Upon arriving at the garage Lenny walked over,
Lenny “So what’s the whole story?” He asked in a calm manner, displaying a patience that he doesn’t usually give others.
Me “As my passenger got out of the car, I didn’t check to see if the door was closed, and I think I must have run over her foot with the rear right wheel.”
Lenny rolls his eyes, and proceeds with further questions, “So what happened my friend, is she okay?”
Me “Well the ambulance came but she refused the ambulance.”
Lenny “Oh this is bad, she got in an ambulance?” eyes wide and examining the car.
Me “No, no she refused the ambulance. She walked away.”
Lenny “Oh.. well that’s good.”
Me “Uh, this is totally unrelated to the incident, but the right headlight is loose.”
Lenny, “What? She knocked the headlight loose when you ran her over?”
Me, “No, no I got it that way, I noticed the headlight a few hours before this all happened.”
Lenny shakes his head in disbelief. He starts to walk away as I receive a phone call. A man who I tried desperately to call ten or more times during the day, was finally calling me back to retrieve his expensive phone. We worked out a location for me to drop off the phone, where his doorman would pick up the phone and compensate me with some cash.
“Hey Lenny, At least I’m not completely awful today, I’m returning this guy’s cell phone.” I hold up the phone triumphantly.
“Give me that,” Lenny barks
“You are sick man, totally sick in the head, running over a woman and still smiling because you are returning a phone, give me that so I can stomp it and crush it to little tiny pieces.” The smile wipes off my face and Lenny strolls away, clearly with miles and miles of taxi driving taking a toll on his patience and attitude. The garage likes to give their favorite cabbies jobs when they’ve been around long enough, and would rather stay out of the driver seat.
I didn’t want to leave the garage on such a sour note, so after I wrote up my brief account of the accident for the lawyers to review later, I decided to talk to the gasman. I said goodbye to Tim, a new regular dispatcher at the window who is around my age,
“See you around I guess, hopefully I’ll be back”
“Well, yeah hopefully,” he didn’t seem very certain I’d return.
And I asked the gasman if I was the worst taxi driver this garage has seen.
“No, no, not at all. Last year one of our drivers killed a man on Queens Boulevard.” Queens Boulevard is a political issue for all Queens’s residents, going by the alias ‘Boulevard of Death’. It has 3 main lanes going west, and 3 other main lanes going east, in addition to small service roads paralleling, which aren’t so small either. With long gaps between traffic lights, cars will easily approach 50 miles per hour, and many a pedestrian gets struck crossing as many as 12 lanes I think.
“Well…” I tried to sound sympathetic to the many victims of this Boulevard, but unsuccessfully, “I’d like to say that was good to hear, but…”
Gasman “No, no, it’s never good to hear.”
I overheard another cabbie joke around saying he’d have just left before the police came referring to my situation that day. Hopefully he wasn’t serious.
I took the subway back into Manhattan knowing I’d be looking for something else career wise. It was time to move on, but making such assertions, and actually doing something progressive or two things of a different ilk.
I returned the phone to the doorman, he asked me if I was a cabbie, and gave me an envelope with a, ‘thank you’, and 45 dollars cash. I told the two doormen that taxi driving wasn’t worth it, that they had a good thing going with their job, taxi driving is way too stressful, I told them. I decided to keep the three condom packets left in the cab next to the phone, eventually of course I threw them away, nothing is more disgusting to me then thinking about other people’s sex lives.