The Saturday car:
My car this saturday was a little more off then usual. As the previous driver stepped out he says:
I figure it's his problem if he can't find rides, but he was persistent with his statement so I realized it had no acceleration. We tell the mechanic. The mechanic is on really good terms with me now since I've been there for a while, It's clear I'm not just there for a cup of coffee, and I tipped him recently too. He says to me that for all we know the driver before me liked to drive with his foot down like a madman where as I may prefer a slower style. Just to make sure the cab was good, he hopped in before me and did a test, driving about 40 miles per hour through the parking lot, the blind corners and the back alley, comes back full circle to me with the ferocious queen Crown Victoria in about a half a second, excellent! I slip him two bucks for the spectacle. But quick into the shift I realize there is something wrong with the car, the engine didn't react so quick when the need to pass a vehicle came. It was fine off the line, but slow from a higher rpm, big delay in pick up. Really though it wasn't much of an issue with the work day, though it caused more of a jerky ride through the whole day, and might have subtracted from the tip money. The car was officially handled once my shift was over.
I had a customer about an hour or two into my shift who seemed to fit right in to the chelsea neighborhood, I figured he was done with his bar and going home.
"You wouldn't believe where I just came from," He tells me.
"Where?" I ask with concealed disinterest. I was sure he came from the 'best party ever', but he really did have a story to tell it turned out, one he didn't quite remember.
"I just came out of the hospital! Last thing I knew I was drinking, then I woke up with the nicest nurses, in a hospital bed."
"St. Vincents?" I ask, mission accomplished, he'd gained my interest, 100%.
"I dunno, wherever you picked me up. Wait what day is it?!!"
We confirm he hasn't missed any days. I ask him if they warned him against driving, as I was driving him to the garage he left his car at. He said he was okay, and he was. He was very talkative, he told me he was thinking of naming one of his dogs after me, of which he had more than 6. He went on to name all his dogs. They all had people names, but I could envision each name, adding an extra cute charisma to his furry friends of all different sizes. I wasn't doing so well that night financially despite the good tips, each fare had a distance to go away from the action, and getting back always seemed to yield little. But I'd take such interaction over bigger money any day. It's these fares in particular that are coveted to me, somebody at the hour of 4 in the morning who gives you respect, and a story to boot.
I told him about the time I too had woken up without my pants on, but found out I had only left my pants in the bathroom. Totally acceptable in my own home, yet I was at my friend's college drunk-fest. A few other girls were sleeping over, and I thought at first something may have happened, but then I found my pants by the toilet during my regularly scheduled morning #1. Or there was the time I went camping with my friends and I bumped into a tree, I said excuse me and disappeared from existence for a few hours.
"I wonder if it is good that people like us get into these situations?" He asked.
"Well it's probably good that we have these times to talk about and share as a story, but it may be best not to go through them again." I say.
Sunday too gave me a car not which may have had a little delay in acceleration, but it was pretty close to very good condition, much better than Saturday.
One of the last customers of Sunday went for a short ride to the police precinct to pick-up his friend's car. The friend got a DUI charge, and wasn't allowed to drive his own car.
"He's got to stop living like this," the guy tells me.
Thank goodness for good friends. We talked more about the cars being used for both taxis and police these days. He was a firm believer that the imports wouldn't manage to hold up against the rough driving conditions, or wouldn't be big enough for the equipment. I agreed with him that the Crown Victoria's brakes and suspension were far superior, but I didn't tell him that I felt the transmissions and engines might be better in the small cars.
As another taxi-blogger, Paradise Driver says- "Let's all be careful out there!"