Monday, December 2, 2013

Instant Taxi, Part II: the overly-ambitious rookie

I recently posted a diary about how I am sometimes able to appear instantly. This happened again last Monday night. I only had six fares (and a cancellation) over the 12 hour shift. Much time was spent waiting between my 'appointments'. One good fare is worth 10 small fares, so at least I didn't lose money.

Usually taxi driving is a solitary occupation, but on this particular night I was sent to offer advice to an overly-ambitious rookie.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The passenger who was fired for using birth control

Yesterday I was going through a box, and found an envelope with some cash. These bills were received in payment from a few of my passengers. I like to keep some cash at home, and prefer crisp bills for my personal bank.

There was a $2 bill, some sequentially-numbered $1's received from the guys who were going home from a strip club. And a pair of sequentially-numbered $5's, wrapped in a piece of paper. The note had an address on the road that surrounds a local mall. Hmm?

Then I remembered her: the passenger who was fired from her new job at Fry's Food because she was using Birth Control. But they didn't know the woman's back-story, and I didn't figure it out until the end of the ride.

Monday, October 21, 2013

checking in...

Usually I like to develop my diaries a bit. But since is on time-out right now I'll keep it short.

After my shift today I was working on my notes when the night driver showed up. He said he was very busy last night, and barely made it to 6am. He had to refuse a passenger because the passenger couldn't tell him where to go, couldn't produce an ID with his address, etc. "just get out."

Then he told me about the big fellow at state fair who wanted a ride to 27th Ave & Camelback. The other taxi drivers refused him. My recruit said, "that's a $15 fare, I'll take you for $10." Upfront. Guy gets in the cab, and they drive off...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Clockwork universe: instant taxi

Every so often I get a fare where I can show up very quickly. One night I pulled into a Circle K to work on my notes. It was well after 2am, so I was not expecting any fares until people started to wake up at 4am. After a few minutes the computer buzzed with a fare offer: 19yds. I accepted, and noted that I was to go to the Circle K I was already parked at. I pulled over to the door, the passenger got in, and we drove off.

Two weekends ago I was driving north on Scottsdale Rd when I was offered a fare. It said it was "900 yds", but this was based on my position 30 seconds or a minute before. I accepted, waited a few seconds, then looked down and noted that I was to go to the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. I looked up, checked the two lanes to my left to verify they were clear, then snapped left and proceeded to the lobby.

A woman saw me and ran over. The bellman was right behind her, as it was his job to open the taxi's door. The bellman said "I hadn't even finished logging the call..." Usually our scheduling center says 15 minutes, and these people were impressed at my arrival within seconds of their hanging up the phone.

Poll: Have you ever been intentionally misled by Skynet?

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Providential Clockwork Universe: Choice Quotes

Sometimes I am sent to passengers, and sometimes they are sent to me. I have learned any number of things from the people who have stepped into my cab. Sometimes they drop one-liners that are insightful, profound, or just make me wonder: "... Really?"

The other afternoon I pulled up to a Tilted Kilt, which is a restaurant / sports bar with a female wait staff in skimpy uniforms. The woman who was to be my passenger had a slight smell of alcohol about her - maybe she was an employee, maybe she was a patron. Not all passengers talk back, but she asked questions, and I answered as appropriate.

When we got to her apartment she paid her fare, and dropped a gem: "Now I've got to go deal with the boyfriend, who's a Drunkasaurus-Rex. He's kind of an asshole." I would've compared notes about how to deal with alcoholics, but we were at her destination. I bid her adieu and went back to work.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Making connections, one passenger at a time

Drivers who have one of the company's wheelchair vans usually have a list of people who they are to pick up at appointed times. I also have an itinerary, but this I discover one passenger at a time.

The universe has an impeccable sense of timing, and an uncanny ability at arranging for my connections. Sometimes paying passengers appear to take me between my various 'appointments'. Othertimes I get a feeling that I am to go somewhere specific from where my cab is currently sitting. Sometimes non-paying passengers appear to take me in the direction I need to go, or to insert a 'delay' in my schedule, as needed.

Recently I was assigned the fare of a rather old man who was going to Denny's. This he said was his usual Saturday routine, except that day was a Sunday.

His neighborhood was relatively new. I'd gotten to the end of the street and still hadn't found his house number. A jogger coming off the trail said there was an elderly fellow just out of view. I drove over the sidewalk and down the trail. The passenger's property was secluded and seemed very old, and did not-at-all blend with his neighbors' houses. The satellite imagery shows an antique homestead surrounded by a modern development:
the square is about where I found my passenger with his walker

Thursday, August 22, 2013

not just a tobacco shop

A few months back a passenger & her daughter had me go to a "tobacco shop". I recently moved closer that shop, and my roommate smokes, so we dropped in to check it out.

Their selection of tobacco was quite limited. Their selection of glass, powdered vitamins and porn was extensive. The guy didn't want to tell me what "niacinamide" or "inositol" was for, but eventually my roommate learned that these are used to cut cocaine. "oh."


Friday, August 16, 2013

harvesting life's gardens

Yesterday I went to the local Hallmark store to browse cards. Before visiting Mr. Crawford last November, I sent a rainbow & glitter card to give a heads-up that I'd probably swing by the following week. (Someone here pointed out that card's irony, which I hadn't considered.)

This time none of the cards seemed appropriate. I laughed at "congratulations on your new home", but that probably would NOT have been well-received, so I went back to the in-store post office to buy a stamped envelope for a regular letter.

It was there that I found the rack with gardens-in-a-card. There was a card with flower seeds that had a nice design, but then I noticed a card with edible plants. I thought it would be better to supplement our friend's prison diet - sometimes flowers can be hard to grow.

Monday, August 12, 2013

An anthem for taxi-driving

A few months ago I had a passenger ask for tunes, so I turned the radio on. This anthem for taxi-cab driving came on. At the time this song was playing regularly - it took a few repetitions before I caught the key lyrics ("hop in to a cab, take me anywhere"). Mostly I listen to KBAQ now. I used to say "no one ever complains about classical music", but as real-Jesus taught, "Ask, and it shall be given you." That passenger was the sort of person who could complain about anything.

In other news, the new British heir-to-the-throne's non-royal grandparents apparently weren't worthy of crown-coordinated transportation: Carole & Michael Middleton's Cab Driver from Hospital Says Experience Was "Really Exciting". I wonder what it takes to declare one's family to be royalty.

I haven't been posting much, but I do read all the diaries. Thank you for letting me know that our friend Michael Crawford is apparently back in jail. I am working on a letter - these were much-appreciated last time.

Friday, April 26, 2013

origin of the 'tcj' moniker

When I started my taxi driving odyssey about a year ago, I had no idea what I was getting into.

One of my early passengers was a very-pregnant hispanic woman who was going to the hospital to have labor induced. Her blood pressure was through the roof and getting higher, and the doctor was like "we've got to get this baby out of you before it kills you!"

I asked what she'd been eating for the last few months: "saltine crackers". Really? Didn't your doctor tell you that you need more than saltine crackers for a health pregnancy?

But because of the nausea the crackers were all she could keep down. Doctors are good at making work for themselves.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Selective Electromagnetic Interference

Last Saturday opened with a decent pair of back-to-back vouchers. The second was a fingerprint-fare taking two sisters to a program for at-risk kids to do "normal kid" activities.

The company requires passengers less than 12 years of age to be accompanied by an adult. Alternatively, they are allowed to be picked up by a driver who has passed a background-check and obtained a fingerprint clearance. These girls were 11 and 5 years old, and I was able to get their fare because I put my prints on a card months ago.

The rest of Saturday was mostly unremarkable. Late in the day I found myself in old-town Scottsdale, and rather than work the short trips to the drinking establishments, I thought it better to start for home. A minute latter the quiet voice of guidance 'suggested' that I try to catch a kid's fare going home from the center, as one good fare is worth 3 or 4 small ones.

Inside: a message from our lost sheep.