I got a call to go to 1800 Pyramid Lane which is in Nonconnah Office Park. Well, after driving all around the area, I discovered there is no 1800 Pyramid Lane. The only business where people were leaving for home was Sofamor Danek, but their address is 2600 Sofamor Danek Drive, so I pulled in and picked up two women who wanted to go to the Madison Hotel downtown. Along the way, one said she had to catch a plane at seven, (it was now 5:15) would she make it, she asked. I said yes if you rush. “Will you wait while I pack?” she asked. Are you kidding? Wait with the meter running while a woman packs her suitcase? “No problem,” I told her. So I stood outside the cab to stretch my legs and watched the people in the fitness center across the street while I enjoyed a cigarette. I’m not in the best shape myself. I could be mistaken for a nesting doll with legs. The fare and tip totaled $60.
The other high fair was a guy I picked up in the 3000 block of south 3rd and drove him to Frayser at the opposite end of town. The fare and tip was $45. He and his dad work at a clothes hanger factory on Presidents Island. “What time do you wake up” he asked. “Why?” I replied. “I need a cab at 4 am to get to my dad’s house to catch a ride to work.” I told him that as soon as he gets inside to call Yellow Cab and tell them you need a cab at 4 am, then in the morning, call again to confirm it. He thanked me, and left me alone in the hood.
Actually, I spent most of Friday night in the hoods, mostly South Memphis.
These neighborhoods are depressing. A little basic landscaping would brighten them up, but I’m sure the residents are busy trying to survive and have little interest or money for such things.
Between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. I usually troll downtown for people ready to go home. My last fare was the bartender at Grill 83 in the Madison Hotel. Turned out we had a couple of mutual acquaintances whom we chatted about for awhile. He then told me there were several attorneys from different parts of the U.S. staying at the hotel. They had been there for a week trying to settle a big merger, but they wouldn’t reveal the companies. I figured it must have been FedEx and Dairy Queen. He said one of the attorneys told him how surprised he was to find so many outstanding restaurants in Memphis. I keep telling these out-of-towners that we have every Klan rally catered by a 5-Michelin-star French chef. I mean really, who do they think we are?
Wednesday before Thanksgiving
This day was a total disaster. I thought I’d work a 9 to 9 shift but the taxi supervisor had other ideas. “You can’t start at 9 unless you want to bring the cab back by 6,” she said with the scowl of my fourth grade spelling teacher. “What time is the next shift,” I asked. “12 to 12,” was her answer. So I went back home and waited for noon.
If you’ve ever seen the TV Show “Taxi,” then you get a general idea of what the supervisors can be like. That’s right, Danny Devito with a Napoleonic complex.
This particular supervisor is a middle-aged black woman, and if you’ve ever upset a black woman, you know what I mean. It’s like telling a fanatic Muslim you saw Mohammed on a bus drawing cartoons of himself.
There are four supervisors. Generally speaking, they are all nice folks unless you screw up.
The first cab I got didn’t have a working electrical outlet. The radio didn’t work in the second cab, and I drove all the way to the University of Memphis in the third cab before I realized the computer’s GPS wasn’t working. Without the GPS, the dispatcher doesn’t know what zone I’m in so I get no fares.
So, I’m in the fourth cab now, and head out east to the Hilton’s cab stand. After awhile, I get a notice to pick up a passenger at the Kroger in Poplar Plaza. Before I get there, the address changed to 721 N. Fourth Street. So I rush down there and while I’m waiting, the address on the computer changes back to Kroger. The GPS was screwed up. I turned in the cab and went home. Didn’t make a penny.
© 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.)