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Monday, February 28, 2011

Taxi 14

Taxi 14

Last summer, my former dentist, Timothy Kutas, accidentally drilled a hole in my tongue which wasn't numb at the time.  I didn't hold it against him since it was an accident.  Well I had trouble eating and sleeping and the hole became infected in December.  He sent me to an oral surgeon who said he needed to perform a biopsy and it would cost $865.  I called the dentist and tod him he should pay.  He said "I hear ya," which to most people means "I agree. Then said he'd speak to the surgeon and call me back.  Two weeks went by so I called his office and explained to the receptionist why I was calling.  A few hours later, she called and said, (get this,) "He doesn't know what you're talking about, but he's not paying for the biopsy.” “He knows that he drilled a damn hole in my tongue,” I shot back.  She then said, “Don’t cuss at me!”  “I was cussing at my tongue.  Don’t you know the difference,?” I explained.

I kept trying to reach him at the office, then called several times at his home.  Each time I got the answer machine, no matter what time of day or night.  So, out of frustration, I left this message: "This is the man whose tongue you drilled a hole in.  Don't you think it's a chicken shit thing to do to have your receptionist call me?  Aren't you man enough to talk to me?”

Well, it must have freaked him out because he took out a restraining order on me claiming I stalked his family and threatened him will physical harm.  Neither of which are true.  I’m not some lunatic intent on harming anyone. (He's at least 6'4" and about 270lbs.  I’m 5’11” and if he's afraid of a 64 year old with a pacemaker beceause I called him a chicken shit, what must his grade school years a have been like?)

The order was granted for one week at which time a hearing was conducted to either lift the order or extend it. The deputy sheriff who served the restraining order told me I didn't need an attorney to appeal it.  So of course the dentist shows up with an attorney, and  since I didn't have one, the judge wouldn't allow me to question him.

My defense was, calling someone an chicken shit is an insult, not a threat.  But nothing I could have said would have made any difference.  Plus, even though I requested the judge to insist the dentist and his attorney prove the specific allegations in the order, they never did, and the dentist denied drilling my tongue.  So if he didn’t drill the hole, why did he give me a prescription for an antibiotic and pain medication?  I'm currently restrained until August.  The dentist could, on a whim, have me sent to jail for 30 days.

I’m only reporting this as a warning to others seeking dental care in Memphis.

Now on a lighter note:  A good friend of mine went to Nashville last week to close out her late aunt Katie’s estate.  The only remaining item in her house was a safe, so my friend called a locksmith.  It took him two hours of drilling and sawing to open it.  Inside was a single piece of paper on which was written the combination.  Aunt Katie is somewhere laughing her ass off, as did I.  I swear, I no longer have an ass.  I now sit on my own lap.

I rely on Gracie’s keen sense of direction.  Here she’s saying,
“You weren’t supposed to turn there, you moron.  Now give me a treat.”
Notice how well the meter and computer are mounted on the dash.  
My wife thinks I'm going to get in trouble for revealing Gracie in the cab, 
but heck, we give rides to passengers and their dogs don't we.
Friday was a good day for business.  My total income exceeded any previous day, due, in part, to mostly long trips.

As you can see, I took Gracie with me for a few hours.  All my passengers loved it.

My first trip around 6:30 AM was taking a woman from the Residence Inn downtown to the airport.  It was a cold morning, but she was wearing a t-shirt and no coat.  “Aren’t you cold,?” I asked.  “From Minnesota,” was her reply.  She had been in town for a business meeting.  I stopped at the intersection of Monroe and Riverside.  A car with its turn signal on indicating a right hand turn was approaching slowly on Riverside to my left.  When the car slowed even more, I started to pull out, but the other driver changed her mine and slammed on her brakes just inches from my front left fender.  Typical Memphis driver.  I’ve driven cars in L.A. and Chicago where people know how to drive, but here in River City, thinking while driving has been banned.

Another trip was taking a mother and her three kids to school.  The dispatcher gave me the wrong school, so I had to shut the Tom Tom off and follow their directions. The boy, a fourth-grader, sat up front with me, but was too shy to engage in conversation, but when I asked him if he was married, he laughed.  I waited while the mother went in the school to sign in the kids, then took he to a nearby store, then back home.

Also took to young teens to school.  I knew they were brother and sister because they sat as far apart as they could, and didn’t speak to one another.  They wanted to be let out about 200 yards from school.  I guess they didn’t want their friends to see them arrive in a cab.

Picked up a colorful duo at Motel 6 in the Medical center to go to the bus station.  He immediately got in the cab and slammed the door shut as she struggled with a large suitcase.  “Just leave the fuckin’ thing here,” he yelled to her.  I helped her put it in the trunk.  “Where yall headed?,” I asked.  “The bus station,” he said.  “I mean where on the bus are you headed?”, I tried again.  She, in the richest redneck dialect, replied, “Amarillo, Texas.  None too soon, neither.  Can’t wait to get outta this shit hole.”  “You mean you don’t like Memphis?,” I asked.  “Hell,” she went on, “took our damn car.”  “Who,?” I had to know.  “Fuckin’ police (pronounced po-lice with a long ‘o’) up in Tipton county. DU fuckin’ I.“  Wanted $350 for the for the fuckin’ thing.  I told ‘em to keep the fuckin’ thing,” she bitched.  “Gotta fuckin’ tell everybody, don’t cha?,” he snorted.

