about the company, which is all true I might add.

            Nothing was brought up to the author, but it was clear who was writing it, and what it was about.  Catherine was able to put the pieces together after the blog’s writer went on a rant about how terrible of a roommate that he had (which was also true).  All of the pieces suddenly fit together.  The roommate happened to be a fellow driver with the company and it wasn’t too hard to connect the dots – even for “Catherine.”  After all Randy is quite the standout, although not in the way that most people would use the term.  More in terms of descending than ascending. 

            When Catherine found out she had a little pow-wow with the rest of the obese, bible toting loons and had a “prayer meeting” where they openly sobbed for the blog’s creator.  She prayed for the driver.  I have no idea what they were actually praying for - I can only imagine…  Perhaps something garnished, if not entirely comprised of sugar.  A pastry perhaps.

            Me, well, I think that after reading a few of my posts Catherine will be able to connect the dots here as well.  I’m not worried about that though, she can kiss my ass.  You hear that Catherine?  You can kiss my ass.

You remember Randy right?

Some of you may remember "Ted Martin's" blog as well - "The SoCal Cabbie"

July 17, 2008

July 17, 2008 – Lois’s Condition

Lois's Lair

          Today I had an interesting conversation with Jefferson about Lois.  You may remember her, the lady with the garbage house.  Jefferson explained how he was dissatisfied with riding with her, as all of the other drivers are, and how much of a pain in the ass Lois was.  Turns out Lois had a pain in her ass as well – which she felt the need to tell Jefferson about.  It wasn’t so much a pain as a condition perhaps.  Lois thought Jefferson would enjoy having her explain her current affliction – the one about her bloody diarrhea.  Surprisingly Jefferson wasn’t interested, or hungry anymore for that matter.

July 13, 2008

July 13, 2008 – Kevin and Linda

            We have a few new drivers that have started recently – Kevin and Linda are their names.

            Kevin is a pretty normal guy.  He lives a pretty simple life.  He has an affinity towards small planes, remote control ones mostly.  He’s shown me some pictures, they’re really nice – the planes.  It’s an expensive hobby by the sounds of it, but Kevin’s a hard worker, and with all of the hours he puts in he seems to make decent money.

            And Linda, well Linda’s a little different.  Linda is SIGNIFICANTLY OVERWEIGHT, has teeth that are as yellow as corn kernels, and showers once every four days, similar to Randy actually.  She comes home, eats dinner (at least one), and goes to bed in her clothes.  The problem occurs when she wears them to work the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that…  You get the picture.

            One of the drivers cabs broke down the other day and since Linda wasn’t working they let them use it for the day.  The driver, Tom, said that it smelled so bad that several customers either refused to ride in it or voiced their displeasure about the smell.

            Kevin currently lives with Linda and her sister Mandy.  Mandy is no prize either, although a gem compared to Linda.  Mandy is dating Kevin, which is a topic that he understandably shies away from.  Kevin has been working a lot more hours lately.  Turns out the other roommates haven’t been paying their fair share towards the rent.  Where has the rent money been going?  Well, it’s been going to Disneyland every week or so.   As always the story gets better…

            Linda, well she’s still a virgin – at 54 years old…  I could just see the personal ad now –

“54 year obese, cab driving, smelly virgin with crusty yellow teeth and bad breath seeks soulmate willing to take weekend trips to Disneyland with me and my obese sister.” 

July 11, 2008

July 11, 2008 – Another Ride With Pervantes

            I had another ride with Robert Pervantes again today.  Not much different from the last time I had him.  Not much better…

            He kept asking for me to circle the block so that he could see if Todd (his sisters boyfriend), who Robert has a not so secret crush on, was home.  Robert is fully aware of the fact that he is not well liked by Todd, yet he insists on stalking him.

            Robert showed me this point and shoot camera that he had and asked a few questions.  It was a slow night so I offered to show him some of the basic functions.  We went by the bay, found a post to set the camera up on, and took some shots of downtown San Diego.

            Robert seems to like me, although hopefully not as much as he seems to like Todd.  He also told me that he likes riding with me better than riding with Dauf.  Turns out about a week ago Dauf picked up Robert and offered to drive him around town.  More than anything Robert likes to talk, or perhaps reveal…

            Anyways, Dauf picked up Robert and decided to drive him down to Imperial Beach.  Dauf likes to fill up gas in Imperial Beach because it is significantly cheaper down there.  Problem is that it isn’t really feasible to drive all the way to Imperial Beach to get gas because by the time you get there you have probably negating any savings that you would have gained.  It’s just easier to fill up in town where it is more expensive, or just cross the bridge to downtown. 

