Assorted stories

I haven’t written in a long time.  Here is a list of stories that I’ve been tucking away, some are longish, and some are very short.

Get Up
I got shipped south of town to service a ride that stayed out of town.  I hate when this happens at bartime, very rarely is it worth it.  When I arrived at the bar to pick my single passenger up, the bartender came out with a sheepish look on his face to tell me he was getting him.  “Please, call the bar if you have ANY trouble.”  This sounded like it was going to be fun.

The bartender poured the guy into my back seat after I refused to let him into my front seat.  The passenger had a whole lot of trouble working the sliding door of the minivan and then the seat belt, due to extreme intoxication.  As soon as I got out of the parking lot he started in with how great it was that I was a girl.  He mentioned how he had a little bit of a gambling problem and how wasted he was.  He followed that up immediately with the question, “look at me!  Would you ever think of dating a guy like me?!”

“No, I wouldn’t like the commute,” I dodge with humor.  He doesn’t absorb it and asks several more times.  He also asks several times if I’d like to come inside and meet his dog.  Nope.  The ride is long and painful for me, but luckily it’s relatively short.  I get him home, he tips me $5 on a credit card, then says, “Lemme look atcha!”

“What?!  I just tipped you $10, lemme get a look atcha!”
“No.  You tipped me $5, get the fuck out.”

He harrumphs and can’t figure out the door because he’s so trashed.  I get out of the cab in the 10 degree weather and go open his door for him, wait for him to get out, see he’s dropped his hat and wallet, hand them to him, and then close his door and quickly get myself into the cab.

I do a little paperwork before I pull away.  I usually do this to pass the time it takes for a normal person to walk themselves to their door, fumble with their keys, and get inside.  I like to make sure people don’t pass out in the freezing weather and die.  He did not make it more than 5 feet from the cab.  He was laying down on his frozen lawn (this was before our most recent snow storm and after the last one had thawed).

Rolling down the passenger side window, I yell, “GET UP.”  He mumbles a little bit, and I repeat, “GET UP.”  He tells me no.  “GET. UP. You will die out here.”  I hope I wake the neighbors.  I REALLY don’t want to get out of the cab and have this greaseball pawing at me while I help him to his door.  I keep yelling, “GET UP!” over and over, and it starts to feel wonderful.  I am getting out the frustration of the drive here.  I get to yell at this shithead while simultaneously saving his life.  How awesome is that?  Eventually he makes it inside after walking like a drunken sailor (literally 20 feet back-and-forths) on his way to the door.

I called the bar while driving away to let the bartender know his friend made it inside, but that I wasn’t sure if the wallet was lost on the lawn or not.  Obviously there was no answer so I left a long voicemail that relayed this, along with details about how much I got hit on.

I pulled up next to a downtown bar to see my passenger smoking out front.  She’s drunk, but semi-functional.  She comes up to the open passenger window and lets me ask if she’s who I’m here for, then she puts her cigarette out on my door.  I immediately relock my doors.

“You can’t get in here.”
“What?”  She looks at me confused.
“You just put your cigarette out on my CAR.”
“Yea… so?”  She looked genuinely confused.
“You don’t get to come into my cab now.”  I pull away as she starts to get angry.

My reasoning:  If you’re going to be so oblivious to how shitty you’re being to the outside of my vehicle, what will you do to the inside?  In 13 years of driving cab I have never had this happen to me before.  In my whole life I have never seen someone put a cigarette out on the body of a car (I think I can vaguely remember someone at some point maybe using a tire, though).  That woman just blew my mind.

What street?
“Would you like me to take East Washington or Williamson to get to your house?”
“Yes, please take East Williamson.”
This made me laugh SO. HARD.  It had been a rough night and the absurdity broke me.

Walk Puke
Yup.  New Years Eve.  This trooper was a tiny college girl coming out of a dance club near where I was parked.  She bent a little over, uncovered her mouth and puked a bit onto a snowbank, then took a few steps and puked some more, covering and uncovering her mouth between bursts.  The crowd around her looked on in horror and backed away.  Her friend came near her, so Pukey reached out to try and touch her (obviously with the hand that had been on her mouth), and her friend backed up a few steps.  Pukey looked wounded by this.  Her friend handed her a tissue and pointed toward me, a cab to go home.  She shook her head, straightened her clothing, latched on to another friend (who I think had been clueless to this whole thing) and shouted how she was ready for more with a huge smile lighting up her face.

Moral Dilemma
I took a girl home from a downtown bar.  She was well behaved, quiet, I thought she was in her own little world until I pulled into the complex I was dropping her off at.  She seemed a little unsure of which building it was, but pointed me to a car.  She was too drunk to total and sign the credit card slip when she paid.

When she got out of the cab she headed to her car.  My stomach sank.  “Uuuggghhh… please don’t drive, please don’t drive..” I said out loud to myself.  I sit and do a minute or two of paperwork and her car doesn’t move.  I worry a little, but tell myself that I can’t make her decisions for her.

