The undergrads are back. They’re not back in force, yet, but there’s a distinct difference now compared to last week. This will be more apparent in the last story of this post.
I had a timed call for about 1:30am, pick up in the student housing called Eagle Heights. The majority of students living in this segment of the University are foreign, married, and half the time have kids. I imagine it’s an effort to keep SOME area of the University calm and separate from the majority of party kids.
Through a language barrier, I figure out when I get there that I’ll be taking one passenger and about 10 heavy suitcases to a bus station. Another car will be following me with 4 more people, 3 of which are taking the bus with my only passenger. The family had been visiting a student and returning to China.
About 5 minutes into our ride, I spot a fox and slow way down. I point it out to my passenger, who exclaims, “OH!!” It turns out to be a cluster of 3 foxes, one who trots across the road 15 feet in front of my slow-moving car with a fat rabbit in it’s mouth. “It’s good luck!” I say, but I have a feeling she doesn’t know what I’ve said. We both know and reflect each other’s surprise and excitement about seeing foxes, though. Some things translate very easily. When we get to our destination and everything is unpacked, I asked the driver of the other car if they saw the foxes. My passenger perked up, held up three fingers, and exclaimed, “THREE OF THEM!”
Caution: Moving Day
This sign alternately flashed “Use Caution” and “Moving Day” all weekend. August 14th and 15th are generally the days most leases end and begin in Madison, to sync with the UW school year. U-Haul has trouble accommodating the needs of our city. People who have reserved a truck months in advance sometimes still don’t get one. Double-parking and blocked traffic are a norm, as well as free stuff EVERYWHERE. This year I scored some art, a nice coffee table, and a shelving unit. In our advanced culture, it’s easier to say “Oh, I can just buy another $50 shelving unit at Target after I move because it’s easier than lifting this $50 shelving unit into a truck.” The furniture is disposable and people have money to throw around if their parents are sending them to a school that charges $20k/year.
I can’t complain too much, I guess. Free furniture for me.
Another thing about Moving Day is cab drivers have become hired movers for people who couldn’t get a moving van or realize they’re throwing away all their furniture and only need one van to schlep their bags of clothing and a few books. I get a couple of these each year. It’s up to the cab driver whether they are willing to move things for someone because some of our drivers have bad backs and can’t do any heavy lifting.
In a “move job” we first negotiate with our customer how much the driver is willing and able to do, with a price. For example: I packed 20 garbage bags and 3 medium-weight boxes into and out of my van, to and from each entry way of the apartments. The bags weren’t very heavy, so I could do 2-3 per trip. I charged $10 on top of the meter but could probably have gotten $20. The meter starts before lifting begins and ends after the lifting is done. We were also stuck in heavy traffic in transit. I ended up getting an additional $6 tip on top of a $25 meter with the $10 extra fee. The man didn’t help because he was busy contacting the manager at each end while I was doing all the work. He was extremely grateful, though, and I could see in his eyes that I had taken a measure of stress out of his day. I might have been the only thing that was going right in his day. I don’t really ever mind added work, so long as I get some positive feedback.
I seriously saw this on someone’s license plate. They were in front of me for about 3 straight miles in the middle of the night. I tried to take a photo, but their brake lights flooded the photo. This is one of my favorite plates now, next to one that just says “BACON”.
To end my night I got called a FEMINISTCUNT loudly in response to kicking someone out of the car for being a douche bag. I had asked him calmly a couple times to stop being demanding, calling me “baby”, and generally being rude… within the first couple blocks of the trip. After the rudeness continued I asked him to get out, I didn’t want to feel like I was in a tug-of-war for civility all the way to the west side from downtown.
Honestly, if the guy was trying to get a reaction or insult me, he sure picked the wrong “expletive”. It just reinforced my decision to get him out of the car. It also made me feel good for standing up for and asserting myself. That guy’s new title is “pedestrian.”