This blog serves as a chronicle to my first ever 'juicy' cab ride. Not like a big can of V8, but more like a Juicy Juice Elmo Fruit Punch. But..... Juice, nonetheless.
Well, October is upon us - the insects have been departing their bugsy bodies into that good night, and the silence of autumn and pre-winter is here - with it's charming silence and times of reflection. Well, in Vermont anyways, in NYC, the noise never stops. What this also means, is that in just a few short weeks, the iconic body on frame Crown Victoria's, will also be entering that good night. On October 31, 2015, the garage I lease from, will be lining them up, and without so much as a flinch, be kicking them out of the parking lot for the new 'Taxi of Tomorrow', which has been sifting flour on the streets of New York for many yesterdays - all the way back to 2012. But now, it's the law. Sad days are here.
Now, to the annoyance of friends and family who are forced to listen to it, I've been spending my weekend time bombing around the boroughs as much as my schedule allows to really solidify the experience of my part time occupational interests. Interestingly enough, despite my preference of driving nights, I had not yet had any remarkable stories many might assume I have in terms of back seat casting calls. If anything, it's been unremarkable - people have simply climbed in for a ride - I take them there - and that is that. Many are pleasant, many are rude, a very few completely crazy. On a recent weekend, I hit the streets piloting medallion # 8M37, and decided to do a social experiment and head to the outer boroughs to try my luck at getting passengers, since it's well known that yellow cabs can not often be found there, and with the nice weather, things were slow in mid-town. I burned a lot of gas cruising Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights and the Bronx. People needing rides would actually put there hands down for me, in trade for a local black livery cab or green boro taxi. I ended up giving my wifey poo a ride from her parents on Laurel Hill Place near Amsterdam and 181 st. Street to her sisters place in the Bronx and decided to head back south where the old yeller's roam. But first, I stretched my legs over I-87 between Broadway in the Bronx and Bailey Avenue:
I was irritated that I wasted my time dubbing around outside of midtown, and to my great surprise, after dropping my significant other off in the Kingsbridge area, I was heading south on Broadway near 234th Street when an older and quite large Dominican guy and his wife/whatever flagged me down in front of a supermarket called Garden Gourmet.
He asked me if I was a flat fare, to which I told him I wasn't - meter only. He wasn't happy about that, telling me the green Boro Taxi's he can barter with, to which I pointed to the meter and told him whatever this says is the cost. So he said fine, take us to 163rd and Broadway - a straight shot. The odor of intoxicants emitting from his mouth was quite powerful, and I at once heard the unmistakable sound of what I believed to be an El Presidente beer being opened in the back seat, to which I confirmed in the mirror by watching him guzzle it. He had earbuds in, and was cranking some bachata, but was also having a convo with his Spanish speaking girl friend at the same time; I didn't understand how he could do that, but he was. She too had earbuds in. It made no sense at all to me. He was quite animated, and uh.....feeling that his oats were needing sowing. He was all over her in the backseat, to her acceptance and giggles. I could hear his empty beer bottle rolling on the floor, kicked by his foot as he started kissing and caressing her, and he was on top of her. Now, for perspective - it is still light out - it was just starting to become dusk. I continued on, occasionally glancing back there - and I noticed every now and then he would stop, and would simply sit up, look out the window looking angry, then immediately go back to his desire - and start mauling her to her giggles and.....in time....moans. Now, it's tough to see back there with the partition, as well as trying to play it cool and not be a perv, but at no time did any clothes come completely off I'm sorry (and a little glad) to say. But, judging by the moans and a couple of Spanish words I am familiar with, his pesky little fingers were doing most of the talking. Her foot kept kicking the partition, and Spanish, reverberated about the cab. She was leaned against the passenger side door, with him half on top of her, and feeling her contours. His earbuds were still in, and on full blast.....weird o rama. For quite a spell, I could hear her moaning, and well, I think you get the jist of what I assume he was doing with those chatterbox fingers, before he sat back and a favor returned. I couldn't remember if he wanted 165th or 163rd, so I kept asking, but got no answer from anyone, so I just guessed it was 163rd. Since he was sitting up at this point, I did everything I could to avoid looking in the mirror, so as not to interrupt whatever story she was telling to his belt buckled area. As we rolled up, the meter said $17 and he handed me a $20 as she collected and straightened herself out - and said to keep it. As he picked up his stuff and beer bottle, he closed the door, and thus concluded my first NYC Taxi back seat sexy time experience. I looked in the back seat at the next light to make sure there was nothing that needed to be cleaned, and there wasn't. Being the germaphobe that I am, I couldn't help to think about the back door door handle though. Ew.
