(Aside- story continues after the paragraph, this is just a paragraph on taxi tech stuff)
At the time, our computer systems were relatively new. 6 months previous to this ride, we didn't have televisions invading the riding public with a constant stream of advertising, and allowing them to pay by credit cards. And it amazes me to remember that I've driven so long: in 5 years I have now used 4 different brands of taximeters and two different brands of computer tracking equipment to assist with credit cards, and before that we had a big partition without a monitor, but instead a jumble of maps and regulation taxi information was posted all over it. Honestly, I can say that I like the system we have now better than what we didn't have before. The partition looks a lot more clean and organized with all the information displayed on the monitor rather than drilled in beneath cracked plexiglass, and scratched up with whatever the disgruntled passenger possesses. Now it is very frustrating indeed when the system crashes and it takes all your business away. One day the system crash was so bad that we couldn't use credit cards all day long, and another time the system crashed right in the middle of a ride to the airport!! right in the middle!! during a trip!! My old garage has since been so frustrated with the verifone system that they switched over to the creative technology system, and now at least, when there is a problem, the system notifies the driver and the passenger both, not just the passenger, who usually doesn't notice that anything is wrong unless they have a degree in computer software. Also the meter that connects to the creative mobile technology is a more fair machine, when I stop the meter, it actually stops, it doesn't keep ticking if I keep driving. Anyway now, sorry for that digression, back to the story-
Anyway so this guy was one who really knew his stuff and asked me to take the FDR drive down to 25th street and then take second avenue down, he told me he owned a garage in Brooklyn, and wondered aloud how he should reconfigure his trip sheets. You see, previous to all the computer technology trip sheets were of a sturdy manilla 2-ply paper on which you were required to write down the pick-up location and drop off point and include the times of all trips. Now that we have the computer do all the tracking for us, it was rendering the old trip sheet obsolete. He looked at the sheet that I had which didn't help him much at all.
"It's all the same," he said, "You don't need to record any of your trips anymore." He was right, but my garage for some reason had kept the old trip sheets all this time, it has now been 2 or 3 years, and still we have all the space to record up to 35 rides. only recently have they made room for recording up 15 credit transactions on paper, and then later, to 25 credit transactions. But still there is oodles of space to write down, if one chooses to do so, every single ride pick-up and drop point. However, this garage owner was calculating how to change his business plan. You save money by saving paper, and by saving paper you save on storage space, which in turn saves more paper, and all that weight reduction might save big money by not having to file workman's comp when someone in the office lifts a whole box of files.
Anyway now we move to the year 2011, the year of that ride I suppose was 2009, 2008. Come January 1st I was cooped up in my apartment in Brooklyn and I couldn't get any sleep as usual. It would take me 2 hours to get to my taxi garage in Queens. The clock strikes midnight and I hear fireworks, "Oh Christ," I say "To hell with this." I don't have a clue as to who's doing what in my neighborhood, and I sure as hell don't want to take a train right to 42nd street to switch to the train to queens only 2 hours after the ball drops. Of course my screwed up sleep system puts me to bed right about the time that I should be at the garage. I come in the next day and they tell me that the boss man is looking for me, I laugh it off because it must be some kind of joke. I mean who should expect a driver to work on New Years? it's only the night that pays well, but once day break falls, there is nothing. And to add to all that, there is the mayhem of trying to calmly get to work and save energy for 12 hours of driving among these drunks who are so damn happy that another day has passed. WoooHooo! I need to buy a new calendar and my iphone is fucked. yeah woopdie fuckin' doo. To my surprise the boss man wasn't happy with me at all, I don't give him excuses, I never do, I'm just not that kind of person, I missed a day I missed a day, that's all there is to it. He says to me "I'll miss you!" and so I laugh at him, I never laughed at the man before, I was always afraid I'd loose my job or something, but I think I'd already checked out. You see I knew that there were two major garages in Brooklyn and at least one would take me, what's more they don't give their drivers an argument every time they need a day off, or a huge vacation even. My old place kicks drivers out if they screw up 3 times. And it doesn't matter how many days you worked for them to replace a driver on vacation, or during major holidays, if you miss your day, you're not going to work there very long, and you never get a discount. So I found my point where I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. An easier commute, a chance to actually live in my apartment in brooklyn rather than just visit it on my days off, more vacation days, more work days, and bosses who talk to you rather than shout.
One week later I had made the transition to the garage in brooklyn, the same garage where Gil works at. And when I go into the office I'm pretty sure I see that same guy whom I gave that ride to Chinatown some 2 or 3 years ago. I don't bring it up though, I don't think it was one of my best rides. Right at the end I tried to overtake a box truck before my lane evaporated, but there wasn't enough room, so I needlessly accelerated only to hit the brakes. So I won't ever tell him I gave him a ride.
I was already planning to switch before my boss blew up at me one last time, but that just sent me to the other place quicker.