            Dauf: You want to go to I.B.?
            Robert: I was hoping that we could just drive around?
            Dauf: You’ll like I.B., it’s very nice. (Which simply isn’t true)
            Robert: Um well I wa--------
            Dauf: Ok, we go to I.B.
            Robert: Um
            Dauf: Yeah, you’ll like it.

            So Dauf proceeds to drive (or kidnap) Robert down to Imperial Beach resulting in a $24 fare.  Dauf was nice enough not to charge Robert waiting time while he filled up at the gas station though.  What a sweetheart.  Dauf had no problem charging him the fare for the return trip however, another $24.

In all fairness Imperial Beach has a pretty amazing sandcastle competition.

July 10, 2008

July 10, 2008 – Do You Know Why I Stopped You

            Of course I do…

            Today I got a speeding ticket.  I wasn’t trying to speed, I was just following the flow of traffic.  We’ve all done it right?  Of course I couldn’t see how fast I was going since my dash lights were still burnt out.  Oh, and because the speedometer doesn’t work.  I didn’t expect any leniency from the CHP.  The shitty part was just before I got pulled over, and before I saw the cop I might add, I thought that I might have been going too fast and was slowing down.  I should send the ticket to Catherine and have her pay it.  I don’t know how many times now I’ve asked her to fix these problems with my cab.

            I didn’t even want to be out in El Cajon.  I was doing a favor for a regular customer by giving his friend a ride home for less than half of what the meter came to.  On top of that his friend was running his mouth for no reason, and saying that I was taking him the long way, although when I asked which way he would like me to take he had no suggestions.

            I enjoy picking up Jake though, he’s one of my “regulars.”  He probably calls every few days, and unlike most of the sailors, he tips.  I even went out and grabbed a beer after work with him once.  Real down to earth guy.  The officer who stopped me, well, he wasn’t so amicable.  Surely I’ll be visiting traffic school again in no time…

July 9, 2008

July 9, 2008 – Randy

            Just when I think I’ve seen it all, I come across a driver like Randy…

            Randy is a sixty something year old man from rural Missouri, or “Missoura” as he calls it.  Randy wears shorts, flip flops, and Hawaiian shirts, Which he swears are part of the company uniform.  They do beautifully accent his mullet and Hyena like cackling though.

            Randy claims he get’s great tips from the Navy, which is doubtful, because he pulls out all the stops – his “Dog and Pony show” if you will.  Perhaps this is done to distract his customers from the fact that he hasn’t showered in 3 days and has been relentlessly chain smoking in the car which now smells like an ashtray.  Some of these dipshits actually smoke CIGARS in the cab.  CIGARS!

            A few years ago Randy got a large inheritance.  I’m not exactly sure what the details were, which really don’t matter.  Something to the tune of  $250,000.  What might you ask did Randy do with this money?  Why he spent it in one year on booze, and hookers at “The Body Shop”, a dilapidated strip club in Point Loma.  His favorite girl is named "Candy".  Real creative right.  For $300 she lets him fill her up with his old wrinkly weiner.  

           I believe he took a several week trip to Brazil as well.   I would say that Randy is a loser.  I don’t think that would be a stretch.  But no, not Randy.  He calls it something else, he calls it “having a good year”. 

            Not much has changed, although since Randy has been driving the taxi he hasn’t been living as lavishly.  He has still however continued to spend the majority of his money on booze and hookers, which often times comes before rent money.  

This was meant to be another one of my caricature's because I don't actually have pictures of most of the drivers, but the more I look at it I think that this might actually be "Randy."

July 6, 2008

July 6, 2008 – The Awakening

            I had an epiphany, and awakening if you will…

            A movie, one that I’d seen long ago, but recently rediscovered.  A landmark film to say the least.  “Taxi Driver” was it’s title.  For those of you who haven’t seen this, please do, you won’t be disappointed.  It’s one of Martin Scorsese’s earliest films.

            It wasn’t until I started driving a taxi that I realized how spot on the depictions of taxi life were.  Truth be told, there are many differences in driving a taxi in New York as there are here in San Diego, but there are quite a few similarities as well.  There will be no prostitutes, stalking, or murders.

            For example, Travis (Robert Dinero’s character) becomes quickly immersed in the job, rapidly becoming disconnected from his family, and later reality.  I found my conversations becoming more and more infrequent, and were often times about the job, and seemed to be centered on the day to day operations of the business.  I justified things with my income.  It quickly became an obsession.  Day after day, long hours, and great money.  It was never enough.  I would work 10, 12, sometimes 18 hour days. Like Travis, a young man in the prime of his life.

            In the movie you never are able to see the other side of the equation – Travis’s parents, and how they viewed the life he had made for himself.  My parents, well, they were supportive, but disappointed that I hadn’t applied myself more in life, in a career if you will.  Seconds turned into minutes, into hours, into days, into weeks, into months, and now into over a years time with the company.

            I find myself on the outside, looking in at the world.  Becoming bitter, despondent, resentful toward the company and their practices – which are often selfish at best.  Disgusted with the owner and her thievery, naïveté, micromanagement of my work.

            I don’t have the time, or inclination, to be a part of social events, to be amicable, or even upbeat about work here anymore.  I have neglected relationships, and even burned a few bridges, as a result from my growing defeatist attitude.

            What have I gained?  Well I’ve gained plenty I suppose.  I have made friends, with honest, down to earth people.  Friendships that will hopefully continue when, and if, I decide to part ways with the company.  I’ve had conversations with people from all over the world, talked about endless topics.  Talked with people from different backgrounds, professions, races, and social strata.  I’ve gained stories, experiences, and in some cases hard lessons, that I have learned from and made me stronger.

            But as for now, I remain, a taxi driver.

July 5, 2008

July 5, 2008 – Getting Kirk Excited

            Today someone was getting Kirk all excited again.  This seems to happen at least once a week.  Sometimes more.

            The reason that no one likes Kirk is because he’s an a-hole.   There was a new guy that started last week and tried to introduce himself.  He walked up to Kirk’s window.  Kirk just ignored him.  He didn’t even flinch.  Jack (the new driver) was in disbelief.

            Jack: I tried to talk to cab 83 (Kirk) earlier and he didn’t say anything.           
            Me: Yeah, that’s Kirk alright.  I wouldn’t bother with that guy.  Nobody here likes him.
            Jack: He didn’t even acknowledge me.  I know he heard me, his window was open.
            Me: Don’t worry, he’s like that to everyone.  He’s crazy, none of us like him.
            Jack: Thanks for letting me know.

            So anyways, like clockwork, one of the drivers began to pick on Kirk.  This usually happens when he comes into work for the day.

            Kirk: Cab 83
            Julie: Cab 83
            Kirk: 10-8, 10-30 (Back in service, send me an assignment)
            Julie: Go to the Vo-----(Click, Click, Click) and pic-------- (Click, Click, Click)
            Kirk: 10-9 (Repeat)
            Julie: Go to th---(Click, Click) and pick u---(Click, Click, Click, Click)
            Kirk: 10-9!
            Julie: Go to th----(Click, Click, Click, Click, Click…)
            Kirk: Some queers playing with the radio again.
            Julie: What’s wrong with you!

            The sad thing about Julie's question is that it wasn't directed at Kirk...  In her eyes Kirk wasn't the problem.

            I was sitting with another driver when this was all happening, waiting for a fare.  We both got a chuckle.  Calling people “queers” is a favorite past time of Kirk’s.  It’s his favorite insult for sure.  Other insults include calling people “Princess,” “Raghead,” “Asshole,” “Coward,” “Their highness” or  “Sissy white people” - just to name a few.  All of our customers and fellow drivers get to hear this as well because it is broadcast throughout our radio network.  This is all ok in Catherine’s eyes since Kurt is a “good worker” because he works 12-hour days EVERY day of the year.  A sociopath, but a “good worker” nevertheless.  But boy, if I forget to wear my black pants, well then, that’s a disaster.

You all remember Kirk right?  

July 4, 2008

July 4, 2008 – The 4th of July in Cortez

        I have mixed feelings about working on the 4th of July.  The money is good, but it’s oh so frustrating.  Traffic everywhere, no parking, drunks everywhere, you name it.  Especially here in Cortez.  I hear that 500,000 people come here alone to watch the fireworks.  You get a good view from the bay.  Actually a great view – if you’re lucky enough to get to the front and get a seat.  Sure beats watching them from National City.  Or you may know National City by something else – “Nasty City, “National Tragedy”, “National Shitty”, “Nasty Shitty” and so on, you get the point.  If you’ve been there you know what I’m talking about.  Consequently we get a lot of rif-raf from there, Chula Vista “Chulajuana” too for that matter.  Don’t send me the hate mail, they were nicknamed that long before I moved here.

