Sunday, May 6, 2007

Town Clown Revisited

...or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb Locals.

Bar rush yielded a lot of great rides tonight, like Gaslamp Quarter to Miramar MCAS, which is a $40 ride. And Little Italy to Barona Casino, which is $65 or so. I was the DUI Prevention Squad, carrying mostly locals.

My consolation: the drunks were entertaining.

I yelled at a customer for the first time tonight. A 20-something woman got in the front seat, and her two male friends hopped in back. They were going from downtown to the 32nd St. Naval base. It's about an $11 ride. I jumped on I-5 southbound at 17th St.

Her: Which way are you taking us?

Me: I-5 to the 28th St. exit, then straight to 32nd St.

Her: I don't know this way. Are you taking us the long way? You should be on Harbor Drive.

Me: The fare is $11 and 10 minutes my way, and it's $14 and 16 minutes your way.

Then she spoke to her friends as if I wasn't there.

Her: He's taking us the long way.

They said nothing. I pulled over on the freeway shoulder.

Me: If you think I'm ripping you off, get out and walk.

I thought, and almost expected, her drunk friends to become chivalrous. In my opinion, chivalry died the moment Sally Struthers ignited her first bra. To my surprise, they didn't stand up for her.

Guy: You tell her, man. We've been putting up with her all night.

Me, to the girl: Are you ready to continue?

Nobody said anything for the rest of the trip. She gave me $20 and said to keep it. I didn't actually yell. That's not really in my nature. All the same, I won't allow somebody to accuse me of theft when I'm saving them money and time.

Another interesting ride was two Navy guys in their low 20s. They were talking about some woman they had seen in the bar, and apparently she was the reason they left a half hour before bar close (I picked them up at 1:30 a.m.).

These may not be exact quotes, but they're very close:

Guy: She's a cougar.

Me: What's a "cougar"?

Guy: It's an older woman who comes into bars trying to pick up younger men.

Me: How old was she?

Guy: 45 or so.

Me: How did she look?

Guy: Small waist and double-Ds. Everything else is bad.

Then his friend started laughing hysterically. He asked permission of the other guy to tell a story.

2nd Guy: He fucked her last week!

Me: Really? I thought she was too old and unattractive.

Guy: We're young men. We like to get stupid drunk. It's what we do. And she knows that. Whenever a cougar like her comes into a bar I text message all my friends telling them to stay away.

Me: So, you went home with her last week. Why not tonight?

Guy: I only drank 10 beers tonight.

2nd Guy: He'll do her again sooner or later. It's guaranteed.

Another interesting ride wasn't a ride at all, it was a chance to deliver justice. I was the only cab in front of a bar on the edge of downtown. A drunk guy in a suit walked out to the curb and whistled. I looked up. He whistled again, this time pointing angrily at the ground in front of his feet. He wanted me to drive about 30 feet to him, rather than walk to the cab.

I got out and said, "I'm sorry. My car won't start." He cursed, looked at his watch and walked back into the bar. Just before he got to the door, I started the car and drove off.

Even though I was the Town Clown tonight, I still made good money. If you drive enough locals, it amounts to a decent night. And I do feel like I saved a few lives. If any of the drunks I drove tonight had tried to drive themselves, it would have been curtains.

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