So I didn't work tonight, or last night, however I should refer to Friday night. I've taken scrupulously good care of myself, and seen no improvement whatsoever in my condition. I have a feeling that this thing is going to nag me for a while. I'll go back to work on Saturday because I have to.

My mind has been very much on my money the past couple of weeks, and reading Liar's Poker the past few nights has served only to focus my attention on it all the more keenly (in addition to not working).

I've never been particularly interested in money, or in being wealthy. I just never saw much point in money for money's sake, or in ostentatious displays of money. I've always seen money as a tool - it allows me to do things that I need (or want) to do, and I've thus always, no matter my income level, always managed to do a pretty good job of spending what I made, even if that involved saving for a while to spend on something particularly grand.

Recently, however, it's occurred to me that one of the things I might want to do is not live in dire poverty when I'm older. So I've been inquiring into various retirement strategies.

But this also feels a little silly to me at times, as there's very little in my history to suggest that I'll still be alive by the time I can draw from my SEP without penalty. So what, then, is the point of that? Now that most of my debt is gone, it's time for me to figure out what to do with the money that's left over at the end of the week.

Buying a cab is high on the list, and basically seems to be an idea so obviously good that the only mistake would be in not following through on it. But that will only add to the "problem" by likely increasing my income. There are only so many comic books that can be bought.

A girlfriend continues to seem like a good idea, I've always enjoyed sinking costs into dinners at good restraunts, vacations, and other such things that I enjoy a lot but seem to never do alone. There are actually a couple of promising leads in this department. On the other hand, lavishing all of my money on someone else seems unhealthy both personally and for a relationship, so as with the comic books, this is an expense that'll have to be moderated.

So what's been occurring to me lately is that I'd really, really like to make a movie. A documentary, so not a particularly expensive one. This seems like a good way of gobbling up a lot of dough, between learning how to do it and then filming, and then editing. It also sounds completely ludicrous, and I've never really been the "follow your dreams" type.

I've been thinking a lot, then, about currency markets, and/or investing in precious metals. Also about environmentally and ethically responsible mutual funds. Or shorting stocks. The thing is that I have absolutely no interest in acquring and then maintaining the knowledge necessary to act effectively in a global market, and I don't really trust the people who have put in that effort. I certainly don't believe that any of the ones who are actually good at it would ever deign bother with me and what would be a very tiny portfolio.

Another idea is starting a record label, which also seems like a good way of losing money. The trick, I suppose, lies in small-business loans. I don't feel like I have the social connections or skills to pull this off with much success.

The way this is related to driving a cab is that driving a cab is what brings me money. In case you haven't noticed, this blog has become more about what it is like for me to drive a cab, and how it effects my life, than about my interactions with customers. I'm hoping to have it also be about Portland, but I left my digital camera in Texas and have been holed up at home the past few days. Both of these things should be changing soon.



I tried to work last night (Thursday). But it was verrrrry slooooow, and there were too many cabs on the streets, and I felt like shit. I shouldn't have tried to go to work in the first place. So the night involved me sitting in the cab (as opposed to driving it), trying to drink as many fluids as possible, listening to horribly scary sounds come out of my throat whenever I breathed too deeply, and feeling absolutely exhausted.

Having had pneumonia before, and given that my illness was behaving in ways very much at odds with how the doctor I'd seen while out of town had predicted, I got even more anxious as it became apparent both that I wasn't in very good working condition, and that I'd have to see another doctor, and soon. This was more than a little frustrating, as I don't have health insurance and had just spent large amounts of money on Christmas presents, plane tickets, and all of that other fun stuff in the past month. And not worked in a couple of weeks.

I'd been counting on two things: spending very little money in the next few weeks, and making a sizable amount of it this weekend. Plans (always a dangerous thing in this business) centered around these two assumptions, with an eye toward grand financial events whose foundations would lie in the simultaneous austerirty spending measures and higher amounts of income.

Instead, I actually ended up making a net of $.40 an hour for five hours work, unless you count the cab I had to take home, in which case I lost money. If you count the hospital visit (I figured what the hell, I was feeling horrible and unlikely to get to a discount doctor or clinic in time to be seen on Friday), I lost a lot of money. Given that I'm not working Friday night, and may not be working Saturday, I'm pissed, especially since I wasn't thrilled about working New Year's and was hoping a good weekend would allow me to bail out of it.

