Don’t touch the driver.

squinty snow-pelted selfie

I’m making this face because snow is pelting me. My camera must be of such good quality that it doesn’t let snow get in the way of my awesome face.

My friend and coworker Karl has an insanely good outlook on everything.  I mentioned a couple nights ago how frustrated I got at one point or another, and he said something along the lines of, “I like getting frustrated sometimes.  Like, I get so frustrated and it sucks, but then there’s a moment when you’re all worked up and you get this pause in the awfulness and you get a little adrenaline and you feel a moment of pure euphoria.  Then that passes and the frustration comes rushing back and it’s shit again.  But for one moment it’s awesome!”

This makes some sense, and I wouldn’t say this happens every time I get frustrated, but there ARE some times where, in the midst of my pure frustration, I reach a moment of calm clarity.

Snow fucking sucks for cab drivers.  Half of the passengers who get in the cab try and start small talk with the line, “wow, this weather must be great for business!”  They haven’t really thought about it much.  The heavy snowfall makes tons of people in the city not want to drive, so they call a cab.  Nearly everyone on the road (including us) drive at nearly half the normal driving speeds to stay safe.  EVERYONE on the road (including us) is gripping the steering wheel trying to hold in our snow-onset tourette syndrome, tightening our upper backs and necks, and grinding our teeth at the way other shitty drivers are behaving.  Not to mention about a quarter of the scheduled cab drivers for the entire city were smart enough to take the day off because they knew they’d make less money for twice the stress and work.  Sure there’s loads of business out there, but moving at half the normal speed won’t get that business in your cab, and usually whoever GETS in your cab doesn’t appreciate (via tipping) all the extra work the snow day is.

In fact, the bad weather days are usually the ones where I get stiffed the most often.  And it’s NOT that it’s just I notice it more on those days, other drivers have noticed this as well.  Part of it is that if the buses aren’t running, people who were stranded and who don’t normally have the money for cabs are forced into spending more money than they had anticipated.  They sometimes don’t even know tipping is normal for cab drivers.  Part of it is also people are just awful sometimes.  Really, really awful.

Fortunately I had several passengers these past two snow shifts that really understood all that extra effort and showered me with extra money.  I also had several passengers whose necks I wanted to wring.  I ALSO had several friends who invited me over for snacks and food and gave me presents that broke up craziness and callousness of the weekend’s passengers and weather.

I stopped into a Superbowl party and snacked on home-cured meats and snacks, picked up delayed Christmas presents, and got lots of hugs.  Thank you Meg, Yasmine, and Matthew!  For a late dinner, two of my oldest friends (Kat and Adrian) invited me over for spaghetti with meat sauce with a to-go snack of cocktail weenies from a local butcher.  I’m seriously spoiled.  The two separate hour breaks in my 12 hour snow shift saved my sanity and made me feel loved and cared for.  There’s nothing better than someone saying, “I see the shit you’re dealing with, please come and let me help take the load off for just a little bit.”

Various gifts from friends who care about my sanity

A mini chicken dish (I collect these!), a to-go container of cocktail weenies, two bottles of home brew, a bottle of caramel Godiva booze, and a Slingshot Organizer (it’s pretty fucking awesome, you should look into getting one, too!)

I guess what I’m getting at is that the weekend sucked, but it was also awesome in turns.   I’ll share these few stories of rides, but please keep in mind that it doesn’t mean my whole weekend was garbage.

“So your a whore.”
I wrote this grammatically incorrect on purpose because the person who said it is probably that annoying and ignorant.  Some days I don’t want to gloss over things.  I get asked personal and inappropriate questions ALL DAY LONG and sometimes I’m like, “fuck it, you’re getting the harsh truth and I want to see your little brain flounder.”

I got the usual “so do you have a boyfriend?  Are you married?”
“No, I have several people I’m seeing.”
“SEVERAL?!  How does THAT work?”
“They know about each other and they all have other, more primary relationships.”
“WHOA!  Do those girlfriends know about you?  Do you live with any of them?”
“No, I like living without any of my partners.  I’m good friends with all the wives and girlfriends.  Most of them live out of state, anyway.”

Some of these questions were asked a few times because my answers weren’t absorbed.  I was driving a mini-van, so there were 6 dudes in the car.  The guy in the front seat was asking all the personal questions and most of the guys in the back were listening avidly.  Some tried to pipe in with more questions, but most were fairly respectful, even if they were inappropriately personal.  I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t ask their waitress or barista these things.

After repeating a couple times that I had several people I was seeing, the guy in the middle-back seat yells out, “SO YOUR A WHORE!”  That moment of frustrated clarity hit me, the one mentioned at the beginning of this post.  I was frustrated that passengers assume my whole life is theirs to ask about and then judge (why else ask all these incredibly personal questions immediately upon meeting someone?).  I was frustrated that some falling down drunk guy had the gall to judge my personal life.  Who are you, little man, to ask me these things and then condemn, and expect me to continue providing you shelter from this shitty snow storm and take you to your home?

