Yeah, sorry, I've been trying to keep track, but I've been working a lot of 12+ hour days and at the end of them, I'm just too exhausted to write shit up, and I'm usually too busy to record things as I go (I did try one day). And I start to forget things as days go on. Which is a shame, because there's been some good ones. Like a family of little people. And some guy who got out of detox and was rambling about all kinds of bullshit and making me go to his grandma's so he could get money before dropping him off at a strip club. And the guy who claimed humans have nothing to do with global warming and said we oughta just drop a bomb and wipe out the entire Middle East. And the guy who the bartender called a cab for that claims he was fucking the owner of the bar but she was a drunk and couldn't be trusted and was basically talking to himself because I didn't even reply to him and was saying he was going to propose to her and kept singing lyrics from Geto Boys - "Mind Playing Tricks On Me." And the woman I had to scream at ("If you don't shut up, you can get out of my cab right now and walk the rest of the way. I don't have to take this.") because she was crazy and fucked up and screaming at her boyfriend/husband/whatever and her kids and telling me wrong directions than screaming at me when I followed them (did I mention she stopped by the liquor store while her kids waited in the car, then freaked out when the guy went in to grab her when she was taking too long?).
Such a good thread.
Pere Ubu @ Silm's 12/17/13
Holograms @ Bottom of the Hill 12/18/14
Wooden Shjips @ The Chapel 01/23/14
!!! @ The Chapel 01/25/14
Frankie Rose @ Rickshaw Stop 02/04/14
Xiu Xiu @ Bottom of the Hill 02/22/14
Courtney Barnett @ Rickshaw Stop 02/24/14
Kraftwerk @ Fox Theater 03/23/13
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds @ The Warfield 07/07/14
St. Patrick's Day highlight reel:
-Had two SCAT passengers who were entitled as all hell. One guy recognized me from before and was kind of making fun of me because I wasn't eating fast food this time or some shit. The other guy wanted to stop at a gas station out of the way, even though I only got paid $6.25 to take him all the way across town.
-Picked someone up at the bars in the valley, which are notorious for frat style idiocy. One of them had a bouncy house and I watched as some drunk broad fell into the side of it and knock it completely over at 5pm.
-A drunk couple may or may not have been fooling around in the back seat. There was a lot of leg movement going on behind my seat.
-I picked up this woman who is a personal nurse or something to that effect to some guy who had been exposed to chemical warfare. She was telling me all this appalling stuff about him and how he had to sign some kind of nondisclosure agreement about how he would never go public about it. I feel weird even typing this here. It's like something out of fiction. I guess the guy is in his late 30s and just cries non stop. It was pretty heartbreaking hearing about it.
-I got a group of four drunk bitches who kept trying to pry into my life and stuff. They asked what my bracelet I wear means (a stupid rainbow thing I found around my previous apartment have worn as some kind of vague gay pride thing) and I told them I was a homo. They kept asking if I give it or take it and not believing I was actually gay. I'm making them sound pretty obnoxious, and they were, but they were kind of fun too. Or at least they weren't being really jerky or anything. One of them said I was pretty hot.
-Some other drunk chick was clearly trying to pick up on me. She kept saying how glad she was she got a nice cab driver and how cool I was. She kissed my hand when she got out of the cab and gave me a $25 tip.
-I picked up some guy at a gay bar and the first thing he said when he got in my cab was "Oh thank god he's white!"
-We have this thing on major drinking holidays where some service pays for people's cab rides home from the bar if they call a certain number and we just write it up as a charge. I decided to try and shark someone from downtown after all the bars had closed because I kept getting stuck on the fringes of town and getting lost calls and shit, so I picked up these two kids, a guy and his girl, going to the suburbs. They don't tell me that they were using this service until I had already gotten there, which isn't cool because it has to come from dispatch to OK the charge. Supposedly, they had missed their cab earlier in the night, which meant that the charge was void and they'd have to pay cash. They claim they had waited outside for two hours and every cab said they weren't the people they had come for. I told them I'd cut them a deal for it being a fucked up situation and instead of charging them $23, which is what it ran, I'd charge them $10. And somehow, even with me being generous, they fucking beat out. I told dispatch about it when I turned in my paperwork for the night and they said just to write up the charge anyway so I didn't lose that money. Still, what fucking cunts.
