I've been explaining to my friends that it seemed nobody has been tipping lately. I was just starting to accept this as some sort of new thing. I was grossly exaggerating I realized as usual. I was examining the actions of small percentage of passengers which was increasing, but still holding under the 50% mark. The fact remaining though, was low tips were increasing from 1 out of 10, to something like 3 or 4 out of 10. What was going on? Why was this happening? Was it because with my experience I was driving more irrationally in the eyes of these passengers, or was it just a fluke of just picking up the wrong people, all of which by the way were coming in all types, from high income to low income. I should add that the best tippers tend to be people who used to drive cabs and now make about 75,000 or less a year, all my assumption. Those who make a ridiculously high income, or a ludicrously low one, tend to either tip low, or not tip at all. But as always, this job above all is a natural sociology lesson that teaches the cabbie that while pre-judgments make us feel more comfortable in daily life, they usually don't really inform us of any real knowledge whatsoever.
Perhaps, these little stories should be broken up to several blog posts. I should let you know that I am now over this all, and it seems it was some sort of fluke surge of no and low tips, with little to no explanation:
The most aggravating ride that got my head spinning was when I picked up a man 3 weeks ago on a tuesday, my first ride, 5 or 6am, requested to go to Park Place and Broadway. I was confused by this location for a brief second, as I don't usually recieve Park Place as a destination. He informed me of the route immediately for me to take, quickly relieving my brain of thought. I was to take Lexington Avenue to 25th Street to Park Avenue all the way down Broadway.
"Ahh," I said to him, "Right by City Hall?"
"Yes" his reply.
I know of Park Row better as it has a more defined location separate from the traditional grid-work of the city's streets. As I drove down the deserted dark streets I made extra effort to push the car through the lights that change quicker than sane driving style permits, 17th street, 14th street, 11th street, Houston Street, Howard Street, and a few others. I passed 11th street as the light turned red I think, that one pisses me off all the time. it doesn't even intersect with traffic, why does it turn red so quick?? nonsense!!! I think it is part of a scheme to slow traffic as it passes through the East Village. the fare was phenomenally low with no cars on the street. We came from 3rd Avenue and 63rd all the way to The Woolworth Building for a fare of something like 7.80, and he paid me 8 dollars. Eight Fucking dollars!! It screwed up my whole day. I was intending to do small runs in the neighborhood of 63rd/Upper East Side for the first 2 to 3 hours of my day, and now he sent me all the way downtown where hardly anybody lives, for 8 fucking dollars!!! I could've done 4 runs at 5 to 7 dollars all with no tip, but it wouldn't have bothered me because, firstly, they all are very low income workers who really can't afford to tip, and second, if I do those trips fast enough, I make the same money as an airport ride in less time and while using less gas.
I thought more about the ride and what could've possible been wrong with it. At the end of the ride, he called out, "It will be on the right at the next block." But he called that out one block too early.
"Right here?" I said. The word next has always confused me. does next mean here, or there?
"NO!" the Next one." Well there we go, I ruined his day, which hasn't even begun yet, and it has already tripped on words.
"Ohhhh," I said, "You mean the Woolworth Building." I should've said it louder, with more indignation. Fuck street names and directions, all you needed to tell me was to take you to The Woolworth building, one of the most fucking famous landmarks in the damn city. Fucking prick.
I was still fuming about this a few minutes later as I turn to go uptown on Church Street. A midsize sport utility vehicle wants to get over to the left, but does so with timidness. So be it as there is no traffic, so I wave them over, and slow down. And now of course they wait in front of me as reveling in their newly acquired lane. Not only are they in my way, but now I can't see in front of me down the long wide street, possibly missing fare opportunities lining either the east or west side, stuck behind some moron. The pass ever so slowly all the way to left of the street, which mind you is 4 lanes across!!! they don't use a turn signal once!! I take my frustration out on them and in 2 seconds time do what took them so long to do, crossing over lane after lane using my signals and the abundance of engine torque the car possessed. The streets were wet from that night's rain, so while I pounded on my horn the tail end of my car danced like snake, and with that I peeled away from my aggravations and back in to my more civilized mind, which of course told me that I was indeed an idiot. I looked up to the express bus in the right lane of the street, and thought I at the very least gave the commuters from Staten Island a good show.