Sunday, December 31, 2006

Confession 9 - The Cling On

We all know one. Or have known one. Or, as much as we may not want to admit, have actually been one. I am referring, of course, to the infamous cling on – and no, not the Star Trek variety. Well, perhaps the cling on may have been a die hard trekky, which may have contributed somewhat to a limited development of social skills. Or maybe the person is as unobservant as I am. Either way, the cling ons are out there, enjoying the bliss of ignorance because they probably don’t recognize that they actually are cling ons.

You may be wondering why I am going on about cling ons. Well, I happened to have a run-in with one while doing some cabbage a few weeks back. But before I go into the actual story, I must at least try to pre-“save face” by saying that I really do think that I am a nice person. I try to be respectful of people and, for the most part, treat them as I would want to be treated. With that being said, and with no further ado, confession time!

It was an unusually warm night for mid December. The bars had just closed and it was a bit past 2:00am. I found myself up in old town looking to pick some people up near Old Town Square. I pulled up to the corner, in my giant, boxy, ghettolicious Ford Windstar cab/van that I was cursed… I mean “blessed” to be able to drive for the evening. The group I was picking up came to the van and piled in the middle seat. A fourth guy, in his late 20s and fairly chubby (okay, I admit, he was fat) climbed in the front seat. He was wearing a plain white T-shirt and a pair of plain blue jeans that were anything but flattering. Sorry ladies, if you are swooning for him already, I can’t help you out. I don’t have his name or number.

Before I even had the chance to pull out, this guy next to me in a drunken haze exclaimed, “You should drive this thing like it’s stolen!”

“Ooooookay… you’re weird/annoying. I will just politely chuckle and pretend you are a fungus so I don’t have to say anything back” I thought to myself. And that’s what I did. Well, minus the whole “pretending he’s a fungus part”. Well, who knows? He may have had some fungus growing on him somewhere, but I’d rather not know. So, I asked the group how their night was going.

“Good” was the overall reply. And of course, the guy next to me again said, “You should drive this thing like it’s stolen!”

We made it no further than 2 blocks before a girl sitting in the middle of the middle seat behind me leaned forward and whispered in my ear, “Could you pull over so we can let this guy out?”

Usually I would say “what?” just to make sure I understood her correctly, but there was communication taking place that didn’t need words. This guy must have been driving them crazy and I could tell. So, I immediately whispered back “Where?”

She sat back and then said out loud, in a not-very-convincing-unless-you-are-so-drunk-that-you-can’t-tell-the-difference-between-cornstarch-and-a-car kind of way, “You can just drop us off at the light up there. That’s our stop.” The guy, who was quite drunk (in case you haven’t figured out yet) said “But that’s not Shields [street]…”

“Oh, you’re right. It’s the next light.” she said in reply. I confirmed that and before we even got to the next stop light the guy said in a rather anxious tone of voice, “Hey man, can you pull over?” He was making sounds that I dreaded more than any: those of one about to vomit.

Everything happened so fast, and with such acute coordination that you would have thought I had been preparing for this moment for hours. I brought the van to a near immediate stop (barely having time to pull it over to the side of the road. In about 3 seconds I had put the van in park, undone my seat belt, undone his, and even leaned across him and opened the door to help him get out. The last thing I wanted was for a guy of this volume to let loose of all he had drunk that night in my front seat. Oddly enough, he was actually saying “thank you, thank you” as I my arms were flying every which way but with precision. Apparently he thought I was being polite and helping him. I suppose I was, but my motives were not quite as good-natured as he thought. I still laugh at that thought.

He stepped out of the van, which rides about as high as any big SUV. Because the edge of the road sloped down toward the curve, and more so because he was absolutely wasted, when he stepped onto the pavement, he lost his balance, tripped on the curve, and came tumbling down. It almost seemed to happen in slow motion, like it would in a movie or instant replay. He crashed down on his side and began to roll. He ended up lying flat on his back, arms and legs completely sprawled, looking straight up at the night sky, eyes and mouth wide open, about 10 feet away from the van in the middle of a parking lot. All of us in the car, of course, were staring at him in complete silence and utter shock (well, slight shock at least. In hindsight, such an outcome would be anything but surprising). After a couple of seconds of us just staring at him, in his wrecked and fallen state, the van door hanging open, I again leaned over and pulled the door shut.

And then we drove away. It took about 3 more seconds before everyone busted out in laughter. The three seated behind me explained that they didn’t even know who the guy was. He had just been following them around all night in Old Town and they had been trying time and time again to ditch him. And when the cab came, he just jumped in with them. They thanked me profusely for helping them finally get rid of him and even tipped me well!