Twenty five bucks and a kiss on the hand goodbye, you fucking ladies man.
Can this keep happening, please?
Bound to be. I'm excited.
This turned out way tl;dr but whatever.
So I tried working for another taxi company . . .
Getting my chauffeur's license in Chicago is temporarily on hold due to the excessive expense and time required to get it, so I moved back home. The company I was working for before told me I had to wait 3 months to return if things didn't work out, and we need money pretty desperately right now, so I tried working at the second biggest company in the county. This was a mistake.
The second biggest cab company in the area is run pretty much by one guy. He looks to be in his 50s. He's had multiple heart attacks. While I was applying and training, he was in the hospital for his latest one. Apparently he needs a heart transplant he can't afford. He basically runs the entire company himself with the help of a kid my age who is somewhat of a hood rat type. They have about four cabs and usually have two or three drivers on at a time. I don't know what you know about cab companies, but that's pretty unrealistic if it gets busy. I'm not sure how they manage. One trip can take anywhere from 20 min to an hour. If 3 people call in on different sides of town, you're pretty much fucked. The company I worked for probably typically had 10-15 cabs on the road at least and couldn't handle all the trips.
Apparently everyone who has worked for this company is some kind of deadbeat or incompetent because he keeps firing people. Everyone at the company besides the hood rat kid and maybe one other driver sounds to have been there for less than a month.
Now seems like a noble case of gung ho entrepreneurship in the face of near impossible odds. And to the guy's credit, he seems to be an extremely dedicated, hard worker who believes in honest business practices and making sure his employees are well paid, even at the expense of his own self interest. The only problem is that he's fucking crazy and his business is a totally disorganized mess.
I call in about 2 weeks ago and ask if they need drivers. The dispatcher sounds excited, they do. She takes down my information. A couple hours later, around 8pm, I get a call from the kid who serves as the boss' right hand man. He wants me to come over and fill out an application. I show up and the company is just someone's house with some cabs in the drive way next door to a small salvage garage. Kinda weird. The kid pulls up in a minivan blasting rap and looks like every skinny hood rat white kid I grew up with, but he's pretty nice. We go in the house, which is just couches and tables and clutter and not much else. I fill out the app and we talk and I get a vague sense of what the company is about, but nothing definitive. From what I can tell, it sounds like I'm hired and can start working as soon as they run my info through their insurance company. I have to get my driving abstract and make copies of my ID, SS card and taxi license the next day.
A few days later, I get a call that I've been approved and can begin working after I get back from DEMF. The night after I get back, I go out with the hood rat kid for training to see how things work for a couple of hours. There's almost no business this night, but apparently this is rare. The kid tells me they make really good money, a couple hundred a night isn't rare. This sort of makes sense. I've made around $300 in a night at my previous company on rare occasions. If I was one of only 2 drivers on the road and didn't have to compete for trips, making big money regularly would be a breeze so long as calls come in.
Anyway, the way they do business is a little odd. For one, they don't have a CB radio to dispatch over. They do it entirely by cell phone. This has some advantages. I could chill anywhere and wait for calls instead of being stuck to my cab, plus no one could steal trips from us by intercepting our radio. But it also means there's a lot of bullshit of phone tag, and if there was ever an emergency, there's not an immediate lifeline to call and let people know like there is with a radio and dispatch. And they only have a dispatcher during the day, during the night one of the drivers takes all the calls.
