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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Taxi 2

When I decided to be a cab driver, I swore I wouldn’t work at night, not only because of safety concerns, but I’ve always hated working at night.  However, after talking to some of the other drivers, nighttime is where the money is, and isn’t that the name of the game folks?  So my third time out began at 4:30 p.m., the 4:30 pm. to 4:30 a.m. shift.

It began slow, but after awhile I got a call to take a woman to the airport from Harbortown.  Well, my Tom Tom got me to Harbortown, but the led me astray.  But due to my superior powers of deduction, and blowing the horn on every street, I found my passenger, a 40-something woman on her way to a conference.  She was all business, and didn’t care for conversation, plus she objected to my choice of the route to the airport.  “Oh, cool your jets,” I wanted to say, but reassured her she’ll be on time instead. And we arrived in plenty of time but she insisted her gate was the last door even though I told her otherwise, so as a result, we had to circle the airport to get beck to the actual gate.  She was making me nervous so I didn’t get a decent impression of her credit card and lost $30.

My next fare was a distinguished looking older couple from New Zealand.  Imagine that, New Zealanders right here in little ol’ Memphis.  What next, Mongolians in Millington?  They were touring the country and their itinerary included San Francisco, Memphis, New Orleans, Mexico and Cuba.  So, fellow Memphians, we’re in pretty good company.

Turns out they were also Elvis fans, and we had a nice conversation about our dead king, and those from down under tip well.  Took them to the Peabody.

Later I picked up a guy at his house who just wanted to go to a nearby beer joint.  On the way, he got a call on this cell, and I heard him say, “Don’t worry. The money’s there.”  Then silence as he listened to the other party to whom he responded with “Don’t call me dick head!,” and he hung up.  I understood why he needed a beer.  Dick head tipped well.

Next, a young woman from Australia.  She works for Virgin airlines and had a free pass to anywhere on their schedule.  She and her boyfriend were traveling around the U.S.  We talked about her country and she asked questions about Memphis, including, “Does Memphis have any colleges or universities?”  I thought, “No, and our schools stop at the fifth grade which is why I’m driving a cab.”  I listed all the places of higher education I could think of.  She too was a god tipper.

Then there was the young music major I picked up near the University of Memphis.  He was a junior also majoring in creative writing.  He seemed rather dejected so I shared with him some wisdom of life from the perspective of an old fart.  It must of impressed him because he asked my name, and his tip was more than the fare.

Midtown normally accounts for 60% of fares, but was dead this night, so I trolled downtown, and having a knack for drunks, was hailed by two 40-something guys who were lost and wanted to get to their hotel.  The police don’t allow us to pick up flag-downs, but nobody was looking.  Nice tip.

When I dropped these two off at the Marriott, I picked up a husband and wife and a third guy in their party. They were all feeling no pain, and wanted to go to Beale Street.

The third guy sat up front with me.  He was from Minneapolis, home of Harley Davidson, so I asked if he owned a Harley.  He owned two which he restored.  One was a 1947 Panhead, and the other a 1954 Knuckehead.  I told him he was my hero because I can’t even restore the lid to a relish bottle.  The more we talked the more I liked him.  He asked about the economy in Memphis, and I told him of my background and current situation.  “Guess what I do,” he said. I gave up.  “I own an advertising agency.”  I gave him my web site address.  When I stopped to let them out, the couple got out first and the guy in the front looked at me with a sincere gaze and said, “I’m a one percenter.  My brother died because of that.”  Then he gave me twenty bucks for a six dollar fare and asked me to join them, but I told him I can’t leave the cab.  I really wanted to talk more with this guy whose name I never got.

For those of you who aren’t bikers, a one percenter is an outlaw biker because their type make up one percent of those who ride.

He might think he’s a one percenter, but I doubt he really is.  Outlaw bikers are just that–either full-time criminals or blue collar workers and part time crooks.  They don’t own advertising agencies.

More to come...

© 2010, Eddie Tucker.  All rights reserved.

(Disclaimer:  The views expressed on this post are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Yellow Cab, Checker Cab, or Premier Transportation Services.)

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