And thus is the story of the cling on. It’s a tragic tale, but one that has nevertheless probably made you laugh, even if just a little.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Confession 8 - Static Drama

A very wise man, for whom I hold a great amount of respect, once told me, “only nice people go to heaven”. And at the time, I agreed with him entirely. And for the most part I still do, but I am starting to wonder if such is truly the case. Why? Because sometimes “nice” people can be “too nice” and let other people really annoy them, to the point where they consider doing not so “nice” things. I suppose it would be best to illustrate my point with a nice little story.

While engaged in my normal weekend cabbage, I got a call to go pick up a girl at Club Static. If none of you have ever been there, I understand completely. I haven’t either. Well, I did deliver pizza there several times and have picked up/dropped people off there, but that’s about the extent of it. But the people generally seem to be pretty nice, plus they tip okay, so I was glad to go.

When I got there, a girl jumped in the cab. Apparently she had been kicked out of the club because she was drunk but was only 19 years old. This, of course, was what she was recounting to me as we were backing out of the parking lot.

“I can’t believe they would just kick me out! I don’t look drunk to you, do I?” she asked. As I have stated before, I am painfully non-observant, but even I could tell she was a bit past “tipsy”.

“Well, I can tell that you have been drinking, (which was the truth) but I have met a lot of people a lot drunker than you. (which was also the truth)” I replied. Playing the diplomat is usually the best choice. But come on – I’m a cab driver! I deal with drunk people all the time! She seemed relatively appeased, thinking that I was on her side in the whole ordeal.

Now I will be completely honest. I didn’t like this girl very much. Actually, that’s kind of an understatement. For whatever reason, this girl was actually more annoying than anything. Perhaps it was because she asked my name 5 times in one mile and still couldn’t remember it. Or perhaps it was because during that same mile she kept going through the same story “I can’t believe they kicked me out! I don’t look drunk to you, do I? Why would they kick me out! I just can’t believe it!”

Yes yes, you got kicked out of a club for being drunk. Cry me a river. I kept thinking to myself. It’s one thing to complain about it once and then ponder it, but it’s quite another to literally keep repeating the same questions over and over and over and keep forgetting that you’ve already asked me. You want my opinion? I think they just kicked her out because she was so annoying.

Anyway, so the story continues. After that first mile, I offered to turn on the radio (mostly to just get her to forget about it and think about something else). That seemed to work, at least for the next mile, but then we had to start changing radio stations and that was equally annoying. So, I finally just turned it off.

“I mean, like, I can’t believe they just kicked me out of the club! Why would they do that! I’m like, barely drunk. I could drive right now! Why would they kick me out!”

It was not even physically possible for me to get this girl home soon enough. I’m usually a nice person, and I kept up that face, but this girl was driving me crazy. Finally we got her home. She paid for her cab and went up to her apartment door. I should have pulled out and left, but for whatever reason I didn’t. I was writing down my numbers for this particular trip. Before I got to pull out, she came running back down and jumped in the cab.

“I can’t believe it. I forgot my purse at my friend’s house and it has my keys in it and my roommate is not home. Uhh… can I just ride along with you for a while? ”

Oh no. No way girlfriend. You are not staying in this cab if I can help it. “Would you like to try calling your roommate with my cell phone? Maybe she can help you out.” I asked, trying everything possible to get rid of her.

“Yeah, maybe that will work.” she replied. So, I asked her what her roommate’s number was, and she said she wasn’t sure, but she ratted off a number, so I dialed it and handed her the phone. It didn’t work. We tried another. It still didn’t work.

As much as I wanted to ditch this girl, I knew that I couldn’t live with myself if she froze to death out there. I hate being a nice person sometimes. She had a skirt and a sleeveless shirt on. She wouldn’t make it past an hour. So, reluctantly, I offered to let her ride along with me.

“Thank you! I promise this won’t take long… Hey, now we can have fun together!” she exclaimed. I think I may have rolled my eyes a few times, but I doubt she noticed. And with that, we went on to go pick up another fare.

We arrived at Match Ups, a relatively non-eventful bar where people generally play cards and shoot pool. When we got there, I decided to go in and find the person I was supposed to pick up, and she went in to use the restroom. While she was doing that, I found my fare and we went out to the car.

It took every ounce of moral strength I had to not just ditch this girl and leave her there. That “nice” part of me was quickly being drowned out by my desire to just get her out of my hair. She still hadn’t stopped complaining about getting kicked out of the bar, nor did she have any clue as to why that happened.

I explained to the man I was taking home that this girl was going to be riding along with me because she was locked out of her apartment and I didn’t want her to freeze to death. He was fine with it and didn’t seem to be very annoyed by her when she came back out.

As we were pulling out, she proceeded to recount to him her story of being kicked out of the club. I know she said “Club Static” but for some reason the man thought she had said “The Hunt Club”. Maybe he was looking at some part of her physique at the time, or maybe he just genuinely misinterpreted her. For those of you who may not know, The Hunt Club is Fort Collins’ premiere “Gentleman’s Club”, a strange way of saying that it’s a strip club. Yes, that was the same place where I spent an hour in my cab studying Chinese with the meter running while two middle aged gentleman did who knows what inside.