Another odd thing is that they don't have a meter. They just run the trip meter and then refer to a chart to see how much the chart is. This I don't like. People trust a meter and like to see their money go up as we travel. Without a meter, there's too much room for disagreements, especially on waiting time if someone goes into a store. One good thing though was their rates were slightly higher than my previous company and they had a minimum charge of $6 no matter how far you go. Some times those $3 and $4 trips all day can kill ya.
So I get dropped off at 1:30 am and the kid tells me I'm supposed to ride around with the boss the next morning at 7:30 am. That doesn't leave a lot of room for sleep, but whatever.
I wake up 2 hours late and freak out, but it doesn't seem to be a big deal. I get dropped off at the "office" and meet the guy. He's a total fucking weirdo. He's basically built up the company from scratch on his own. His health is failing and he seems to be prone to major injuries fairly often, but he just laughs about it. The guy is pretty loud and crude in general. He curses up a storm all day and says all kinds of shit you probably shouldn't say around a new employee. He yells at a black driver and says "I hate (n)iggers." He drives me all over town but there's practically no calls, part of which it becomes obvious is because the cell phones in the area failed for a few hours. We stop by the house of one of his old friends for a half hour. We run errands. He's in a shitty mood because of the cell phones and is ranting and raving the whole time. He buys me lunch but kind of freaks out when I tell the waitress to come back because he's on the phone. He tells me a story about when he kicked someone out of his cab in the middle of a snowstorm in the middle of nowhere for saying "goddamn" even though he himself says just about every other cuss word on record. He's also really protective of his vans. Which is understandable, he doesn't have a lot of money to spare and these are the foundation of his business. But it sounds like he blames all the drivers for everything that goes wrong with them even though he doesn't really have the money to invest in their upkeep. You can either drive politely or you can drive quickly, but it's pretty difficult to do both.
After wasting the entire day doing not a whole lot of anything, he drops me off at home and schedules me to work 12 hours the next day starting at 7:30am. This whole time, no real schedule has been set up for me. I pretty much only know what's going on day to day, and even then, not really.
So I show up at 7:30 the next day. He sets me up in a cab. Right off, he has a call for me. It's a pretty good trip too, runs about $33. After I drop off, I call in to the dispatcher and let her know I'm vacant, but she doesn't have any other trips. The guy calls me and tells me to come back to the office (from the far west suburb) to pick up a piece of paper for a medical contract run in another one of the suburbs. There's no other trips until then so I just sit around for an hour. They schedule me to pick up a regular at 11:00, after picking up the medical trip at 10:30-10:45, even though they're on the other side of town. This pretty much is how the whole day works.
I spend the whole day running from one far corner of town to another. It goes alright for the first few hours despite running a lot further than makes sense for trips. But whatever, I understand, they're limited on drivers. But then things get really stupid. The van starts making a screeching noise. I call in to ask about it. He starts yelling at me for having the air conditioning on. The dispatcher doesn't know what the fuck she's doing. She keeps sending me all over town, forgetting what trip I'm on. Her and the boss are fighting and throwing me in between it, having me call one another to relay messages and bitching about one another to me on the phone. They call me at the same time, and then yell at me for not picking up the phone right away. I'm pretty sure I won't be coming back the next day, but things settle down and I get a few trips and everything seems to be ok.
I get scheduled to pick up a trip at 5:30 at a hotel in the suburbs. It's a guy going to a concert at this big ampitheater in the rural suburbs of our town. Right before I pick him up, the dispatcher calls me to tell me she has a trip for me to run, forgetting she already scheduled me on this, but she tells me to just take this one and hurry up. Unfortunately, this venue is on a one lane road in the middle of nowhere that gets backed up for miles, so it takes a half hour to go 4 miles. Both of them are calling me frustrated. The boss tells me I should have gone an alternate route I didn't know about and that all rides to the concert from the hotels are a flat rate of $35. The guy doesn't go for it because no one told that to him before getting into the cab, and I don't blame him, so I just charge him the meter rate and he gives me a decent tip.
