Yesterday was all about body functions.
It started out a good day. I bought a new thermos coffee travel mug thing that completely ROCKS (it kept ice in it for about 5 hours). Early in my shift I caught myself thinking introspectively that one of my best skills is that I know all the good places in town that have clean, 24 hour bathrooms… while I was pooping in one.
Then I got hungry, so I ended up swinging through a Chipotle before it closed (approximately 9:45pm). I had spent an hour earlier in the evening waiting for ANY business to come my way, so I took the burrito bowl to go in the hopes I could get something soon. Sometimes this is the worst thing you can do.
Taxi drivers come into contact with way more people from a far greater diversity than most, on a more intimate level. And by “intimate” I mean proximity of space, length of time, and knowledge of circumstance.
After I got my burrito bowl and my stomach kicked into “omg feed me” overdrive, I was dispatched a call near me that went way across town. A $37 call that I was NOT going to say no to because I spent the first part of my day starving for a call. I didn’t ask what had happened, but it seemed that the poor man I picked up had suffered a recent stroke. He couldn’t move his left arm or leg, he seemed a little sluggish with his speech, and he was in a wheelchair. He was wearing an adult diaper and some gym shorts that didn’t quite hide it. When he asked if I could help him pull one of his feet into the car, I didn’t hesitate, but that’s when I realised it would be a very long ride. I got a good noise full of unpleasantness.
This is when I thought that being super hungry, having food waiting in the cab for me to eat, but having the stench of humanity battling with my stomach was THE WORST.
I get the man to his destination, help him with his half-walker and wheelchair, give him a hand out of the car… and his gym shorts fall to his ankles while he’s trying to turn his body around to be able to sit into his wheelchair. He’s standing, but he can’t support himself and bend over without falling to get his shorts. He’s feeling a little embarrassed and asks me to help. I resist a little, asking if he cannot reach with his good arm, thinking he could wrap his bad on the car door for support, but he says no and please, and so I pull up his pants for him, facing his diaper.
This is when I think pulling up dudes pants is THE WORST.
He’s super nice, though, and very understanding. He pays me with vouchers (some people in Madison receive vouchers with their other social benefits if they’re on disability or social security) and I’m on my way… to wash my hands.
My next ride is 4 people of a 7 person order (two cab order). They were young, probably only 22-23, and jovial. The ride wasn’t really that remarkable except that when I went to load my NEXT ride I found a bottle of aquafina with half an inch of dip-spittle in it stuffed into the seat pocket of the from passenger seat. GROSS!
DIP IS THE WORST.
I ended up back at the office a little bit after that with a headlight out and forced to switch cabs. It was nearing bartime so I resented the time away from business, but I GUESS it’s safer this way (I actually know it’s safer this way, I was using my teenager voice right there).
I had only 3 rides in this next car before calling it a night. I don’t remember the first two, but the last was a doozy. I had a lady get into my cab on State Street, telling me “go go GO!” and so I replied “No no NO. Tell me your address.”
“Where in Sun Prairie?”
“No, tell me your address and I need $35 up front because we’re leaving the city.”
She tells me the address, fumbles around for the money while I start to take off. Then she gets distracted, hangs her arm out the window, and starts talking to people on State Street. She spits a couple of times out of the window and I remind her to give me money as I pull over. She’s pretty “green in the gils”. She only has $31 and doesn’t have a debit card. She says her boyfriend has her card and I ask if that was the solicitous guy we just left at the bar. No, her boyfriend is at home.
I do a little internal calculating. She’s going to pass out and/or get sick on the way home. I have $31 in my hand which will be close enough to the meter that I’m comfortable chancing not getting paid the MAYBE $3-5 more it might be at the end. If she gets sick I have to clean it up, unless she can get it outside the cab. She’s wearing nice enough things that I think she cares about getting it outside the cab… but that’s probably a bad assumption. If she gets her sickness *IN* the cab, boyfriend at the end has a card, maybe. I do know she’s not going to talk at me and bother me the rest of the way home, she’d rather sleep.
I take the risk and take her home. After 15 minutes I ask which exit off the highway to take, she asks “don’t you have GPS?” very sleepily. Yes, but generally people know how to get to their home so I don’t need to look it up. I get off the freeway, she slams her arm into my chest and I was all “HEY WHAT?!” but her other hand was over her mouth, so over I pulled. She spent the next 5 minutes emptying her stomach.
Like a good cab driver, I have napkins. Always carry napkins because people’s faces and hands are always gross after they get sick and I don’t want them to touch ANYTHING ELSE with their gross. bleck! While she’s getting sick, I take the wallet that was in her lap and set it on the dash in front of her so it wouldn’t fall out of the door she was half-falling out of. The best case for pukers is they step out of the car and go on the grass or gutter behind the car, but I guess this girl didn’t have time or agility for that.
I get her home, she says “You’re good right? I paid you?” The meter is at $41 and I say, “No.” I remind her that her boyfriend was going to pay, so she goes inside. She forgot her wallet, so I’m not concerned. A few minutes of her calling and yelling and being A Treat go by. I examine the damage to the car. She had pissed herself at some point, her seat was wet. I tested this by putting on a latex glove (we carry them in the glove box for just this type of situation!) and wiping it across the 6″ by 6″ dark patch of the passenger seat. GROSS! There was also vomit along the bottom of the door frame, but remarkably none of it got on the upholstery.
Boyfriend comes out from behind the house, girlfriend goes inside after yelling “PAY FOR MY CAB!” What a nice lady.
The boyfriend comes up to me and says something like, “She’s not even my girlfriend, I hate her… she’s just the mother of my baby. She’s cost me so much….” I warn him not to come into the car because of the mess, explain the situation, hand him the $31 cash back and the wallet, and we charge the $41 + $50 cleaning fee to his debit card. Poor dude, that lady was a piece of work. Poor me, I had to clean up puke and pee.
Cleaning up pee is THE WORST.
Then, after all this was done and I was doing my waybill, I got my period. Yea, sometimes it’ll sneak up on you and surprise you like that. ALL OF THE BODY FUNCTIONS TODAY!
I tell my husband all of this when I woke up this afternoon and he says “you have the best job!” He was being sarcastic, but it made me smile.