I am now officially in "bad financial shape" for the short term. I'll be able to eat and pay my rent and bills and everything like that, but the holidays/vacation/illness combination fucks me. And I'm so fucking angry, and the only one I have to blame for this situation is myself, and the decisions I've made to get myself in this position (paying down debt rapidly while only saving enough for a cab downpayment).

Fuck, I'm furious. I want to kick a dog, or have hours of hot sex with a beautiful woman, or engage in some other climactic physical activity which I'm not in any kind of physical shape for.

The point of this post, if there is one beyond indulging my self-pity and narcissism, is that sometimes there are very severe drawbacks to having a job where you aren't guaranteed a wage and your employer offers no benefits.



I hauled my sick ass out of bed long enough to go downtown and renew my taxi driver's permit. I'm now in possession of a really disturbing wheeze/cough, a receipt for $60, and a license to drive a cab through 2007. Let the good times roll.

The bureau of licensing or whatever it is happens to be in a building directly across the street from the building where I worked right before I started driving a cab (the old company's since moved). So I got to thinking about what all's changed since then.

The answer is really not all that much. I have a different schedule now. I'm marginally more lonely, but also a little bit more confident, so that's basically a wash. I'm significantly more financially secure and self-aware. I know the city and surrounding area a whole lot better than I used to. I live in a different house, with different roommates. I'm a little older.

But the biggest real difference I've been able to notice is the casual vulgarity that's crept into my life. It's not so much that my morality or attitudes have changed, but that I now exist in a world where it's somehow become normal for me to become involved in long discussions about female genitalia with Hungarian immigrants. Or for someone to casually fire up a crackrock in the backseat of a car I'm driving without asking. People start talking to me about the explicit details of their sex lives, sex wants, and sex philosophies all the time. I have frank rules about bodily functions that I quickly share with those who seem like they might need to be informed. I no longer blink at violence, and know several different ways of incapacitating someone in close combat. I know where a couple of brothels, a few after-hours joints, and a whole lot of different places to buy drugs are. Hell, I even spent about a month or so walking around with a switchblade in my pocket.

So even if my moral compass hasn't shifted, the terrain has become radically different. I've now come in close contact with some of the least savory parts of both the city and human experience. And what's interesting to me is that my non-work life has changed relatively little. I live my cloistered little life in a clean, comfortable, and decently appointed home in a part of the city that's clean, safe, and almost unbearably hip. My friends are mostly people I met at or through the small liberal arts college I went to: they're young, smart, beautiful, middle-to-upper class, and they're artists, teachers, researchers, students, etc. They're beginning fascinating, fulfilling, and glamorous lives.

And in casual conversations with them, I'll suddenly find myself starting to tell the story about the "stanky poosie", or about how I fought a man with cerebral palsy or got scammed by a meth-geek - I catch myself talking in this way, about these things, and see a weird look in the eyes of the person I'm talking to, a look that's a mixture of concern, disgust, and fascination. When I talk to friends about my job I feel like I've changed enormously, and it saddens and scares me. So I talk less, lose friends, and spend more time writing in my room.

But when I stop and examine that feeling, when I look at what exactly it is that's changed so drastically, the only thing I really see is this growing knowledge of and acquaintance with aspects of human existence that many people seem to consider disgusting or inappropriate.

So my apologies if I occasionally talk about sex, race, and the size of my cock like it's perfectly normal to do so. I'm not trying to be crude or boastful (my dick's high-average, but hardly gargantuan and only "big" if you're small... damn, I'm doing it again). It just seems to come all too naturally these days.



I've had cabs all over my mind this evening. I took one home from the airport, and felt myself both exhilarated and disgusted by the thought of going back to work in a couple of days. I'm convinced very firmly of two things at this point: that I need to buy a cab, and that I should be in another city pursuing an ambition a couple of years from now (these two impulses are not as irreconcilable or contradictory as they may seem).