I get out of the parking lot and call in to say I'm free, and the dispatcher says she has more concert trips, but she wants me to pick up this guy going to the grocery store and back at some address. I hang up and GPS it and it's completely the other side of town, about a 40 minute drive away. I call her back and double check and she tells me to get it. Half way there, the boss calls me to ask where I'm at and I tell him the situation and he screams at me and tells me to turn around and go back to the hotels for more concert trips, and to always call and ask him about stuff like that. I go back to the hotels and everyone who was waiting on a cab has already left. The dispatcher tells me to go grab some people wanting to go to the show on the clear other side of town who have been waiting a really long time and are pissed. I run it by the boss and he says yeah, go get it. I get out there, can't find the address, ends up being a hotel, the people are gone and hang up on me when I try to call them. This is about 3 hours of me running from one end of town to the other without a single customer. It's been over 12 hours and I'm fucking done for the day, so I bring the cab in.
I get there and apparently she was supposed to tell me to grab this other trip, but didn't. He calls her and screams at her. When he gets off the phone he calls her a cunt and bitch and says all this shit about "I don't have to take this from any of these bitches. I tell them to suck my dick and get the fuck out of my house." This is pretty much how he talks all the time. I'm sitting around trying to figure out what I need to do to get the fuck out of there, and then he yells at me to start adding my stuff up so we can get out of there. After gas and sales tax, I didn't even make enough to cover my lease in a 13 hour day. Fortunately, he gave me a break and cut down my lease, leaving me with $20 for the day.
I had planned on quitting that night, but he was already so pissed and screaming at everyone, I was too intimidated. Although he never said it, it was assumed I would work the same shift today. Instead I slept. Him and his workers have called me probably 40 times today and left close to 20 voicemail messages. He's also visited my house twice at least, according to my mom, maybe more while she was at work (I sleep in the attic with headphones on, so I have no idea).
The good news is that the awfulness of yesterday motivated me to stop by my previous cab company and see if I could get back in with them sooner and it sounds like it'll be alright. Watch this space for updates.
Damn. What was the concert?
You should have just drove off a bridge.
Ugh, Blossom? I couldn't imagine having to make trips out there in a cab.
Your boss sounds pretty fucking crazy. Hopefully you can get a job back with your old company soon!
I wonder what would have happened if you had just blew both of them off and dedicated your time taking people to that concert. Would the money have shut them up? Perhaps even adding, "that cunt of a bitch and your old heart attacking ass have no goddamn idea what the fuck your doing."
I know you don't want to burn any bridges, but I'd just love to hear what he would say if you used the word goddamn over the phone with him.
2 oz blended whiskey
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp powdered sugar
1/2 slice lemon
Shake blended whiskey, juice of lemon, and powdered sugar with ice and strain into a whiskey sour glass. Decorate with the half-slice of lemon, top with the cherry, and serve.
Not here. Not enough business. In a bigger city, maybe. Not that I'd ever have the money invest in such a thing.
I may start doing this again since I've started working again, but for now I'll leave you with the old black lady who was talking about whipping her grandkids into shape for disrespecting their mother: "I'mma terrorize some niggas!"
I'm going to try to just post highlights from now on as it's not as draining as trying to remember every single trip after a long day.
My first trip of the night, I went half way across town to find my passenger had already left and not bothered to cancel, which, combined with my next trip and my hangover, foretold that it was going to be “one of those nights.”
My second trip was a couple whose car had ran out of gas in the ghetto and needed me to take them to the gas station and back. When they got in, the girl was crying and the guy was annoyed. He berated her the entire time for apparently throwing a tantrum and wasting his money. Quote: “First this happens to me, then I have to deal with the torment of your mouth.” At the gas station, when the girl got out to get the gas, he commented “Oooh, look at all the pussy around here. Pussy pussy pussy.” When we got back to their car, he told the girl to pay for the fare, to which she responded by saying she didn’t have any money and storming off, calling him a scrub and saying she was gonna call the police on him.