I get another call from downtown going west, then a second call from downtown going randomly to the same complex that I dropped the first girl off at.  As I pull up, I notice her car’s headlights.  The car hasn’t moved but it’s running, and it’s been over an hour since I dropped her off.  As we pull past, I notice she’s slumped forward with her chin in her chest, passed out.  I tell the girls about it, and we’re all kind of wondering what to do.  After they pay, they kind of leave the ball in my court and go home.

If I call the police non-emergency number and a cop comes, she might get an OWI (operating while intoxicated), which will fuck her shit up for a long time and cost her tons of money.  If the cop is nice, which they tend to be to young white girls, he’ll show up and make sure she’s breathing okay, talk to her for a bit, and then convince her to call a cab home and leave the car where it is after scaring the shit out of her.

I don’t want her to freeze to death and I don’t want her to drive home.  I call the police non-emergency number and hope for the best.  The dispatcher says I’m fine to leave the scene after I give him all the information I have and when I’m a couple blocks away, a police car comes squelching around a turn with their lights on and siren going.

“Aren’t YOU a sexy lady?!”
A group of 6 college bros get into my minivan.  We move 1 foot and I hear, “well aren’t YOU a sexy lady?!” from the far back.  This is literally the first thing that is said beyond verifying the destination.  I stop the car and turn calmly around.  “Do you really want to start this ride with sexual harassment?” I ask very, very gently.

Bro in the middle seat chimes in, “no, that’s how you END the ride, doofus.”  The four others quickly and loudly tell them to shut the fuck up and don’t they want a ride to the bar?!  The bro in the front seat apologizes for his friends.  I’m glad he’s in the front seat.

Not the usual driver
“You’re not my usual driver!  I usually have an old man!” Says a passenger.  I don’t respond at all, so he repeats himself.  I don’t respond at all a second time, so he says, “You’re a pretty girl!”
I reply, “I do not want to discuss my looks or gender,” in a near-robotic voice.

I recently subscribed to Pandora because the music on my shuffle was getting a little stale.  I don’t like radio stations because of all the commercials and also because the variety is a bit lame.  I’ve programmed a station with some rap from when I was growing up.  I tend to like the old stuff that has sexual, political, feminist, or goofy content (not gangster rap about killing people or drugs because that shit seems brainless to me).  Think TLC, Salt ‘n Pepa, Digital Underground, Sir Mix A Lot, stuff like that.

Busta Rhymes “What’s It Gonna Be?” came on while I had a DJ in my cab, who I picked up after his shift at the end of a Saturday night.  This song is a little explicit.  I wasn’t familiar with the song and hadn’t realized until my passenger pointed it out that Janet Jackson was the featured artist in the duet.  Lets rewind just a little.  My passenger was pretty intoxicated.  He had asked me the same question several times (how much the ride was going to cost), because he had forgotten he already asked the question.

He heard this song and melted a little in the back seat.  He waxed nostalgic intermittently while singing along with the song, even singing Janet’s part, in his gruff and airy voice-  this pretty explicit song.  But the whole time I was completely comfortable because he was singing it for himself.  He wasn’t hitting on me, didn’t ask me any personal questions, wasn’t trying to get me to listen to the lyrics pointedly, didn’t touch my arm for attention…  He was lost in his world, probably 15-20 years ago, remembering, and singing.  It was endearing and wonderful to witness, and now this song is one of my own favorites, even though it’s super silly because Busta tries to be macho and serious about licking a woman’s body.

It made me really happy to see a man get so lost in sweet emotions without having to involve me in them.  It gave me a little ray of sunshine between the darkness of all the other bullshit I have to deal with.

A Man and His Rabbits
One of my favorite regular passengers is in his late 60s, I think, and goes to loads of rock shows, several times a week.  We bring him both directions, and he’s always pleasant.  A few times he’s told me about all the rabbits in his yard and how they drive him nuts.  He’ll plant yellow tulips and then red ones will grow in different places than he planted the yellow ones, and his neighbor will have yellow ones smack dab in the middle of HIS yard.  He blames the rabbits.

As I pull onto his block the other night, I spot a bedraggled fox.  I stop the car and say, “LOOK!  A fox!”  My passenger looks up and spots him.  “OH!!  Are you sure?!  Oh!  Follow it!”

I turn the meter off and we follow this fox as it trots down the sidewalk, fearless, unbothered.  “Are you sure that’s not a coyote?”  I turn my high beams on and we agree it’s a red fox.  It rolls around in a snow bank in front of us a couple times, crosses the street, and goes another couple blocks.  We creep along, following it with some joy until it wanders behind someone’s house.

“Well I hope he eats all my rabbits!”


About yellowandblackmail

I pick people up and take them where they want to go.
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