I let the wind in the cab die down a little, then said, “What’d yall come here for?” “Work,” she answered.  “We travel around workin’ different places.  Got a trailer in a small town near Amarillo.  Town has a seven eleven and a Wally World.”  I said, “Wally World? like the amusement park in National Lampoon’s movie “Vacation.’  So I asked, “Is it a big place.”  She laughed hard and said, “It’s a fuckin’ WalMart.”  Well, at least she was laughing now.  Yep, the mood lightened, so I asked, “How long yall been married.”  He jumped on this one with, “We ain’t fuckin’ married.”  Eventually we found common ground when she noticed I was wearing a Harley Davidson jacket, and even rubbed the HD logo on the sleeve when they got out.  I said, “Hope yall have a fuckin’ good trip.”  They gave me a great tip, twice the fare.  Man, was that a fuckin’ trip!  I’d like to have a few brews with them.  They must have some good stories.

Now there’s something Sarah Palin could add to her charming down-home-style lingo, “You fuckin’ betcha.”  Man, I would love to have her as a passenger. I would pretend I didn’t know who she was, and ask, “What type of business are you in?” “Politics,” she would reply.  “Realy? Well you know that Sarah Palin must be the dumbest, most idiotic public figure of the twenty-first century,” I’d offer up, “She makes Mitch McConnell look like a genius.”   “I AM Sarah Palin,” she would insist.  “Baloney,” I’d say, “I’d recognize her anywhere.  You look more like Tina Fey.”

Picked up a guy who said he used to be the director of the Memphis Music Commission.  We chatted awhile about Memphis music when he said, “Justin Timberlake is as significant an influence as Elvis.”  “Really? Timberlake is just a talented song and dance man.  Elvis changed American culture and opened the door for black artists to get more airplay on traditionally all-white stations.  He also influenced the direction of British culture and rock n’ roll.  Over 600,000 people from the world over visit Graceland each year.  How many do you think will visit Timberlake’s house when he’s gone?,” was my response.  He got real quiet for the rest of the trip.

And this brings up another sore subject in my mental locker of things which bug me.  The Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland only because Celeveland was home to Alan Freed, a radio DJ, who coined the term Rock N’ Roll.  I dare anyone to compile an hour’s worth of Cleveland music.  You could fill several rooms with the great  music that was and still is created in Memphis.  GEEEES!

Trip to a downtown condo where I picked up a young woman head for the U of M.  She said she’s majoring in education.  I told her that’s what my daughter majored in and who just got accepted to grad school.  She lives in Portland, OR where teachers are required to have a masters.  Every state should require this.

Took another young lady from Piggly Wiggly midtown to her home in Frayser.  Long way-good fare.  Not much conversation.

Still another young female headed to cosmetology school.  When she got in, she asked if I had change for a hundred.  “No, but I’ll take you to get change,” i answered.  I entered Banks on the Tom Tom Points of Interest screen.  It listed about five banks with the closest on first.  Went there, but no bank no more.  She was getting worried about how much all this searching was going to cost.  I found another bank a half mile away, and told her I’d turn off the meter untill she got her change.  When I finally got to her location, she told me I was nice and gave me a good tip.

I gave a ride to a nice elderly couple from there midtown apartment to their doctor downtown.  We shared comments about growing old.  She looked to be close to ninety, but was very nice.

Got signaled to go tot he Blue Monkey on Madison where I picked up yet another young woman.  I told her that from 77 to 81 I lived across the street, and the Monkey in those days was the legendary Trader Dicks with live performances by such artists as Travis Womack, Keith Sykes, and Larry Rasberry and the Highsteppers, and the infamous bouncer Campbell Kennsinger.  I spent many hours in there holding onto the bar.  I also told her about what Overton Square was like, and how I could just trot down there anytime and get a drink or some good food.  Silky Sullivan’s first place was in the Square, along with Ruby Reds, The Bombay Bicycle Club, the Grotto restaurant, Lafayette’s Music Room where I saw Kiss perform in 1972 before they made it big.  There was also Solomon Alfred’s club which had some great entertainers such as Delbert McClinton whom I stood next to at the urinal.  And no, I didn’t look.  Further west was a large club called the Ritz where I saw George Thurgood, among others.  South on Cooper past Union was High Cotton where such notables as George Harrison or Eric Clapton would just show up and jam onstage.  Will somebody please revive the square?

One more trip.  I picked up (yes!) a young woman who was from Bulgaria but lives here now with her husband who teaches philosophy at Rhodes college.  She has a masters in political science.  I said, ‘I can imagine what the dinner conversation is like.”  I told her about my blog, and now she’s one of my regular followers. She too writes a blog about marrying a Bulgarian and all the time-honored traditions leading up to the wedding.  Check it out: http://www.howtomarryabulgarian.com

Well folks, the clock on the wall says it’s time for a glass of scotch.  Hope to have another entry next week.  Try to be an easy rider.


© 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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