“Don’t you have to be 21 to get into that place?” the man asked. She didn’t really listen to him but instead kept on complaining about getting kicked out. I knew this must have been one jumbled miscommunication. I can only imagine what the guy was thinking: here’s this cab driver with a 19 year old girl wearing practically nothing on a freezing night that he picked up at a strip club. I’ll let you draw the conclusions.

Rather than try to sort the entire situation out, I decided to just laugh at the irony of it all and get the guy home as quickly as possible. After we finally dropped him off and he smiled brightly at the girl and wished her a good night, we left and she said I could drop her off at her house.

“My roommate should be home soon.” She said. So, with that, I decided enough time had transpired and it should be okay. So I took her home. When we got there, she jumped out and I drove off immediately and didn’t dare look back.

And this, my friends, is the story that brings into question whether nice people really go to heaven. Theoretically I would think that they do, but then again “nice” people put up with a lot of annoying people. Who knows? Maybe one day that nice person will snap and do something irrational, like post a truthful blog about the annoying people they deal with.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Confession 7 - Randomness

Today's confession is dedicated to my Investments professor, Dr. Vickie Bajtelsmit, for the assignment that was given to us and is due Wednesday that I should be doing right now. Once again I find myself dutifully procrastinating, but still managing to be productive. I went to the bank (one of my least favorite tasks), cleaned the kitchen (including the grime under the burners on the stove), and even made my savory couscous dish for dinner.

But alas, reality sets in and I realize that I must do what is truly most important: post a new confession. Then I'll do my assignment... maybe.

To preface today's confession, I suggest that we all step back and take a look at the age-old institution of marraige. However it is defined, it is amongst the most romanticized and memorable occassions in all of life, whether it proves to be for better or for worse. I've known individuals that have planned every individual detail, down to the color combination of the M&Ms in the dish and the songs at the reception. The only detail they left out was the future spouse. And no, I'm not referring to myself. I have no idea of what color combination of M&Ms I will have. I'm still working on that.

As the title of this confession indicates, the story here is all about randomness. I'm sure you are all wondering what this could possibly have to do with a normal night of driving a taxi. And so, with no further ado, the story:

I got a call to pick up someone at the Marriot, located near the Foothills Fashion mall. It was close to midnight, and this was nothing unusual. We often get calls to pick people up from the hotel to take them to old town or a party or a liquor store.

When I got there, I went in and was heading to the front desk when a young lad, at most 20 years old, began looking at me quite intently. So, I changed my course and asked him if he had called for a taxi. He affirmed, and so we headed out to the cab.

As we were getting situated in the vehicle, we engaged in our natural conversation.

"Where would you like to go?" I asked.

"Whatever Walmart is open 24 hours" he said. Apparently he needed to go there to purchase a CD player. It was a slightly unusual request, but not too out-of-the-ordinary. So, as we were pulling out, I asked him if he was from out of town.

"No, I'm from here. I'm actually on my honeymoon." he explained.

I was really starting to be amused by how unusual the whole situation was. But we kept up an interesting conversation. One of the parents had volunteered to pay for their honeymoon, which consisted of a one-night stay in the honeymoon suite. He told me about the contents of the "honeymoon courtesy basket" that was awaiting for them on the bed after they checked in. I won't go into detail of what it contained. Imagination makes it far more amusing, but rest assured that I laughed - quite heartedly too.

When we got to Walmart, he went in to buy the CD player. I waited there in the parking lot for him to come back, as it was a round trip ride. He finally came running out and jumped in the cab.

"They didn't have a CD player, so I got a nice watch instead." he explained.

I didn't ask why he was even wanting to buy a CD player in the first place. Instead I just assumed, probably wrongfully so, that he would be using it to play some Barry White. Or maybe some Marvin Gaye. Who knows? But he explained that it was a gift for his now "wife".

To any romantic individuals out there, don't worry, this wasn't the only gift he had gotten for her. He told me about all the other things he bought for her for this momentous occassion, and I imagine she must have been fairly happy. I just thought that this was truly a random story.

And for all of you guys out there who have no ideas of what to do if you are planning a wedding, maybe this will give you at least one idea. You can always go on your honeymoon overnight to the local Marriot and stay in the honeymoon suite for only $199 per night. There's even a complimentary gift basket! It even contains... well... you'll just have to find out for yourself.

And with that, I think I will start my investments homework. Maybe. I really do need a watch though. I've been meaning to buy one for so long...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Confession 6 - Flirtations, Etc.

It's cabbage confession time! Now I will warn you, there are some confessions that I don't actually post because, well, there is not really any way for me to post them without being a bit more graphic than I would like to be. That being said, I will continue.

