University of Wisconsin sports fans are crazy. Nearly as insane as Packer fans, who will go watch football outside with 80,000 of their closest friends in negative seventeen degree weather. UW Badger fans generally stick to football but if one of the other sports programs is doing well, they hop on that bandwagon screaming how they are experts on all the players and positions, then critique with impudence.
Most recently, I think it was basketball. Something about a final four, but it wasn’t in town. I was fooled for a while, though, considering there was approximately 6,000 people mobbed within one block of State Street after winning a game on Saturday, March 29th. People started seeing a tweeted photo of the “mob” on State St and then they started calling us to give them rides TO it. While the mob wasn’t necessarily violent, they were a little bit destructive. We had happy-destructive mob tearing up some construction, probably 200 police officers trying to disperse the crowd, and people calling us from the outskirts of town at 11pm to join in. See? Crazy. There doesn’t need to be more people downtown to help celebrate a sports team that wasn’t even in Wisconsin to play. What would have happened if we had lost? 6,000 people being mad-destructive is worse than happy-destructive, right?
This win on the 29th set up a big money-making weekend for the 4th and 5th of April, though. The people going out on Friday night (the night before the game) were hopeful, polite, and happy. Friday night was a huge win for my wallet. I was getting extremely generous tips, the college kids were being weirdly polite and kind, and I felt absolutely no stress. It was a piece of cake. I even had one instance of 8 college kids trying to cram into the cab and when I let them know that I could only take 6 because everyone needed a seatbelt they apologised right away and made arrangements for two of the boys to walk. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. They ALWAYS put up a fight. Then at the end of the ride I got a generous tip along with, “I’m sorry we were being obnoxious,” but no one had been obnoxious! People were constantly complimenting my hair without being creepy, too. If I had squinted I might have caught sight of a unicorn somewhere in town.
But for every tit there is a tat.
Saturday night was a shitstorm, with a slow and drawn-out build-up. Everyone wanted to get uptown for the game, to any bar with a television, but when the game started the business died down. Driving around the downtown area, I heard sporadic, LOUD cheering erupting from open bar windows. More than I have heard from most other in-town sporting events. Business was slow right up until 2 minutes before the end of the game, and then all the people who called us and got immediate service didn’t come out of the bar because they needed to know the result of the close game… and it wasn’t a 2 minute wait because sports are weird with time-outs and commercials.
We lost by 1. Everyone took it personally. More people took cabs into town to join in the commiseration after the game ended. The police were very active and awesome, but they couldn’t stop all the mayhem. Here’s a photo of one of the casualties.
This photo was taken on Sunday, after they moved the remains out of the driveway and into a more sensible spot.
There was tons of people out Saturday but miserable drinkers don’t tip too good so I didn’t make much money. It all evened out I guess. At least I had that one really good night to remember that sometimes my job really CAN kick ass and people aren’t always douchey.
Here is a couple funny photos, though.
This is a tip. I picked a couple up at a bar just after midnight, right when all the gas stations in the immediate area closed. The dude HAD to have his pack of marlboros, though, and he wouldn’t settle for his girlfriend’s menthols. At the fourth gas station stop we found an “Open” sign. To thank me for running around I got a bucket of cheap donuts which I took back to the office and shared with everyone because who doesn’t love junk food at 4am?! Not to mention the ride turned into $20 instead of the $7 it would have been had this man not had an addiction.
I found this in my cab:
I had a negative encounter with a man on Sunday. I picked him and his wife up at the bus stop, they had taken a bus from Chicago to Madison on one of the hourly shuttles because it’s easier and cheaper than taking a connecting flight from Chicago to Madison (I’ve done it a few times myself). Early in the ride I was asked how long I’ve been doing this, which is a very common question. Ten years. I confirm the drop address and have looked on my map before founding my passengers to make sure I’m refreshed on which neighborhood it’s in. Despite this verbal reassurance that I’m aware where they are going and my ten years of experience, I’m directed on each turn on all the major intersections on where to go. I’m patient with them, though. It’s been a long weekend and I don’t have any fight left in me.
The man tells me intermittently that they’ve just come back from England, visiting their daughter, and I wouldn’t believe how big Heathrow Airport is. It’s even bigger than O’Hare. I ask them if they took the train into the airport, giving them a verbal cue that I am familiar (I flew out of there a few times and lived in England for a year), but he goes on educating me. Their crazy driver son-in-law drove them. At least they followed up by complementing my calm driving… but then they ruined it by saying, “You know, the taxi drivers in England really make a go of it. It’s their PROFESSION.”
At this point I realised he just didn’t believe I was an adult. I was less than him, he was maybe treating me like his child. I replied calmly that this was my profession, too. What I really wanted to tell him wasn’t polite. I wanted to point out that he just didn’t absorb that I knew what I was doing, I knew about England, he had nothing new to bestow on me, and ten years of driving cab was a conscious choice, not a horrible accident that women shouldn’t get themselves into. I made sure none of that translated into my tone of voice and I was rewarded for that with a $4 tip.
Thank you, internet, for being my outlet. I feel less like punching douches now and I am $4 richer knowing I have you to turn to.
Cool blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really
make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme.
The theme is just one of the free ones off of wordpress.com. My theme’s name is “Twenty Ten” if you were interested in looking it up and tweeking it for yourself.