Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 12: Working Girl

Not much to report from yesterday. I'd bet the entire day's take that my first passenger was a working girl.

Made three trips to the airport yesterday, so that was cool. The last one was a total setup.

I accepted the first call that was offered. Nice motel chain, clean place, Paul, Room 2xx. I called the number, and it was the hotel line. "Room 2xx please". Paul picks up, and I say that I'm waiting at the lobby.

A few minutes later a young woman (certainly Mexican) comes to the car and gets in. I was expecting a dude, but she mentions Paul, so I'm like okay whatever.

$6 fare. I didn't know what kind of small talk would've been appropriate, so I didn't say much. My impression was that she didn't enjoy herself much.

Usually women who enter that profession do so because they need the money - not always, but usually. I sent some non-verbal compassion and understanding her way. Indeed, some of Jesus of Nazareth's ("who became the Christ") best friends were working girls.

If anyone here understands the attraction of fake eyelashes for women, please enlighten me. Thanks.

The Airport Runs

First trip to the airport was a pair of college girls going to Cabo for Spring Break. They wanted to split the fare between their two credit cards. The second card was denied - they had cash, so that was okay.

Second airport trip was my new friend.

The third airport run was set up by the two calls before. First call was a woman with an infant, going to pick up her two kids at school. We were a little early, so we just waited near the school. She told me about how her older son is starting to have problems. Most the school kids are mexican, she's white, her kids are part-black, and she wondered how much that had to do with the problems he's having.

She took the baby with her to find her kids, and I watched hordes of kids get escorted across the street by the crossing guard. My passenger returned after a while with her two boys. If she hadn't told me about their heritage I never would've guessed.

Next we went to the shopping plaza a mile or so away. She asks her boys if they're hungry, and gives them a choice of McDonalds or... They wanted McDonalds, so she directed me to drop them off at WalMart.

WalMart has reasonably-priced Haagen-Daaz ice cream, which I consider a health food, so I parked the car to take a break. As I was walking in, i got a call from passenger Beth. Did she leave a pair of keys in the back seat? I walked back to the car, found the keys, and returned them to my passenger in line at the WalMart McDonald's. I gave her a card with John Gatto's website, and suggested searching for his essay titled "The Seven Lesson Schoolteacher".

Got some Pineapple/Coconut Haagen-daaz. I was certain that there was a spoon in my bag, but it was not present, and had to go back inside.

My next call was an AHCCCS patient. She was waiting at the corner Circle-K, which I thought was a little unusual. The rule is that we can only pick them up and take them to the address in the computer - if we're given a wrong address (925 W. McDowell instead of 925 E. McDowell, for example), they have to get their provider (AHCCCS plan) to fix it.

The Setup

After a while she expressed surprise at how far away this urgent care center was. I'm sure there were closer Urgent Care centers, but this was the one I was told me to take her to. She wasn't chatty, so I didn't say much, or even offer that Diet Dr. Pepper probably contributed to the red spots on her face.

I first noticed the low fuel light as I left the Circle K. I'd thought to get gas first thing in the morning, but didn't. I should have gotten gas at that circle K, because it was quite low then, but I didn't fill up there either.

The 18-20 miles ticked off, and as the fuel needle dropped further I became more concerned. I have intentionally run out of gas in my personal cars, so I know how the needle behaves when it gets low, but I didn't even know how much is supposed to be left in the Crown Victoria when the fuel light turns on.

We made it to the Urgent Care center. I asked the GPS to tell me about the nearest fuel, and decided on the cluster of stations a mile away. After filling up, I surveyed the available fares.

There were a pair in the outlying zones - 33 and 34. I was a ways away, but no other taxis were closer. I tested 33, and was told "don't bother". I tested 34, and they said to take it.

Called the passenger, "hey I just got your call, and I'm on my way, but it'll be a while."  She'd requested a 2:40 pickup, and it was already 2:38. "Where are you going?" To the airport. jackpot  :)

It'd be tight, getting to her (14 miles, in traffic), then the 30+ miles to the airport, in time for her to make her flight. I called dispatch, to see if there was anyone closer, because my first concern was her getting to her flight on time. The dispatcher said that I was her best chance.

I ran two yellows. After 25+ minutes she called, "how far away are you?", and was pleased to hear ".7 miles".

This one wasn't a regular (airline) passenger. She was a flight scheduler (iirc) for Frontier Airlines, which involves a lot of meteorology - "if bad weather load more fuel". The job perk she likes best is being able to fly anywhere, on any airline, for free.

Regular flight attendants can't ride in the cockpit when they're flying free. Flight schedulers qualify as "flight crew", which allows her to ride in the cockpit's extra seats. Most planes have 4 cockpit seats - she commented on Southwest (the airline whose flight she was trying to catch) having a bunch of old 737s, and the gender-discomfort with old  male southwest pilots who tend to comment on Frontier Airlines' current precarious financial situation.  And that having an airline ID is golden for getting through security.

She adheres to a vegan diet, so I told her about the best vegan source of protein. Her sister has a clot in her leg, so I told her what I know about women who have clotting problems.  She left a nice tip.

Last passenger was a good AHCCCS fare, taking a pain patient home. He'd slipped and hurt his back. The injections help the pain a little, for a while, but he was basically just hoping it'd get better on its own.

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