Thursday, February 15, 2007

Marching On Together

Lots to write about but not a lot related to cab driving. I’ll see what I can rustle up as I write this.

I went up to Leeds on Saturday to watch my team beat Crystal Palace 2-1. It’s always a day I enjoy as I consider Leeds to be my spiritual home. If I had no responsibilities I would happily settle up there and watch my team play at home and away but alas my work keeps me in London for the foreseeable future so I can only dream. In fact me and my son enjoyed it so much that we’re going again this Tuesday to watch us beat QPR.

The home of football

The website has seen me get hooked on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation during these last few weeks. I always knew I would like it and had been meaning to get the series on DVD but now I can watch it on my PC. That website is gonna ruin me.

Mickey, our resident mouse, is still on the loose. I managed to swat it with the broom a few days ago but it still managed to run to his hole but I haven’t seen him since. Maybe I damaged him and he’s died and is rotting away in my cavity wall as I write this.

I got a call from one of my brother in laws earlier. He’s off work due to a hernia op and is in his words “on the floor (pennyless)” because of it. He has a PDA similar to mine with sat nav and a digital A to Z of London. Whilst he’s been off sick the battery has discharged and he has lost all his data. Why do PDA’s do this? Anyway, he wanted to know if I can restore his data or reinstall the satnav and map. I was pleased to inform him I could.

My Dad was 67 yesterday (CORRECTION, He was 76, TYPING ERROR) and we all went up to the house to celebrate it with him. My sister baked him a cake and decorated it with an edible photo of my Dad with a few of us when we were young. That’s me sitting in his lap.

I had to change a tyre recently as it was bald. When I removed the wheel I cut all my hand open on the wires that had become exposed. I guess I’m lucky that the tyre never burst on the motorway at 70mph, then I would have been in trouble. I have to go to the garage tomorrow to part with another wad of cash. I haven’t paid the cab for three weeks so I think they must be anxious for the rent although to this day they’ve never rung me to make sure I haven’t died or something.

Tonight was Valentines Night and all the couples were out in force. The floor of the cab was full of rose petals by the end of the shift. Most couples were all loved up but one guy said something that earned him a slap round the back of the head from his other half and I couldn’t help laughing. The Brit Awards were also on tonight at Earls Court. The traffic was murder but there was plenty of work.

Some of you may know the song “It’s The Final Countdown” by the group Europe. Well my mate picked them up from the Abbey Road Studios today and took them to the Shepherd’s Bush Theatre where they were doing a gig tonight. He took a photo of two of them with his phone but it’s a multi-media photo and I can’t get it off the phone to show you so you’ll have to take my word for it.
EDIT: I managed to separate the pic
The one on the right is lead singer Joey Tempest and the other is Keyboard player Mic Michaeli.

You know, my job entails driving around, picking people up, and dropping them off. If anything blogworthy happens you get to read it but since the last post nothing out of the ordinary has happened so I’m sorry if this is a lame post. I’m gonna start taking notes again to keep a record but that’s all for now folks.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Auto Satisfaction

A week has passed since my last post so, what can I tell you?

It was my 45th birthday on the 30th of January and I spent the day working as per usual. My son bought me a CD player which I intend to use in the kitchen to listen to music while I do a spot of pearl diving. This machine is a radio/CD player and also has a USB slot and an SD card slot so I can compile the music to suit my mood and be more productive at the same time.

Talking of the kitchen we now have a resident mouse that we have nicknamed Mickey. A few of the kids had sighted it in the last week but I never paid it much mind until I saw it with my own eyes. It’s been using the back of the fridge as a ladder to climb up onto the worktops to hunt for food. There’s always crumbs and stuff by the microwave. It has spurred me on to have a complete and thorough clean up with bleach to remove the prospect of any further exploration by Mickey. I’ll now have to set a trap or two to try and catch it.

When I read blogs such as Paradise Driver and Taxi Vignettes I realize just how many airport runs I don’t get. Wils blog rarely fails to mention an OGG run or three whilst Joanns mentions SFO and most of the other cabbie blogs regularly get runs out to their respective airports. I can go months without getting a fare to any of the five airports that serve London. The code for Heathrow is LHR but we never use that we just say LAP and if bragging to our mates via a text it will read something like “LAP T4 son. U gotta know where to look”. When I first got my Green Badge as a cab driver in 1990 I used to work out of LHR. The entry fee to the feeder park was just 50p per trip and you could wait from a minute to three or even four hours. I did three to four hours many a time and ended up with a wrongun to somewhere local. You used to get a half hour ticket to do these locals but often you would be stuck in traffic and arrive back at the terminal late only to be refused access by the wardens. Those jobs used to really raise your blood pressure and make you drive like a maniac in order to make it back on time. I remember one guy went to Hounslow. I got the ticket from the warden and roared off thinking I’d have plenty of time. But I hit traffic just outside the airport and lost precious time. By the time we reached the guys address I knew I’d have to go all out to get back on time. Most passengers are unaware of what’s going on as we try and be professional about it and not take it out on them. This guy’s neighbour was standing in the road washing his car and my guy got out and started chatting to him. I lost it. I jumped out and grabbed his cases which were in the luggage space up front and dam near threw them at him demanding my money. Once paid I sped away and barely made it back in time. Because of what the airport was turning me into I eventually stopped going up there and started working in town but it took a while to completely wean myself off the airport altogether and if after a few jobs I ended up within a few miles of the place I would sure enough end up clocking in for another ride. That was a long time ago and I’ve been a townie for at least 12 years now although financially I don’t think I’m any better off. What I meant to say before I rambled on was that I did manage to get a job out there this week. I was in Holborn and a guy asked me if I took credit cards. Sadly I don’t but told him I would happily stop at an ATM. He wanted a price as he didn’t want any loose change or surplus English currency. I quoted him £60. The traffic was horrific all the way out there and on arrival the meter read £64.80. He gave me the agreed £60 and asked for a receipt. I thought it might be a good time to enter the feeder park for a trip back into town but they now use a computerized tagging system which I don’t have so I put my light on and took the old road back towards town and never trapped a job till I reached Chiswick.

Yesterday was a long day but I had some good fares. I even got bought lunch by one fare. We went through the McDonalds Drive Thru in Wandsworth and the guy asked me if I wanted something to eat. I was feeling a bit peckish and almost always refuse offers of food when asked but this time I accepted and we ate our quarter pounder with cheese meals in the car park with the meter still running. Can it get any better than that?

The weirdest job of the week has to be the one where I picked up a drunk lady from Fulham Road. She asked to be taken out to Croydon in South London. As soon as we set off she started fidgeting around in the back. It sounded like she was undoing or loosening her clothing. I was trying to see what was going on in the mirror but she was right behind me and all I was getting were green lights. I sort of half looked round when I got the chance and it looked like she was, by suspending her weight on her arms, bracing herself for a shit. I thought to myself “No fucking way man, she ain’t gonna dump in my cab” I slowed right down and asked her if she was alright and she slurringly answered “Yes thanks” Not wanting to be rude I continued on my way but she also remained in that position and eventually ended up sitting on the floor with her back against the seat. I could’ve sworn I could actually smell shit. It’s quite a long ride down to Croydon so I had ample time to get paranoid about what she may or may not have been up to in the back of the cab. We arrived at Croydon and eventually arrived at her address and when she walked away from the cab I looked in the back expecting to find something nasty but all I found was a pair of her knickers. She must have been knocking one out, the dirty bitch.