With calm and control I forcibly hit the brakes and pulled over.  This dude was sitting in a position where he slid out of his seat (he wasn’t buckled, what a shame) and fell forward between the front two seats, landing on work bag.  He cried he had hurt his ankle.  Everyone else in the cab cried how they were SO SORRY that their friend blurted that out.  I turned around and asked the two who were sitting next to him if they had him under control.  Yes, they sure did and could I please take them all home?  I got a $12 apology tip from one of the more quiet of the lot, along with a shepherding of the rest.  “NO SHE WILL NOT TAKE YOU FROM HERE TO THE STRIP CLUB GET IN THE HOUSE!”

Repetitive Lawyer
Large parties of men going to the strip club are common.  Men who get into my cab when they’re part of these parties sometimes try to be coy.  They say they’re going to the bar, or a nearby place.  They won’t mention any taboo words like “stripper” or even “gentleman’s club” until I say something along those lines.  Then sometimes those same men feel the freedom to go straight to 12-year-old boner talk.

Some high-class lawyer kept asking me “so have you been inside Silk?”
“I go in sometimes to use the restroom and talk to the lady at the front desk.”  Silk pays us a $5 bounty for each person we bring to their business.  This is typical for big cities like Las Vegas, but it’s new for Madison and this is the #1 reason I go inside.  I am not about to tell this passenger this, because the next thing to be said will be something along the lines of “Oh, so we don’t need to tip, then,” or “so then you’re giving us a break on the meter, right?”

So we go back and forth with his question several times.  “Have you been inside Silk?”
“I go in to use the bathroom.”
“Yea, but have you BEEN to Silk?”
“I go inside sometimes when I drop off passengers to USE THE RESTROOM.”
“But have you been INSIDE?”
“I have not patronized the place, if that’s what you’re getting at.  You’re a lawyer, use your words.”
“Patronize?  I get yelled at for doing that!” He goes on to try and be funny with misunderstanding which meaning I’m using for the damn word.  How pedantic.  Then he asks his stupid question again, with an add-on.  Do I like boobs?
“Look.  I am taking you to an establishment where you will be paying women to have this conversation.  Leave me alone.”

Don’t Touch The Driver
“Hey, sweetheart, what’s you’re name?”
“Not Sweetheart.  It’s Becky.”

This is very common, but sometimes people mix it up with “sweetie” or “honey.”  My answer is consistent.  This dude kept calling me “sweetheart” the rest of the ride, and even once reached up and scratched my arm affectionately while he did it.  “Ironically.”

meme of the movie 300 with "Don't touch the driver!!!" text

Don’t touch the driver.

Look dude.  If you’re the only one laughing at your poor attempt of a joke (including your friend who was also in the cab), you’re just being a fucking dick.  And no, I won’t fist bump you on your way out of the cab to help you feel like it was all forgiven.

The past couple days people have been asking this question as “Ma’am, what’s you’re name?” or “Miss, what was your name?”  I like these answers much better, they are much more respectful.  I’m not sure I like being called “ma’am” though, generally.  It makes me feel my age.  So I guess I have mixed feelings about it, but it’s definitely a huge step up from “sweetheart”.

“You should come over tomorrow and make me breakfast.”
At the end of my shift last night/this morning, at 3am, I picked up a very drunk boy to take him home.  He asked the typical, “how’s your night been?!  I bet this weather is GREAT for you!”

“It’s been a little frustrating.  Slow moving and bad drivers, ya know?”
“I bet it’s so fun to drive in this!!”
“It is for a little bit, but after 12 hours it’s gotten very stressful and old.”
“Oh come on!  This is awesome, look how great it is!”
“Look, please stop arguing with me to convince me I had a good shift.  I’m tired.”

Twelve hours of driving in a shitty snow storm is hard.  It takes a lot of concentration and awareness of everything around you.  Sustaining that for a long time is incredibly draining and some dude trying to convince me that it’s fun and actually not work at all isn’t going to improve my mood.

I help move the conversation along to something that I won’t yell at him over.  Eventually I talk about how I’m going to have the biggest, best bloody mary I can find on my day off.  And maybe some awesome biscuits and sausage gravy from my favorite cafe.  “Oh that’s a great idea!  You should come over to my house tomorrow and make that for me!!”

“Fuck off!  I’m not going to come and make YOU breakfast after I’ve had a hard-ass weekend of working!”

I seriously don’t know what planet half of these people are from.  I can’t even relate or connect to most men anymore.  It’s not even my fault, I think other people have bred them funny or something.

Anyway, long post is long.  If you got this far you deserve a nice, big bloody mary.  If you’re in Madison, I recommend Mickey’s on Williamson.

About yellowandblackmail

I pick people up and take them where they want to go.
This entry was posted in Taxi Stories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Don’t touch the driver.

  1. aaronscholz says:

    Even my worst day on the job I don’t have to deal with a fraction of the shit that you do. And all because you’re a woman. I hate to ask the stupid rhetorical question but hey, do these guys think this is appropriate? I’ve had lots of luck meeting and hanging out with the opposite sex without ever having to do stupid shit like you describe, it always blows my mind that guys think it’s the way to go. And that women somewhere respond or shrug it off or whatever it is that lets it continue.

  2. Pingback: Don’t touch the driver. – Deadbeat Taxi Customers of Chattanooga

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