When I got home, there was a delightful holiday present waiting for me from some friends, with the request that I "get back to writing [my] blog." Then I finally got around to checking my email, and received these comments, which initially made me angry until I realized how patently absurd they were. The blog has offered compelling visual evidence that I'm a white guy, and I'd offer the very fact that several people seem to have assumed I was black (and numerous pieces of indirect evidence contained in posts) as a relatively good basis for assuming that I have no deep-seated race hates for members of any particular ethnic group. There's also good evidence that I'm even chill with the handicapped and people who aren't heterosexual, I don't think I've ever discussed religion here.

Young? Guilty. Obsessed with my crotch? Equally guilty (who isn't?). The discussions of violence against women, not hitting on customers, and lack of a steady relationship would seem to suggest a general lack of sexism, oppressive machismo, or sexual objectification.

I'm not taking the time to defend myself from someone who serves largely to confirm another running theme (that while some of my co-workers are awesome, some others are absolute morons) because I think they merit rebuttal - they obviously don't. What's interesting to me is that my first reaction was "that's it, I'm not allowing any more anonymous comments."

Which is silly, of course, as I've intentionally kept myself anonymous to everyone save my friends and family (though if this woman refers my superintendents here with a complaint about the racist young nigger who listens to the hippity-hop in his cab, they'd probably be able to deduce who I was in about five minutes, provided they didn't also think I was black). I started this blog as a means of venting/exulting/meditating about my job in a way that people can access if they want to, and thus save my loved ones from having to hear me do these things too much in our face-to-face interactions.

What makes this space interesting to me now, though, is that people who have no idea who I am will occasionally stumble upon it, and build in their heads this character of a young cab-driver in Portland who may or may not be black, kind, generous, cruel, lazy, racist, lonely, uber-hip, funny, healthy, conceited, depressed, etc.

And I'd been thinking about how cool that was, and was going to check my email before I wrote an entry for R & M, and got more evidence of this phenomenon, and I thought it was very auspicious. So I'll probably be back to goofing around with this thing more often, but I'll warn you that this blog will likely be leaning more toward steam-of-conscious ramblings about work and the blog, and less toward recounting particular incidents that took place. It'll all be very meta-.

(That's fancy talk for "boring")


Why I Haven't Been Posting

Sorry it's been so long.

There are a lot of reasons why I haven't been keeping this site up. The two most compelling are:

1) It gets dark at 4:30-5 PM here. I've placed a lot of emphasis on getting to sleep as early as possible, so that I can wake up as early as possible and get some sunlight. It's difficult to explain just how fucked-up and trying it can be to function on zero daylight. When it comes down to either bitching about work, or trying to live healthily, I will always choose the latter.

2) I've always been a writer, and I'd started this blog in the midst of a big slump, largely as a vehicle to get myself writing again. In that, it was succesful. I've actually been doing a lot of writing recently, only on another project. Again, it's an issue of scarce resources - I'd rather devote the time I have available to write (which isn't enough) to something that I find exciting and challenging, and not to rehashing my job.

And there are all kinds of other things: I wasn't happy with the blog's direction, I've been pulling myself out of what was becoming an increasing evident depression, I've been trying to cultivate a romantic life, I seem to have suddenly become a "musician" who "plays shows" (tonight [12/16] at the Cathedral on Mississippi), I'm bored with the internet, etc.

I have been thinking about this space, and what to do with it. It's good to know that there was someone reading and enjoying it, and that provides an impetus to try and re-integrate it into my creative life. I was thinking about this earlier tonight, actually, before I came home and got the anonymous comments in my email. The thing I've been working on draws heavily upon some cab-driving experiences (no, I'm not going all New York Hack and writing a memoir), and so maybe I'll start posting excerpts here or trying to think of other things I can do that will be both interesting and require little in the way of additional effort on my part.

But the important thing to keep in mind right now is that I'm so busy that I'm lazy. So lazy, in fact, that I'm not going to post a very excellent picture that would complement this post perfectly (maybe Monday). I will reccomend, though, the very excellent, Diary of a Mad DC Cabbie (too lazy to make a link, there's one in the sidebar). His blog's basically a much more entertaining version of what I wanted mine to be, to some extent I stopped because he was writing the blog that I wanted to write, so I started writing the book I wanted to read.

I'll hopefully be back in not-too-long.