I worked an extra shift this week at the beginning of my work week, so instead of three days in a row of babysitting adults, I had four. It was also the big party weekend celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Lets celebrate drinking by doing a lot of it! Wooo!
The weekend went pretty smoothly, but it was long and busy. There was the ever-present underlying annoyance of the rudeness of drunks, and that always builds like a pressure cooker for me. Too much without a break and I get testy, which is normal for everyone with something in their life.
So if you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll find a common topic about how I hate sharing personal information. I’ve been better these past few weeks with politely, with a genuine smile in my voice, let people know I won’t share my personal information with them when they ask their first personal question, which is usually mundane like, “so where are you from?” I’m still not quite sure why most people assume I’m not from Wisconsin (which I’m not, but I totally have the accent now). I refuse to answer this question because it is always followed by a series of exponentially increasingly personal questions. If I answer the one, where would I draw the line on the rest? Why does anyone even need to know where their driver is from in the first place, other than the excuse of small talk and being entertained by your transportation. I’m not here for someone else’s entertainment, I’m here to take you from place A to place B without an accident in the middle. My personal life isn’t going to be a boring litany for the revolving door of my passengers who don’t even care in the first place.
So why don’t I make something up? Because I’m a terrible liar. It doesn’t come naturally to me. If someone asks me something, my immediate response is to answer. It took me a LONG time to remember I didn’t have to. I’m not going to train myself to be quick with a lie. We also have a lot of repeat customers who might remember a lie, when I would definitely not remember the lie.
Why don’t I make something outrageous up? I’m good with typing shit out, not with expounding verbally. I stick my foot in my mouth, stutter, and people can read straight through me.
Why should I have to do any of that in the first place? People shouldn’t pry, and they shouldn’t be insulted when I tell them politely that I won’t answer personal questions. I’ve come to accept that these two thing will never change. People will feel like my history is theirs for the asking when I’m their taxi driver, and they will be insulted when I set them straight. These are the things that I will always deal with, and I need to do so gracefully.
Sometimes I fuck up the graceful part, and sometimes I REALLY WANT to fuck up the graceful part, but I don’t. I guess that’s the sign that I’m becoming an adult and will soon have an aneurysm because of it.
A party of three were in my cab, two destinations, they were coming out of a St. Paddy’s Day celebration at a residence. The man getting out at the first destination asked where I was from and I deflected twice. I asked him where HE was from first, tried to expound on it, and then told him I don’t share my personal information the second time he asked. I got ribbed a little by everyone in the cab. I got asked a third time before this man was let out. He paid exorbitantly for the whole ride, but settled for no personal information from me. The two remaining people in my cab had the remainder of their ride paid for, and I got a very generous tip. The woman pressed more, saying that they were very personable people. I declined to share. “But I’m a nurse and he’s a cop, you can share with us.”
I’m thinking in my head, “Well if he’s a cop, you both should understand that I don’t want to share my information with strangers.” Instead, she continued with the argument that her and her S.O. were good people, therefore I am obligated to share my history with them, not hearing that to me they’re strangers and how the hell am I supposed to know they’re telling the truth, much less why the fuck did she think she was entitled to know anything about me in the first place? This tug of war had become a challenge for her and it pissed me off. It was no longer her issue of curiosity, she wanted to beat me.
I finally said, “Look. I am from L.A. and that is why I have a hard line about not sharing my personal information.” It doesn’t make sense now, but I was under the pressure of my cooker. I was about to blow, so sharing was better than punching people in the face. At the end of the ride, she patronizingly rubbed my shoulder, like she had done me a favor, and this was my medicine. She was the nurse rubbing the sting out of a child’s flu shot. She left the car before I could mutate into the Hulk and smash things, which is probably for the best. (P.S. DON’T TOUCH THE DRIVER)
I was seeing red for the next 15 minutes, and was stuck in my head for the remainder of the evening, until something even worse happened.
I had a pick up at a local bar. Two people going to the same neighborhood as the NurseAndCop. Two people came up to my cab and gave me a different name than was on my call, so I told them I wasn’t there for them. I waited around, we called, we got voice mail. In the meantime, the dude from the couple that came to my door at first started getting in a yelling macho-match with someone getting into a different cab. A third cab pulled up and took a third party away. In all of this, I’m thinking that my passengers might have double ordered, left in a previous cab, and I certainly didn’t want that macho dude in my cab.
Turns out, I overhear them asking one of the cabs if they were going to the destination on my call. Fuck. I roll my eyes, wave them over, and they get in. Before I move, I tell MachoMan that I don’t want to hear about what the fight was, I don’t want to know what the fight was, I don’t want any hostility in my car. He huffs and shuts the fuck up. Two minutes into the ride, the two in the back are discussing with heated undertones what the fight was about. I block it out, I’m in a thought spiral about how I should have handled NurseAndCop. What I could have said to get under her skin, how I should have better handled the whole situation.
Several blocks from the destination I get shaken out of my head by MachoMan saying, “Why are you being such a GIRL?!” He had imposed his space over the girl in the back, her body language was shrugging away from him, making me go on high alert.
“HEY! None of that!” He huffs some more, says it was a joke, but doesn’t give the girl much space. I let him know that kind of talk wasn’t funny and he needed to shut up.
A couple blocks later he asks if I’ll take him to the Motel 6 on East Washington. I’ve already been given a call for after my drop, so I tell him he can call us and make an order. He turns to the girl, “give me your phone so I can call.” No please, in a very bossy tone.
Now I’m really paying attention. I say something like, “oh, you’re really that helpless?” to him and he realizes he’s outnumbered, but he’s pissed about something more than the conversation.
The girl looks at me and says, “Can you please just take him to a gas station or something?” That’s when I realize he wasn’t trying to go to a motel to get sympathy from his girlfriend, he was staying at a hotel in the first place and these two weren’t together AT ALL. Shit. I felt bad for pulling up to her house in the first place, showing him where she lived. “Yes, I will take him away from your house.” She pays with a card and is too flustered to do more than sign her name and leave. Dude is with it enough that he stays in the car.
As I pull away he tells me he’ll tip me big if I take him to the hotel. If only I had a nickel for every time someone said THAT. I take him to a gas station (for free because it’s on my way to my next pick up) and he gets out, slams the door, and gives me the bird as he walks in. Good riddance.
My next ride gets in, asks for a price estimate in a VERY drunk voice, I give him one, and he says he’s not going anymore as he hands me a $2 consolation prize.
My dispatcher sees that I haven’t loaded and gives me a call at the home where I dropped off the girl who narrowly avoided MachoMan. The call’s name says “Martin,” which isn’t the man’s name from the first ride. I’m very confused and trepidatious. Did that asshole walk to her house? Did our phone answerer take an order from him and confuse the call history where I’m supposed to pick him up from the PDQ but instead we made a mistake and entered her home address? I want to be DONE with this night.
I pull up and wait. The girl comes out, her father was the one who ordered the cab for her. She was going to a friends house to hang out for a while and de-stress. She works third shift and her parents don’t, she didn’t want to keep them up. We gab about how awful that dude was in her first ride and she thanked me profusely for taking him away from her house. At least there was a happy ending. I was so thankful I didn’t have to deal with MachoMan again.
People are ridiculous.