Friday, January 11, 2008

Seeing the light

My present car was bestowed upon my cab partners and I last September. At 212,000 miles, it was the newest, nicest car in the fleet. We have 235,000 on it now, and it's still probably the best car. Since day one the dash lights haven't worked. I took note of the needle position in daytime driving and then, because the needle is just barely visible with the street lights, used that to gage my speed at night. For instance, freeway speed limits in San Diego are 65, and the needle is straight up at 65. At night I can see the outline of the needle and just put it straight up on the freeway at night, or a little to the right if I'm in a hurry.

You get used to it, and there's part of me that secretly enjoys that my customers never know how fast we're traveling. Nobody can complain that I'm driving too fast or too slow when they don't know the speed. If it's a slow night, and I don't need to rush back to a cab stand to pick up another customer, I can amble along below the speed limit to save gas. On a busy night I can fly like the wind. As long as I'm smooth, nobody's the wiser.

Tonight the dash lights were working. It was strange knowing my exact speed at night. I wonder if my daytime cab partner had the car serviced. That's doubtful, as new problems usually appear after our mechanic touches a car, and everything seems fine.

2 comments:

PDX Cabbie said...

I hate to admit it but, several generations of cabs back, my business partner and myself went a full two years without a speedometer. It was assumed to be a costly outlay to get it fixed and after a certain amount of time, we just decided to live with it. Neither of us picked up any speeding tickets and no rational passengers ever complained about our driving.

After we retired that cab, our new model had a working speedometer that highlighted the worst of our fears; we had both been driving closer to 50 mph than 60 on the area freeways! I thought I was just being a courtesy and conscientious cabbie. Not to mention a total tightwad.

Ted Martin said...

That's hilarious. No tickets and slightly better fuel mileage.