Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More hillbilly tourists

Yesterday I picked up at an expensive hotel. Family: Grampa, who sat up front with me, and a rotund mom, two out-of-control brats, and a dad who looked like he wanted to commit seppuku. I can't blame him. Here's how jaded good a cab driver gets with this job: I knew, just by looking at this group and how they walked towards the car, precisely what kind of people they were. I knew they were cheap, the complaining type, and weren't staying at that hotel. They probably just wanted to look at the lobby or something (people actually do that). These were the Motel 6 variety.

On the ride to Broadway Pier in downtown, the brats were yelling about who knows what. That was predicted ahead of time. "Who wants to get slapped?" asked mom. No volunteers. The yelling continued unabated. Dad was in the back seat with them, looking out his window, undoubtedly thinking about condoms and vasectomies.

Standard procedure radio call:

Me: 95

Dispatcher: 10-9 (repeat, please)

Me: 95

Dispatcher: There's too much noise. I can't hear you. 10-9.

Me: (Held the mic down for five seconds, without saying anything, to let the dispatcher know what the problem was.)

Grampa said something inaudible from his seat beside me.

Me: What?

Grampa: A million dollars?

(I felt like if I didn't try to be polite, the mom in the back seat would start in on me.)

Me: What was that?

Grampa: The houses. A million dollars?

Me: Some of them, yes. It is San Diego, after all. Four hundred thousand still buys something decent, though.

Grampa: Four or five?

Me: Four or five what?

The guy would not let up. He was attempting to have a conversation with me, but was failing. I was trying to be polite and help him along, and was also failing. Finally I ignored him altogether, figuring that if I ignore the guy, maybe he'll shut up. Nope. When I didn't respond to his nonsensical statements, he started patting me on my arm. I changed tactics.

Grampa: Over here?

Me: Yes.

Grampa: Not?

Me: No.

Grampa: Long way, not in the...

Me: Yes.

That seemed to work. He got answers to whatever his questions were, and I didn't need to do much. I'm going to remember that for the drunks later on.

What San Diego needs is its own Guantanamo Bay, just for summer tourists (some tourists are great; don't get me wrong). No water boarding or indefinite detention. On Labor Day they can be deported back to their state or city of origin.

I pulled to the curb at Broadway Pier. The meter said $22 and change. The woman gave me a $20, and I patiently waited for more. None was forthcoming.

Mom: Can I have a discount?

Me: No (nicely).

Mom: Please.

Me: No (neutral).

Mom: I'm supporting five people with nobody to help me.

Me: So am I.

Mom: You are? You have a big family?

Me: No, but my car burns twice as much fuel as the average car, so that's like one dependent. I drink a lot, so that's like having another...

She gave me three singles and the whole troop noisily exited the car.

Me (on radio): 95

Dispatcher: 95

Me: I brought the Beverly Hillbillies to Broadway Pier.

Dispatcher: Don't say things like that on the radio.

Me: (no answer)

Dispatcher: Do you copy? 95?

Me: (no answer)

I went back to my zone and desperately tried to find a business man in a suit, with a briefcase, a Blackberry, and an expense account.

No comments: