Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trash pizza

Myself and two other drivers, Oakland and Zach (Oakland having been renamed after getting a flag to Oakland, Calif. three years ago), were kicking back at a cab stand during the lull between midnight and 1 a.m. Oakland, having arrived first, said there's a pizza "over there" if we wanted any. Zach walked to a city trash can on the sidewalk and came back with a pizza box. He opened it and there was half a pizza inside, cold.

    Me: From the trash? No.

    Oakland: It wasn't in the trash. It was on top.

    Me: You're selling, Oakland, but you ain't buying. Let's see you eat a piece.

    Oakland, smiling: I just ate, I'm full.

    Me: Riiiight.

    Zach, shoveling in a piece: Looks fine to me.

I made a ham of watching him to see if he'd keel over. We laughed that Zach was a true cabby, eating pizza found in the trash. Then Oakland got a bell and went into his car and started it. On a whim I took a piece of the pizza and set it on his rear bumper. He left, returning 15 minutes later after a short ride. Zach and I hurried to his car and found the pizza was still there. Oakland got out and asked what we were doing back there.

    Me: Oakland, you are a smooth driver.

Zach picked up the pizza and put it back in the box alongside the remaining slices, then put the box in the back seat of his car.

    Zach: The drunks will be calling soon. I'm sure they'll want some pizza. Maybe I'll get a good tip.

We laughed at the thought of drunks eating pizza that was found in a trash can, one piece having toured the neighborhood on the bumper of a car. This spawned a discussion about entrepreneurism. If food was kept in the cabs for bar rush, we could probably sell it. If Zach's pizza experiment goes well, we may raid the trash can for morsels before each bar rush and make some extra cash. Drunks are hungry, and they're usually not picky. Most are so drunk they'd never notice they're getting a half-eaten hamburger or something like that.

That episode was about four days ago, and ever since, on every cab stand when Zach is around, somebody will point to a trash can and suggest he get himself something to snack on. We'll be laughing about the trash pizza for weeks to come.

Another aside: On the day when Zach ate the trash pizza (earlier that day), he got a civilian to shake a fist out his car window and curse at him. It was fantastic. I was unloading at the airport, just behind a civilian car, against the curb. A cab swung in and parked, blocking the civilian car, which had just begun to move out. It was Zach, and rather than move his car, he ignored the civilian and got out to unload his customer's luggage from the trunk.

On the way back to our zone I followed Zach on the freeway and hailed him on the radio. "Did you see the guy in the black car back there?" He never even saw the guy, but was greatly amused that he earned a shaken fist. "I just don't care anymore," was his response. I wasn't sure if he was joking or if he's getting burned out.


TJ said...

Wait. Someone hailed a cab to Oakland (where I happen to live, by the way) from San Diego?? Holy crap. You can't just slip that in an not tell the story. Why does someone take a cab that far? What's the story? How much did it cost? Details, dangit!

Ted Martin said...

Our driver was hailed (it was a flag). The guy was very drunk, and the airport had refused to let him fly. His second try was to rent a car, but he was refused. Next he found our guy, who drove him all the way up to Oakland.

The fare on the meter was $900. I never heard why the guy was in such a hurry to get home.

Our driver had to call his cab partner to figure out the details, as the partner would miss most of his next day of work -- because it's a 15-hr round trip, or something like that. I heard that the driver had to give the cab partner $200, which was the approximate amount he would have earned during the lost hours.

Anonymous said...