A group of college age white girls going to the bars were discussing a Louis C.K. stand up bit about the phrase “a bag of dicks.”
Towards the end of the night, some guy was going to the only fast food restaurant open in the area before going home. While waiting in the packed line, he blasted some shitty radio rap on his phone, which is not totally uncommon (and it’s always the same low-rider bangin’ radio rap, never any other kind of music at all), but still pisses me the fuck off every time just because of how rude it is. You seriously can’t deal with not hearing what you want to hear for 15 minutes of your life while annoying the person who is giving you a ride home. When I dropped him off, the meter was at $11.30. He gave me a $20.30 “You can just give me a ten back.” “Uh, no, I can give you nine back.”
I will provide a running commentary of the annoying shit that happens on my dispatch shift tonight.
With every trip, I take the passenger's location, phone number and destination (the first two are standard practice, we're probably going to make the latter SOP too soon), and if they're at a business, their name. These phone numbers usually cause as many headaches as they cause as the passengers are too dumb to give us the right number or answer their phones when the drivers call.
So this girl is out walking around and since it's night, I tell her we can't send a driver to pick her up on the side of the road for safety reasons and she has to go to a business. She says she's going to walk to the McDonald's and we dispatch the trip. A driver calls her, she doesn't answer, and he goes to the McD's and she's not there. Soon after she calls saying she thinks she saw a cab go by. We ask why she didn't answer her phone. She said she didn't recognize the number and doesn't answer her phone because she's "avoiding somebody." Now, I don't answer my phone from strange numbers, EXCEPT in situations where I give my number to someone and could be expecting a call; for example, if I order delivery, am waiting for some kind of cable man or other home technician, or if I call a motherfucking cab.
Did the dispatcher leave a message?
What? Pay attention, Professor Skankhigh, I'm working as the dispatcher tonight.
Just had a person call to ask me how much it'd be from their address to a different street in the city. Then they started asking me where that street actually was.
Some drunk girls called walking down the street, asked them where they were at and they kept going "uh . . er . . hold on . . . let me see where we're at . . " After about a minute of this I hung up on them. They called back and talked to the other dispatcher and finally gave them cross streets and we told them to walk to the hospital a block away from where they were at for the driver to pick them up. He asked their names and they started going on about "What you need my name for?" After I dispatched the trip and a driver called on it, another driver that was passing that area let me know they didn't bother to walk to the hospital and were still standing on the corner.
A girl called in wanting to know how much it'd be to go from one place to another. The shortest route was around 2 miles, which cost about $7-$8. She called back and was trying to see if she could get dropped off half way for $5.
Also, about 1/3 of all calls we can't even hear. They literally sound like they have a mouth full of cotton or are talking from a couple of yards away from their phones. Some times I'll say I can't hear them, then they'll come through clear and then start receding into quietness again.
This person that got dropped off earlier by one of our drivers wanted the driver to pick him up again, but instead of getting the drivers cell number so he could call him directly, he calls us to ask if he was on the road by telling us his first name (a pretty generic one that a few drivers have) and saying he had a tattoo on his neck. Which means we have to ask over the air if someone by that name fitting that description is on the road and if they feel like picking up the passenger in question, which is kind of obnoxious when we're trying to conduct regular business.
Hahaha, sorry. I skipped the first sentence.
I'm cool with taking on that title. It's close to brilliant.
We just had three calls in an area that's a little out of the way. Tried to get a driver down there to get at least one of them, saying we'd hold one of the other trips for them if the first one was a no show. Finally get a driver to take one and it turns out all three of them gave us bad phone numbers or won't answer their phone. Wouldn't be surprised if we heard back from them in half an hour wondering where their cab is at. We breed people a really special kind of stupid here.
Not that you give a shit. But I spent the last hour and change reading this thread. I really love it. Thanks
Certain songs they get so scratched into our souls