To all my devoted confession followers, I thank you. Normally I would feel like a moderately-to-excessively abnormal person for posting such random stories, but your feedback makes my lack-of-social-life-due-to-my-crazy-job seem worth the sacrifice.

I would also like to thank my Financial Statement Analysis teacher for giving us a 15 page report assignment. Why? Because one of the by products of my procrastination is the fact that I can't bear sitting and doing nothing. Were I to do that, I would go insane and be racked with guilt. Instead, I engage in other productive activities that otherwise would not likely get done, just because that way I can at least justify my procrastinating. One of these "productive" activities consists, of course, of posting new confessions.

Okay, preface is done. Confession time!

Amongst the things that I keep track of with my job, I seem to find it amusing to track how many times I have been hit on by people. Don't worry, it's not an egotistical thing. I just think it's hilarious the things people do and say when they are in a chemically altered state of conscience. To add a bit to the amusement factor, I have divided it into many times I have been hit on by girls vs. guys.

So what's the count?

Girls: 5
Guys: 2 or 3?

The reason for the question mark is that I'm honestly not sure if the following confession counts or not.

Okay, I was driving a group of 4 very amusing and even moreso drunk people to their father's house. Three of them (two girls and one guy) were siblings and there was a friend as well. I was priviledged enough to hear about all the drama of the evening, though it was mostly just unique and laughable drama as opposed to that of the awkward and lamentable variety.

Amongst the drama of the evening somehow they had hinted that the brother was gay, but I wasn't quite sure. I didn't really care either way, I was just having fun being amused by their comical drunken stories.

Then out of the blue, the guy in the back seat asked me if he could pay for the cab by... well... you can use your imagination. And I'll give you a hint, it didn't consist of the use of any currency.

So, I'm not sure if I should add that to my count or not. And that's my current predicament.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Confession 5 - The Comprehensibility of a Drunk Mexican vs. a Drunk French Person

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting VS. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I must preface this blog for a moment. Normally I try to keep my cabbage confessions in relative chronological order. However, I just had to post this one because it was so unusual. Not unusual in a dramatic way, just unexpected.

As many of you know, I seem to have a knack for foreign languages. I find them to be a lot of fun and I seem to be pretty good at them as well. I usually am completely excited at the opportunity to actually use them and speak with people, even if those people don't actually speak the language or are able to respond. Somehow, we still manage to communicate.

Last night I picked up a couple of Mexican guys from old town during a slow moment of the night. I at least thought they were Mexican because they appeared to be. But when they spoke, I could understand almost nothing of what they said. I occasionally could catch a "está" and "cuanto", but that was about it. If they were speaking Spanish, which I was pretty sure they were, it was either extremely ghetto and full of slang, or else they weren't enunciating anything. It was probably both. But regardless, I decided to not try my luck. I would just pretend to be the typical monolingual American.

Perhaps the only thing as cool as being able to speak another language is being able to understand people when they speak it, but still pretend that you don't. That way when the moment comes that you do actually spout something out in their language, they are completely taken back.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen in this situation. I just wnated to get them home safely and find more fares because it was a slow night. So when I took them to their drop of point, I was surprised when the one who actually spoke relatively good English paid, got out, and left, while the non-English speaker remained in the back seat.

"Do you need to go somewhere else?" I asked.

"fwa hunidwsa qnickui fenwonfu" he replied. Okay, he didn't actually say that, but that's about what it sounded like to me because I couldn't understand a single word this guy was trying to say. Who knows? Maybe's that's what he actually did say.

I knew I could speak Spanish with this guy, but that would only facilitate part of the communication. He would be able to understand me. I would be completely hopeless to understand him. Plus my speaking Spanish would only encourage him to keep speaking Spanish, so we would get nowhere. For this reason I kept with the "ignorant monolingual American" role and tried to get what he was saying in English. Occasionally he would actually form some Spanish words that I could understand, but I still had no idea where he wanted me to go. All I could understand was "barro" "familia" and something about chicken.

I prayed that he wasn't actually saying "pollo" (chicken), because the last thing I want to be doing at 11:30 pm on a Saturday night is driving an incomprehensible drunk Mexican in a cab full of chickens. I'm quite sure that there would be feathers flying everywhere, wings flapping, and some particularly lamentable Spanish polka music in the background to complement the scenario.

So, I told him to just direct me where to go as we drove. Making delightfully effective use of fingers and gestures, we managed to communicate well enough to get him to his destination. I should have guessed it, but I had completely spaced it. He actually wanted to go to "Polo's" Mexican bar. I was relieved. Now he just needed to pay and be off on his merry way so he could have fun speaking Spanish with other people who were actual native speakers, and maybe go watch a chicken fight or something. At this point, I started to drop Spanish words "dos cincuenta" to speed up the process. But then he stalled before actually paying me.

"¿You have familia?" he asked me.

"" I replied.

"¿Why you no have familia?" he further inquired.

Oh no. No no no no. We are not going into this subject, and especially since there is no way that you're even going to be able to understand my words I'm saying, let alone my actual reasons for not having a family.

"Porque no estoy casado." (because I'm not married) I replied, hoping that would satisfy him. It didn't.

"¿Porqué no está casado?' he continued asking. He looked completely taken back, as if I was the only person on the planet that didn't have children and was a complete anomolie.

Ugh. I really didn't want to explain all of this to him, so I tried my best to say "It's complicated" hoping that would finish it off. Fortunately for me, it worked. He shook my hand with a big wide smile and wished me a good noche.

I was completely relieved that the whole situation was over, and I had even managed to get out of it without having to drive a bunch of chickens to who knows where.

The night continued to be extremely slow, even through the bar rush at 2:00am, when usually so many people want a cab that it's near impossible to get one. Fortunately there were at least some people who needed a ride. Incidentally, at about 2:00, I picked up a group from Old Town Square and proceeded to drive them home. One of the most fun parts of this job is getting to actually talk with people (or rather listen to them), so I started to make conversation with a girl in her mid twenties sitting in the front seat. I recognized that she had an accent, but she didn't say very much initially, so I couldn't quite pick up what it was. So, I asked her where she was from.

"I'm from France" she replied.

I was stoked. I couldn't contain my enthusiasm. I immediately responded,

"Ah! Vous parlez français alors!" (Ah, you speak French then !) It seemed to take a moment for it to click with her that what I had said was actually French, but she definitely understood me. So we got to have a very animated conversation in French while the rest of the people in the group were completely astonished that their cab driver actually spoke it.

If you don't know it by now, my personality seems to change quite noticeably when I speak French. Suddenly, I become much more animated, my facial expressions and vocal tones change completely, as does my sarcasm and personality overall. It's like I have a completely different French character. I guess that's what you get after you live in France for two years.

What surprised me the most by this story, however, was how easy it was to understand her, a drunk French girl as opposed to the drunk Mexican guy I drove earlier. I could understand her perfectly. I was hopeless to understand the Mexican. All in all, it was a truly delightful experience to actually be able to dust off my French a bit and still be able to use it and have a blast and even get paid for it in the process.

And I was totally relieved that she never mentioned anything related to needing to go pick up some chickens, even though her husband (who was in the back seat) was in the CSU vet program. I just don't think French music would have gone well with a car full of chickens.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Confession 4 - A Tale of Two Freshmen

Something unique happens to all of us when we turn 18 and graduate from high school. A whole new world of freedom opens up to us. No longer do we have to forge our parents’ signature for permission slips. In fact, we can write our own dismissal notes (though in my experience, they aren’t as effective as they legally should be). We can enter into binding contracts like loans and credit cards, make our opinion heard by voting, move out on our own, or, if we so desire, spend exorbitant amounts of money on products such as tobacco, porn magazines, spray paint, strong adhesives, and rear-view mirror reattachment kits.

It is, therefore, no surprise that some people take advantage of this new found freedom to experience and experiment as much as possible. I think that Chef from Southpark put it well when he said:

“There is a time and a place for everything and it’s called college.”

I recently witnessed this occurrence, manifest through two freshmen. I say “recently” meaning that it was about a month ago. The reason I have waited this long to recount this confession is that I wanted to make sure that the situation had been fully defused.

And so the story begins. At about 1:30am, I received a call to go pick someone at a party two blocks north of campus, at a house disturbingly close to my apartment. The contact was a girl, but I had no idea how many people would be getting a ride or anything. When I pulled up, there was no denying that it was a party. Considering that it was at a house on a Mulberry intersection, I was surprised that the police hadn’t broken it up hours earlier. Nobody in sight had the appearance of being 21 or older, nor did any of them appear to be sober. Notwithstanding, most of them seemed to be enjoying their chemically altered state of consciousness.

Nobody immediately proceeded toward the cab, so I turned the van off and picked up my phone and proceeded to dial the number of the person I was supposed to pick up. But something caught my eye, so I stopped. Emerging from between to cars parallel parked along the street just ahead of me, I saw a limp body being dragged quite non-effortlessly toward my vehicle.

“Oh no. Not this. Anything but this.” I thought to myself. Driving drunk people is usually acceptably pleasant/entertaining, but in my experience, the drunker they are, the more annoying they are. When it gets to the point where they can barely make out a sentence without slurring all their words together into something that would sound more appropriate coming from the mouth of an alien race on the Sci-Fi channel, that is the worst. Especially when they are trying to give you directions.

The body and the person dragging him drew closer and closer to the van. Then the rear door behind me opened. A less intoxicated and thoroughly annoyed guy about 20 years old made his best attempt to load the individual/body into the seat. The body, which was that of a kid about 18 years old with short, dark brown hair, denim shorts, a white shirt, and completely soaked from head to toe, began making noises.