            It takes a good 30 minutes to get from one side of town to the other (which is only about 2 miles).  It’s a mess.  I had to take a break after a bit today.  For an hour I took a break and shot some photos.  There was absolutely no street parking.  I just parked in an alley.  It was hard to get a good spot but I made due.  Had time to shoot a few photos, not my favorites, but they were fun to shoot.

            After that I was back to work.  Traffic had subsided a bit, but was still a disaster.  When it was all said and done at 2:45 a.m. I had made $370 in fares in about 10 hours.  No one had tried to fight me.  No one had thrown up in my cab.  Everyone had paid the fare, except this super drunk guy who tried to pay with a credit card for a $6 fare.  That one was on me, it’s just not worth the time to mess around with a credit card when it’s that busy, it’s actually better just to pick up another fare believe it or not.

July 3, 2008

July 3, 2008 - Joshua Tree National Park

            Today I went to Joshua Tree State Park.  I've heard great things over the years, I've just never took time to actually go.  It was a nice drive, about two and a half hours or so.  The park is filled with these spectacular rock formations.  And that the trees that the park is named after.  It's unfortunate, whenever I think of a Joshua Tree I remember that awful U2 album (which was called the Joshua Tree). These were a few of the photos that I shot earlier.

July 2, 2008

July 2, 2008 – Robert Pervantes

             I picked up this real oddball earlier, and to say that he was simply an oddball, well, that would be an understatement.  His name was Robert.  “Robert Pervantes.“

            I was sent to 571 R Street in the alley to pick him up.  In Cortez there are alley addresses and street addresses.  Generally the more well-to-do people have street addresses.  The alleys are reserved for smaller guesthouses and apartments primarily.  Typically younger people who work in the service industry here in Cortez.  Resturants, marinas, hotels, etc.  Not many corporate folk.  And occasionally weirdos…  Today was no exception.

            Me: Hi
            Robert: Um, hello.
            Me: Where are you off to?
            Robert: Um, can we just drive around for a bit?
            Me: Sure, but I have to give the dispatcher a final destination.
            Robert: But could we just drive around.
            Me: Sure whatever.  I’ll just make something up, but you’ll have to pay the meter. 
            Robert: Ok

            This already struck me as a little strange.  Typically people don’t like to pay for cabs, which aren’t cheap by the way, to just drive around.  This guy’s sure seems like a creeper.  It would be exciting to get a fugitive.  I’ve already had several geriatrics, it’s be nice to mix it up.

            Robert: Can you go right here.
            Me: Sure
            Robert: (A block later) Could you take another right?
            Me: Sure
            Robert: (Another block later) Could you take a right here?
            Me: …Ok
            Robert: Slow down.  Is that light on?  Was there anyone in there?
            Me: I don’t know.
            Robert: Do you think he saw me?
            Me: No, it’s dark out.
            Robert: Are you sure?
            Me: Yes

            Then the conversation really started to get weird.  He pulled out this camera with pictures of his sisters boyfriend on it, which appeared to have been taken surreptitiously, and asked for my take on them.

            Robert: So do you think that this guy is hot?
            Me: I wouldn’t know.
            Robert:  Oh, me either.
            Me: ………
            Robert: Can you make a left here?
            Me: Sure
            Robert: Can we make another left, and then the left after that too?
            Me: Sure Robert.
            Robert: Look the lights on in there.  Can you see anyone in there, do you think that’s my sisters         boyfriend?
            Robert: So you don’t think he saw me?
            Me: Well, I have one of my regular customers that I have to pick up, we should probably get heading back.
            Robert: Oh, ok.
            Me: (A few minutes later) $6.80.
            Robert: Ok, I just have $7.00.
            Me: That’s fine.

            That’s quite a coincidence  He had exactly (minus the 20 cents) what the meter was?  What if we just kept driving, as he had requested, and the meter came out to $9.00?  What would he have done then?   Would he have brought exactly $9.00 with him.  I really don't care if people tip me or not.  Many people think that we do.   

            You’re really rolling the dice if you are taking cabs without having enough money to pay the fare.  That’s something that might get you beat up.  I’m pretty well natured, some of the other drivers not so much.  Vincent’s a good example of that.  Vinny probably would have stuck an icepick in him.  After all, that’s his weapon of choice, or so he says…

            From the sounds of things his sister wasn’t too fond of him either.  Could it have been because here old pervy brother Robert keeps hitting on boyfriend?