People surprise me all the time. This past weekend was mild but I was PMSing, so I was a little more irritable than normal… which doesn’t mean that the things irritating me weren’t a big deal, it just means I was more open to reacting to them. You know that emoticon with the straight-mouth? I feel like I was making that face constantly all weekend.
“Would you like a hard one?”
Lets start with the title story. I had six large gentlemen squeezed into the seats of my minivan. They were behaved for the most part and seemed maybe middle class, mid- to late-forties. They wanted to drive through Taco Bell on their way home. The wait was a little long because it was Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day, bartime, and Taco Bell hadn’t staffed appropriately for it.
On the ride to Taco Bell, one of the guys in the way-back kept calling me Lori and Mary, interchangeably. While in the drive-thru, waiting to order, he switched it to Megan or something. Finally I turned around and said sweetly, “You know, you could just ask, ‘Miss, what is your name?'” An impatient friend of his who was sitting in the chair behind me snicker-snorted at that. He was tired of this guy’s drunkenness, too, apparently.
Upon learning my name, he never really used it again… other than after rattling off their order of 12 hard tacos and 12 soft tacos, asking me, “Would you like a hard one, Becky?” I could hear his eyebrows waggling at me in his tone of voice. I turned around again, and again in a sweet voice, “Please don’t use innuendos.”
“OH I’LL USE SOME INNUENDOS.”
“I will let you walk home from here.”
“Oh, come on! I was just offering you a taco!” (this is where I straight-mouth emoticoned my face)
His friends settled him down and kept him distracted the rest of the ride and I ended up getting a pretty good tip from the patient, well-behaved man in the front seat.
Sometimes, people can be very polite when asking for crude things. I picked up a man out of a strip club. A little bashfully, he asked me if I could take him to a place where he could get something a little more. I let him know that the only place like that was clear on the other side of town, a $35 taxi ride, plus the $150 fee of their own, then it’d be another $35 back to his hotel. At no point did he mention how he doesn’t usually have a lady taxi driver (which men lead with when they are embarrassed by something in the cab), he never hit on me, and he took my knowledge at face value without questioning my expertise or using it as an “in” to crack jokes about if I like women.
As a little kindness, I offered, “It’s probably better just to watch some Tumblr porn in your hotel room at this point. You’ll save $200 and probably have more fun.” He conceded that I was probably right and chuckled. We moved on to different topics- the lakes in Madison and the weather.
You can be a sexual deviant without being a douche. This guy was a real gentleman.
Our Phone Staff
I had a very drunk and happy Finnish graduate student in my cab who said one of our phone answerers recognized that he was Finnish. He said he was drunk enough that he forgot to be impressed at the time. The phone answerer told him, “You are beautiful” in Finnish. He got a little irritable, but instead of saying, “Thank you,” he replied with, “I forget that sometimes,” in Finnish. He explained to me that after he got off the phone he was really happy with the whole exchange because it dawned on him he wasn’t in Finland. Personally, I had no idea anyone in our office knew any Finnish. We have some awesome staff!
I picked up a young mother at a hotel with her five children. One was maybe 12, the rest were 6 or younger, one was a baby in a car seat. They were going back to their apartment, apparently. The children piled in quietly. As soon as mom got into the front seat, one small kid from the way-back said one word and the mom immediately started yelling. “I don’t want to fucking hear another goddamn word out of any one of you. Y’all need to stop bothering me and each other and behave…” She went on for probably 10 blocks. It was so harsh that I didn’t know what to do exactly, my mouth was frozen closed. If this woman was yelling at another adult I would have pulled over and asked them to get out, but I couldn’t kick out 5 children.
Eventually she calmed down, said something civil back and forth with the 12 year old, and then started twisting some of her hair in a sweet gesture. She looked at me and said with a saccharine voice, almost flirting, “I’m not usually like this.”
“Please don’t sweet talk me after talkin’ like that.” I was having a hard time remaining calm. I had a little flash back to when I was too young to know why my dad was yelling at me so harshly, just scared. I was angry. I wanted it to stop and I couldn’t do anything.
When I dropped them all off, one of the small kids in the back walked up the length of the minivan to my chair and hugged me quietly, with a cheerful smile. Mom came around and paid me through the driver’s window, explaining to me all the kids were her siblings except the baby. She was 21 and hated being in charge of other people’s kids. The hugger waved at me as I pulled away. It was almost like looking into a time machine mirror. I hope she holds onto that happiness and love.
Three early-twenties bar-goers from downtown to the West side chat with each other about their night, one of them talking purposefully nonsensically. The guy in the front seat is a little impatient with it. Eventually they mention how early they have to get up in the morning for something sports-related. I offer that they should drink some water before bed, but one says they’re machines and young and invincible and “all the ladies will come flocking tomorrow!”
“OH YEA! We got donkey dongs!” I laugh a little at this outburst.
“All three of you?! That’s a little hard to believe,” I say.
“Well… maybe two of us,” says the guy in the front seat pointedly.
Nonsense Boy pipes up proudly, “NOT ME! Mine is leprechaun sized!”
“What’s your favorite thing about this job?”
“What do you hate most about this job?”
“The daily sexual harassment.”
Five minutes later: “you have a cute butt.” I couldn’t help but laugh with him there.
Spoiler: was sitting down the whole time.
He was so drunk I couldn’t tell if the long pause was him coming up with this joke or if he had forgotten what he had asked… and he hadn’t hammed it up like someone might a very corny joke.
Seven Indians get into a cab
At one point on Sunday night I was the only cab on the road that had seven passenger seats, and there was a party of seven that was staying at a hotel on the far West side cabbing it to several places to do some shopping all afternoon. This meant that I was shipped back and forth between them and calls downtown, using a lot of my time as empty traveling instead of constantly having calls downtown. This party didn’t tip, either, because they were probably unfamiliar with the practice, so I got a little irritable about it.
For the last ride, getting back to the hotel, there was some quiet chatter in an Indian language (I’m not even going to make an ignorant guess to which one). Abruptly, one of the women said loudly in English to her male neighbor, “NO! That is NOT one of the Madison lakes!” We had just passed a small man-made pond near the hotel. After being silent for all their rides except for the payment transactions, I cracked up loudly and everyone else giggled. It made me feel way less irritable.
I had a couple other stories lined up to write, but honestly I don’t feel like it. They were shitty-ass rides. One guy too drunk and handsy, the other trying to con me to use a credit card that he had memorized the number for, but didn’t have the physical card (he even tried to develop a “connection” with me so I’d be more sympathetic to what he was doing, asking if we knew each other and how familiar I looked). Both rides made me super cranky and there was nothing redeeming about them, so I’m just going to end this entry, go to the gym, then make a delicious breakfast burrito for dinner. Just imagine me making the straight-mouth emoticon for a half an hour and it’ll be the same thing as me writing the stories.