Unexpectedly, he was making his best efforts to laugh and show that he was having a good time. As he was being loaded in, he tried to tell the guy struggling under his weight “Youu’rrrrrre grrrrrrreaaaaaaaaat man. Thaaaaaaanksssssssss.” Not surprisingly, this friend didn’t seem to foster the same elation. He then turned to me and said, “Hold on. I’ve got one more.”

And so, to my delight, (sarcasm definitely intended here) I got to wait there as he made his best attempt to drag another body. This second kid, also about 18, was a lot smaller, skinner, but equally wet. In contrast, however, this kid couldn’t have appeared more miserable. He was quite incapable of exerting any kind of control at all. After the “friend” loaded him in the other side of the back seat, he told me that they needed to be taken to Corbett hall, which was a dorm on campus about a half of a mile away.

“Don’t worry man. When you get there, you can just go in a get some people to help them back into the hall.” he told me, not very convincingly.

I asked him how they were going to pay for the cab since neither of them could even sit up straight. So, he was frantically digging in their pockets looking for a wallet. As he was doing so, my front passenger door flew open and two girls tried to climb in.

“What are you guys doing?! This is our cab and we’ve been waiting for 2 hours for it!”

Oh great. Not only did I have two corpses in the back seat, I now had drama going on as well. Moreover, I wasn’t even supposed to be dealing with the two guys since it wasn’t their cab in the first place. I hate drama. And so, the negotiations began and went for about 5 more minutes. As the girls were expressing their anger at how the two corpses had been behaving for the evening, spending the last two hours vomiting on the lawn in the midst of the downpour, the “friend” was trying to convince them to just let me drop them off at the hall on the way to their apartment.

During this period of fragile negotiations, the skinny kid was using what faculties he could to implore them to pump his stomach. Isn’t that a good sign? One more reason I’m so glad I don’t drink.

As the bickering continued, I wanted nothing more than to get everyone out of the cab with as little drama as possible and in as little time as possible. So, I finally told them that I could just drop them off at the dorm since it’s only 3 minutes away and get them home and it would be less expensive for them in the process. They appeared appeased, and so we drove off.

Even though the drive was only a half of a mile long, it was a delicate process. I had to drive as quickly as I could so as to minimize their window of opportunity to vomit and generally make a mess of my back seat, while also keeping from accelerating, decelerating, or turning to abruptly so as to provoke such a deplorable event, and also avoid getting a speeding ticket in the process. It was truly multitasking in its finest and most horrendous hour.

As we were about 500 feet and one sharp turn away from the dorm, the skinny sick kid begged for us to pull over because he was about to puke.

“No way dude. Not on my watch or in my cab” I thought to myself. So, I slammed on the gas and had all my attention of the finish line, that special place on the sidewalk right in front of Corbett which symbolized the end of drama and queasiness.

It was approaching. The hall was already beside us, and I slowed the cab. Immediately after stopping I ripped my seatbelt off, threw the door open, jumped out, opened their doors, and with the help of the two girls, we dragged them out to the cold, wet sidewalk in front of Corbett. It was almost 2am, and I knew there would be no way I could get in there to get people to come drag them back into the hall. Plus the meter was running and I wanted to get there girls home, particularly since it was unfair that they should have had to deal with all of this.

So we left the two guys, lying on the grass, incapable of even getting up. It wasn’t entirely heartless of an act. I asked the girls to call the “friend” and have him make some calls to people in the hall so they could go out and help.

I was quite relieved that the experience was over. And I was also quite annoyed with people who don’t know when to stop drinking. After scanning the newspaper the following day, I took comfort that I didn’t see any headlines relating to two dead freshmen found on campus. And I’ve resolved to never allow people that drunk into my cab ever again without a responsible person escorting them.

Here’s to the hope that I won’t have any more blogs like this one again.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Confession 3 - The Sandwich

It’s amazing the cravings that people get whilst in a chemically altered state of mind, particularly following a prolonged consumption of such substances. If you don’t believe me, just try going through the Taco Bell drive-thru on a Friday or Saturday night at about 2:00am. Then call me once you finally get your food at 8:27am, only to discover that they messed up your order. Or you could do as I did and stop by Taste of Philly in old town at 2:15am.

As hard as I may try, I cannot offer any explanation as to why

Every time I have a customer to pick up at Taste of Philly, it is inevitable that they will have placed an order for food approximately one minute before I arrive. This was no exception. But they did offer me food, which was kind of them. I get offered food quite frequently, actually. I generally politely decline, for reasons of modesty and also just to be safe. But at least once per night someone offers to buy me some food. (I won’t even go into how many times people offer to buy me alcohol or to join them at their party) I have come to the realization that the real solution to world hunger would be to just have starving people drive taxis. Then they can finally have a regular source of food. Granted, they would probably die of salmonella, but at least the starvation issue would be resolved.

