Friday, May 04, 2007

Forging Ahead

I don’t know what all the fuss was about. I can be my own worst enemy at times. All the problems I have been bleating about these last few weeks are now behind me and the cab is in tip top condition (barring the gearbox problem).

I took my daughter to school on Wednesday morning and then went straight to work. After four jobs and forty quid I dropped off at Seven Sisters Road and drove straight round to M&O. The girl behind the jump had to get a second opinion on whether my garage was “OK”. That means are all the accounts up to date with no outstanding money owed. After a few minutes one of her colleagues confirmed the garage was a good’un and promptly dispatched a worker to come outside and upgrade the tariff on the meter. I think he was waiting for a tip but I’m fed up of tipping everyone so I just said thanks, got in and drove away. Next stop was M.A.M Auto Electricians in the next street. I asked them to disable the immobilizer that has been giving me problems in certain parts of London and also to re-earth the For Hire sign that has been flickering of late. They told me to come back in an hour so I bought a paper and went to a nearby greasy spoon and had a Full English Breakfast. When I returned to pick the cab up I tested everything was as it should be and then put a tenner in the tip box in the office which meant that they got M&O’s tip as well as I had the hump earlier.

I drove home, testing the meter on the way, and found it went slower not faster, probably just me being paranoid. I had a good sleep and never surfaced till 6. Michael, still keen to do the cooking, went shopping for me and cooked Penne pasta with a sun dried tomato stir in sauce and meat-wise they had turkey escalopes and/or chicken kievs. I could get used to not having to cook anymore, it’s one thing less to worry about.

I was at work by 6.30pm and my first job from Paddington took me down towards Camberwell. On the way back in to town I juiced up at the Esso in Wandsworth Road. I was queuing behind a black guy and the guy behind the counter was a white South African, pretty unusual in petrol stations as the bulk of the counter assistants tend to be Asians. Well this guy was being all polite and asking the black guy if he needed anything else and to have a nice day and all that sort of stuff and generally trying too hard when the black guy turned round, looked at me and let off one of those long teeth-kisses. I just burst out laughing which set off the black guy as well. You get so used to ignorant or uninterested petrol station assistants that anything out of the ordinary take a little getting used to. When my turn came to pay I just plonked the twenty on the counter and hurried out before the South African had a chance to try his routine on me.

A few jobs later I was driving past The Swan in Bayswater Road when three Americans flagged me down and asked to go somewhere famous. “What do you mean somewhere famous?” I asked. “Somewhere where we can tell folks back home that we’ve been to, like a famous pub or something” I hate being put on the spot but famous pubs we have plenty of. There’s always half a dozen listed in most tourist guides and these always include The Red Lion, The Grenadier, The Antelope and the Duke of Wellington. They liked the sound of the first one so that’s where I dropped them and received a five pound tip for my efforts.

Todays (Thursday) shift was also in two parts and was probably as busy as yesterday if not busier. The difference being that I came home and went for a sleep and decided to give Michael a break from cooking so we had a Chinese take away instead of a cooked meal. I then went back to bed instead of going straight back out. I finally dragged myself out at 10.20pm and headed straight for Paddington. The best job of the night was a guy who flagged me down in Eaton Gate and exclaimed “I’m fucking starving mate, where can I get KFC?” It was five to twelve and touch and go whether his craving would be satisfied but I headed for Gloucester Road and hoped for the best. As we arrived the staff were just closing up and my guy jumped out and pleaded with them to let him in. No dice. He had to settle for the Burger King next door and came back over to ask me if I wanted a burger. I did but don’t like being bought them by my passengers so declined. I once accepted an offer from a passenger and we sat in the back of the cab eating McD’s and listenening to all of his drunken ramblings, but at least the meter was running. So after my passenger came back from the burger king I drove him back to Chester Row and he gave me £20 which included a good tip.

It is now 7.50am Friday morning and I still haven’t been to bed. I have to drive my eldest son Danny down to Putney to collect his first paycheck and then over to Notting Hill Gate to cash it and then to his bank to put some money in to cover his next round of bills.
It’s just as well I don’t have to do a morning stint today so I should be home and in bed by around Midday.

Catch you all later.

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