Maybe You Should

The daytime superintendent is a real classic, an archetypical cab superintendent. Picture Danny DeVito on Taxi only with German ancestry, more hair (tightly plastered into a tight part), and a few more pounds. He excels at the snappy repartee that cabbies have always been famed for in a way that I likely never will, though he's got a few more decades in the game than I do.

(Sample overheard dialogue:

Daytime Superintendent: So you working tomorrow?

Lease Driver: I don't know, it depends on how my girlfriend feels.

DS: She feels good. I'll see you at five.)

But I do enjoy the rare chances where I both get to bust it out and actually have a snappy remark occur to me. Last night I get a call to pick up at a crumby dive strip joint in Gresham at around 2:10 AM. I knock on the door, and the bartender tells me my fares are coming right out. I get back in the cab. After three minutes, I start the meter. After two minutes, I got out to tell them to get in or I was leaving, and the bartender meets me on my way in to say that they're coming. I get back in the cab, and a couple more minutes pass.

Eventually, two young black women with bad wigs and body glitter come out laughing, and I help them load their suitcases in the trunk. We get in the cab.

"Does the meter start at $5?" one of them asks.

"No, it starts at $2.50."

"Then why's it saying $5.10?"

"Because I turned it on after waiting for three minutes."

"We didn't know you were out here, he didn't tell us."

"I'm sorry, but we start the meter after three minutes. It's the busiest time of the night for us, you're lucky I didn't take off."

"You need to start the meter over," very angry now.

"No, I'm sorry, but that's both company policy and what I do when people make me wait at this time on a Saturday night."

"That's not our problem!"

"Yes, ma'am, it is, because you're the ones who were taking my time and money by making me wait. Look at it this way, don't you get annoyed when people sit at the rack but don't tip you?"

"People do that all the time!" the friend/co-worker chimes in.

"And you're cool with that?"

"We can call another company," the first one says

"You'd rather wait the half hour it'll take another cab to show up at this time of night than pay an extra $2.60 that you rightfully owe me anyway?"

You need to start that meter over, or we're calling another company!"


I pop the trunk, and start unloading their bags.

"Are you for real?" she asks incredulously.

"Since you apparently are, I unfortunately must be as well. Good luck."

"Oh, we already got that."

"Mmhmm. Say, did you ever think about why you're taking your clothes off at a shithole in Gresham for guys who don't even tip you?"


"Maybe you should."

I purse my lips, give a solemn and thoughtful nod.

"Yeah, you might want to give that one some thought."

I then perk up, smile, and wish them a good night.

On a "where are they now" note, I gave the award holder for dumbest person ever in my cab another ride tonight. We met in much better circumstances, and she seems to be doing her honest best to hold down her title, having developed a British accent that she sometimes forgets to keep up. You go, girl!


Blogger MJ06 said...

Hey Crabby good story. I guess you showed them!

January 08, 2007 5:04 PM  
Blogger John said...

Well you were right.
They would have left you short if you had brought them home anyway.
Also on a matter of princaple they had to wait this time on their own time.
I would have radiod in to tell base to block the next booking.

March 03, 2007 12:42 AM  

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