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...