Carpe Noctem

One of the best things about my job is the 4am Committee. As a cooperative, we have many committees and meetings to discuss things from fuel efficiency, to seasonal company parties, to buying the building we work out of, to the toilet paper we buy. The 4am committee is just as important a part of our company as these other, more obviously functional committees. As drivers who work the bar shift we have needs, and we fill them in this committee. The stress of suppressing the urges to strangle, run over, and punch all drunk assholes is released in drinking beer, sharing stories, and smoking while we do our paperwork. The 4am Committee has been meeting almost every Friday and Saturday night (and sometimes other days) since the formation of the company thirty-some year ago. Considering the founding members were all hippies, and some are even now the General Manager and lead the Board of Directors, we’ve stuck to our roots pretty well. I don’t believe there’s a mention of the 4am Committee in any of our policies or bylaws, but it’s integral despite this. If it stopped, all the night drivers would probably go crazy. So the 4am committee is tolerated even when it sometimes runs into 6 and 7am, after the sun’s risen and the day drivers complain of the loud noise and cigarette smoke. It is necessary, for the good of the drivers’ mental health and company’s stability. To keep it under control, it’s held in a small room detached from the business building and away from all equipment and civilization. The small room is covered in a layer of smoke residue which won’t leave unless the place burns down. The walls are lined with funny pictures of our drivers, a couple couches found on the curb, a couple tables with calculators, a stereo found on the curb (that works, with radio), and a deer head. Someone found a small cardboard poster with “Carpe Noctem” on the side of the road, and put it up on our wall a couple years ago. We’ve also got posters of the TV show “Taxi”, artwork from some of our drivers, and other fun odds and ends. It sucks that when I get home after spending an hour or two there my clothes and hair smell like smoke. It sucks that the moment I step into that room I have an uncontrollable urge to beg someone for a cigarette (and at no other time do I feel that urge). But these are things to overlook for the greater good of my sanity. Last night was easy for me, the passengers were nice, tipped well, and were cheerful from the shift into Spring. However, the bunnies and raccoons have come out and the deer are running around in front of my cab… and so are the college kids. It’s frustrating to have to drive 5 mph just because 20 different groups of 2-3 people want to jump out in front of moving vehicles to join their cohorts across the street.  The grass must greener there and they cannot wait for a traffic light, I guess. This didn’t make me want to strangle my passengers so much as press a little harder on the gas.  Eight hours of my left foot hovering over the break makes me thirsty. I needed that beer after my shift! So 4am rolled around and I got it… and one of our phone answers picked tonight to practice making omelettes, too! So for $1 per egg, he cooked drivers omelettes in the Smoky Hut on a hot plate. The pay is unsteady, the stress is unique, but I love my job and my company, and especially my co-workers  The customers can all bite me! (or tip me)

About yellowandblackmail

I pick people up and take them where they want to go.
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