And with this thought, I decided to make the most out of the few minutes I would be waiting and go use the restroom.

After stepping into the bathroom, carefully closing the door behind me, I felt something wet on my hand. I figured it was probably just water from someone who didn’t dry their hands sufficiently after washing. Yes, I am quite good at being painfully naïve like that. But when I turned around, reality set in. I’m sure many of us have heard the saying “Sometimes boys miss”. Usually this statement refers to them missing the toilet. Well, that wasn’t quite the case this time. Whoever had meant to use the toilet not only managed to completely miss it entirely (except for some abundant splatter all over the seat), I wondered if they had managed to actually miss the bathroom as well.

Needless to say, I thoroughly washed my hands several times afterwards. As I walked toward the counter where the employees were hard at work, I contemplated whether or not I should tell them. It was so busy, and I didn’t want to add to the stress of the situation. So, I decided to leave them in their state of relatively ignorant bliss and not inform them of the atrocities that had occurred in their restroom facilities. I figured it was the most humane thing I could do.

I sat down with the group of people I was to drive to their destination, since it would still be a few minutes until their sandwiches were ready. We made casual chit chat, and they entertained me with a brief recounting of some of the events of their evening.

Then one guy, a semi-jock type, semi-pretty boy, semi-fraternity brother type, turned to look directly at me and asked me an unexpected question.

“Does my nose look crooked to you?”

Since I am among the least observant people I know, I hadn’t even taken note it before. So, my eyes slowly moved down from looking into his and followed down the center of his nose. As I got to the tip, there was no denying it. Something was off, and I mean literally. It was bent to the side about 2/3 of the way down. Answering his question as honestly, yet tactfully as possible, I said:

“Hmm, it looks like it is a little bit. But I probably wouldn’t have noticed”.

I am proud to say that this answer was completely, 100% truthful. I never would have noticed.

“Spoken like a true diplomatic cab driver.” one of his friends said.

It turns out that he got in a fight with a few people earlier that night. Well, by saying a “few” people, I actually mean 10. I have no idea what the fight was about (though I do seem to recall there being a girl involved in the story somewhere). Needless to say, I was thoroughly impressed. He managed to take on 10 people in a fight and emerge with nothing but a slightly crooked nose. This guy was awesome.

When the sandwiches were finally ready, we went out and climbed into the cab. There were 5 of us total, and the most chemically altered one was in the passenger seat next to me. We drove about half a mile and the three guys in the back were still laughingly recounting more of the events of the night. Suddenly, the guy next to me, a guy in his early twenties with dark hair and seemed to be of a Hispanic descent, freaked out.

“Whoa! There’s a cop!”

So what did he do? He did exactly what any logical person would do. He rolled down the window and threw out the last half of his Philly Steak sandwich.

“Did you just throw your sandwich out the window?!” I asked, thoroughly confused by what was going on.

“Yes! I don’t want to get arrested!” he exclaimed.

“You could get in trouble for having a sandwich?” I asked, trying to understand the logic in this situation.

“Yes! And they would do it too!” he replied.

All I could do was laugh. It wasn’t quite ROTF laughter, but it was definitely up there.

What confuses me most now is the fact that he was so freaked out about a sandwich but he had no problem shortly thereafter talking about the drugs that he was going to do once we got to his house. He could hardly contain his excitement and desire to party as he broke out exclaiming, “Yeah! We’re gonna get hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh!”

He asked me if I wanted to join them (once again, a nice illustration of the variety of things I get offered every night as I engage in more cabbage), but I laughed politely and said that I am clean. I have no desire to do anything like that. And I don’t think I’m ever going to look at a Philly Steak sandwich from Taste of Philly the same way again. Or use their bathroom.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Confession 2 - The Long Walk Home

I have often joked with my friends about waking up in a dumpster, completely naked, and having no recollection whatsoever about how I got there. Occasionally there are some props involved, such as a pink tutu hazardlessly strewn amongst the putrid rubbish. Nobody really knows just what events may have transpired to cause me to end up in such a state, but it’s the humor of the whole setting that matters most.

Although the actual details vary slightly each time, we come up with some delightfully elaborate descriptions of this scenario. Of course, it is all completely unfounded because I don’t drink alcohol. In fact, I am probably one of the last people to ever be found in such a predicament. In the end, that just adds to the irony.

As often as we joke about it, I generally thought that these kinds of things don’t really happen - well, maybe on Comedy Central, but not in real life. But then reality set in.

While engaged in my routine cabbage, I saw a similar scene manifest itself in real life. And I assure you, this was no hallucination, no matter how tired I may have been. I first saw it between the pages of the newspaper. And no, I wasn’t reading about it. It literally was there, between two pages of a newspaper. Extending out from the bottom of those pages were two very long legs, and from the top a long, bare torso. I couldn’t believe it.