So, my social experiment OVER, and quite pleased someone had gotten a little sort of kind of nookie in the back seat, I headed back downtown and immediately called Ori to apprise her of my events; however, she wasn't very enthusiastic about it. Hey, I'm a country kid, this doesn't happen where I come from! Anyhow, I grabbed a number of fares, but they were all short trips here and there. It was a weird shift -and call me naive, but I was surprised because many of the people that climbed in, were really rude. I dropped some tourists from France (they were very pleasant) off at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and rolling south on 5th Avenue turning onto 59th Street, an older African American woman and two young children hailed me at the light; I motioned to her to jump in. She wanted to go to 96th and Columbus Avenue. As I headed into Columbus Circle, the police had Central Park West all closed off near Trump Towers with an accident or something, so, I headed up Broadway and turned north onto Amsterdam, which runs north, parallel with Columbus Avenue, which runs south. So as I'm doing this, she rather nastily exclaims "Why are you going this way?" (I've heard this a few times...hey..I'm a rookie give me a break). I told her about Central Park West, and that this was the most direct route. On and on and on she sat back there griping - telling me I was scamming her etc. I told her I wasn't, and that the trip was so short, there really wasn't much room to scam anyone and assured her that I wasn't. Still, she wasn't having any of it, and I once again told her that the way I was going, really was the easiest and shortest route there was. I told her a number of times that if she wanted, I could cut across back to Central Park West (the portions that were now open) if she wanted, and she told me no. This lady just would not stop squawking in the seat that she's no sucker, and was mumbling calling me names, while the kids just sat in silence. Anyhow - before I got there, I killed the meter to just appease her - it wasn't worth arguing over the 50 cents she thought I was so hungry for, so it came to 10 bucks. She handed me a 10, grabbed those kids, called me a mother fucker and slammed the door so hard, it instantly brought rage to my head, but I decided to let my cooler side prevail. All it takes is for a passenger to dial 311 and make my life complicated, even if I'm in the right. I don't have the time or the inkling to deal with that over a dollar.
Towards the end of the night, I had picked up three young women on those lettered Avenues near East Houston Street; they had been out eating and drinking, were dressed to the nines, and thought they were just fabulous. Their stale booze breath, mixed with perfume and whatever eatery odor they were at, emanated throughout the car's interior. So the ring leader of this trio, starts chatting with me, but it was drunk brave chatter - all condescending......designed to make me think she was interested in my actual answers, but really just making fun, because after all, I'm JUST a lowly taxi driver.......all low key digs like that, to which her little friends would giggle and tee hee, and playfully telling her to stop it, like she is just like, so crazy tee hee. I played along - let them have their little fun, because at that moment, I had cut off an Uber car by accident, as sometimes it's hard to see what's behind you with those partitions. Plus, the seats in these Crown Vics sit really really low; I look like a munchkin in it. This Uber guy was so beyond pissed, he kept the horn blaring for an entire block. Then....as he pulled next to me as we rolled along, he kept blaring it. I was growing tired of it, so If he went toot toot, I went toot toot; and it was enraging him. Finally, at a stop light, he is on my right and honking for my attention, so I finally gave it to him and rolled the window down, to his great glee. It was an Indian guy - and he says "You. You IdeeiOUGHT. You IdeeiOUGHT". I told him to chill out, that I didn't see him, and that if he gets this pissed off at getting cut off in NYC, he's going to have an awfully long night honking and stewing. He then says "You IdeeiOUGHT". In the backseat, the ringleader girl is yelling at the Uber guy to fuck off, playing protector of yours truly. Ugh....booze.
