After a long day there is nothing like flipping the “off duty” switch. Depending on traffic by the bridges out of Manhattan, or to the airports, I flip the switch early.
“That’s it,” I tell myself, “No more rides. Maybe just one more.” We are allowed discriminate our rides once the off duty light is on to take people that are going in our direction. Really it is best to get rides that are quick. As my shift comes close to the end I go into a survival mode immediately suggesting streets with the least traffic to my passengers.
Then I lock the doors, and just for those 30 to 60 minutes it is my personal car. I try to stay in the middle lanes, blast the most obnoxious music I can find, and sometimes, I even turn the sound on in the rear, the bass and treble bounce around the divided cabin. The Sun is at its brightest now, and 5 hands rise at every block calling for me, the one cab without a customer. But I made my money, and put in as much time as I could.
Sometimes, when it is all done I just sit in traffic reveling in the time cushion I have given myself. For once it feels great to sit in traffic, no more worries about other people’s schedules. Or if I’m running late, I can go as many blocks out of the ‘most direct’ route as I so choose. After 12 hours I’m free of the restrictions of a meter.