He was just walking down the street. It was about 2am on West Elizabeth. Nobody else was around. Nobody except for this naked guy. My reactions were mixed between pity, laughter, and a slight element of “wow that guy is cool!” He was just trekking along the street, holding one paper to the front of his waist, and the other to the back. His stride was surprisingly confident. He didn’t appear rushed, nervous, or jumpy. His head didn’t hang with shame. Truly this was a man who was a master of the predicaments he faced. If only we all could hold our head so high in our moments of utmost vulnerability, even when we are walking down the streets of life, completely naked except for the newspaper.

I didn’t get to see his face, his expression, or even whether or not he was covered with goose bumps from the chilly night air. Perhaps it is better that way. The mystery of the situation adds to its intrigue. Without a face or identity, he doesn’t have to take upon himself the weakness of a typical person. Instead, he remains an icon – a living reminder to all of us to take what life dishes out to us, or in this case, to surrender what life viciously pries from our fingers or off our bodies.

There is so much we can learn this man.

Think about it.

And next time you go to a party, bring an extra set of clothes. Or else you too might end up walking home naked, covering yourself with newspaper, and the night might not be as warm for you.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cabbage Confession 1

(This blog entry was written on Sunday, September 10, 2006, approximately one week before I created this blogspot).

I must have one of the most interesting jobs one could possibly have while going to school. I am a cabbie. I live the life of cabbage. (I borrowed this term from a friend). And so, in honor of such an awesome word, I have decided to start blogging my cabbage.

Wow. Just look at that phrase, "Blogging my cabbage". I love the English language. It sounds so naughty (or at least gluttonous), and it is actually quite the opposite.

I first engaged in cabbage about 4 weeks ago. I am still by no means an expert, but I am learning. And I can already tell that I am going to have a hard time remembering all of these stories. So, I figure myspace (and maybe a blogspot if I accumulate enough stories) would be a good way to share the blogging of my cabbage with everyone. So dig in!

Tonight's story is a tale of two middle aged gentlemen. I picked them up at a bar in Old Town. They were trying to decide whether or not they wanted to go to Sundance, and then proceed to the strip club, or if they just wanted to go straight to the strip club.

Hmmm. As odd as it may sound, I honestly can't decide at which of these two places I would most likely be found. Honestly. Strip bars are just retarded, and I can't stand country bars. It's a toss. I think I will be content in never stepping foot in either one.

And with that, they decided to go to the strip club. So, I took them there. They must have had a load of money to burn because I can't imagine that such establishments would be inexpensive. But such carnal indulgence is not satisfied merely with the whims of skanky/sleesy entertainment. No no no. They wanted to drag me into the picture.

No, they didn't literally want to take me into the strip club. But they did want me to remain there, the car idling away in the parking lot, while they did who-knows-what. I told them that I would have to leave the meter running, and it would tick up at a moderate $0.40 per minute. And yet they thought it was a reasonable amount, so they agreed. I was shocked. I was speechless. I was completely unprepared and bored, so after about 10 minutes I pulled out my cell phone and tried calling people to pass the time. That wasn't long lasting, however, So I started writing out a fictitious conversation in Chinese as I put my Mandarin to the test. (What, who wouldn't start writing in Chinese in the parking lot of a strip club?) I suppose I can cross that off of my "to do before I die list". But first I should probably actually *put* it on the list. Meh, minor details.

And so I twiddled my thumbs, listed to music, wrote in Chinese, and killed some aliens on my cell phone. It was the easiest almost $30 I have ever made. Even easier than the $100 I got for doing a Michael Jackson dance routine once.

And I concluded the night by taking these two people to a designated place of residence.

Sadly enough, I think I would have made more money if I would have turned down their offer for me to wait for them and instead gone and engaged in more cabbage.

I guess I will never know.


A wise man, John Rickenbacker, once said:

"The weakest ink is better than the strongest memory."

Okay, truth-be-told, I actually don't know if Mr. Rickenbacker was a wise man. I don't even know who he was, or is. I don't know if he's alive, dead, or frozen (in the hopes of being revived at a future date). I just remembered hearing that quote and I did a google search and came across it. And in the process I found out that it was John Rickenbacker who said that. I at least would like to give credit where credit is due. And I suppose I can feasibly conclude that he was a wise man, at least on the grounds that someone took that quote to heart and wrote it down. As a result, I was able to find that quote and use it as a preface for Cabbage Confessions. Indeed, that "ink" has proven to be better than a strong memory.

Following the same logic (well, whether or not it is actually the same logic I cannot tell for sure, but it does make for a good conjunction), I am going to set about blogging my cabbage stories over the course of the upcoming months that I hold this job. I know myself well, and I thus know that there is no way that I will be able to remember all of these stories. In addition, this is an excellent way to share them with everyone, for their own amusement.

And so, with no further ado, I give you:

CABBAGE CONFESSIONS, a blog by Cabbie Joe.