So, between the gabbing little twits slyly poking fun at how poor I was, and this knucklehead next to me, I decided I'd had almost enough for the day/night. I managed to fall back into the patterned fold of traffic along 6th Avenue and dropped the privileged little Queens off on Broadway at Columbia University. Gee, what a shocker.
After fiddle farting around with a few other fares, I decided to call it a night - I'd had enough, and sailed my yellow steed across the Queensboro Bridge for gas and head to the garage. I parked the cab, returned the keys, proof of fill up and submitted my credit card purchases for payment, along with paying the taxes and crap that needs to be paid when you get cash from a customer. As I strolled through the lot to leave, I noticed 4M15 - the first cab I drove on my first shift ever, cooling off. I noticed it had new orange license plates and the roof ad was now Jimmy Fallon too. The whole lot was literally packed with cabs. Absolutely no one driving them. Used to be (as I've been told), you would have to wait an hour or more to get a cab to drive. But now - since Uber......the cars just wait for a noob like me. Also, summer time is slow too. Anyhow, 4M15 - is a car I am partial too. I have some plans for this car when it retires in two weeks. Specifically, those plans include driving it out of that lot one more time, and never coming back. I've made arrangements with the garage to purchase it. I spoke to a number of people about it - and as they told me....'there are others in a lot better shape' - but....well, you can only buy your first cab once, and this is it. Curtis, the service manager at the garage, is in charge of the vehicles. I've been bugging him with calls and notes, and he's been terrific to talk with. I intend to tip Curtis very well. Dead or alive....under it's own power or that of a flatbed, that car - is coming home with me. And THEN......my collection of junk taxi's, will be complete.
4M15:and following..a small gallery of pics for giggles if you're into that sort of thing.
Thanks for reading! Or...rather, thanks for looking! Um, clicking? Scrolling?
Till next time.....
I taped my phone to the dash of a taxi recently, while cruising for fares on Bleecker Street in southern Manhattan - a street known for it's bars and such. Instead of listening to the annoying rattle of the embattled meter in the car, I overlayed some soundtrack from the movie Taxi Driver, as well as the psycho babble from Travis Bickle, ending with just the silence of tires rolling (kid safe - relevant "c" words are not audible):
Video below the Bickle quotes.
All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets. I go all over. I take people to the Bronx, Brooklyn, I take 'em to Harlem. I don't care. Don't make no difference to me. It does to some. Some won't even take spooks. Don't make no difference to me.
Each night when I return the cab to the garage, I have to clean the cum off the back seat. Some nights, I clean off the blood.
Twelve hours of work and I still can't sleep. Damn. Days go on and on. They don't end.
All my life needed was a sense of someplace to go. I don't believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention, I believe that one should become a person like other people.
Loneliness has followed me my whole life. Everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape. I'm God's lonely man.
June 8th. My life has taken another turn again. The days can go on with regularity over and over, one day indistinguishable from the next. A long continuous chain. Then suddenly, there is a change.
June twenty-ninth. I gotta get in shape now. Too much sitting has ruined my body. Too much abuse has gone on for too long. From now on there will be 50 pushups each morning, 50 pullups. There will be no more pills, no more bad food, no more destroyers of my body. From now on will be total organization. Every muscle must be tight.
The idea had been growing in my brain for some time: TRUE force. All the king's men cannot put it back together again.
You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talking... you talking to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? OK.
Listen, you fuckers, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the cunts, the dogs, the filth, the shit. Here is a man who stood up.
Now I see this clearly. My whole life is pointed in one direction. There never has been a choice for me.
This section of the site is not specific to my taxi travels. They are not really rants either. It is more of a space for me to simply raise awareness to topics that either inspire or frustrate me as an individual.