Monday, November 30, 2009

Too Hot to Handle

"Honey, can you get the door? Yeah, just like that ..."

Found on PhotoshopDisasters. A special thanks to Sweden.

He Drove Eleanor Roosevelt

Cabbie Story: Last night I did a reading at Bluestocking Books, a great little indie bookstore. After the reading, a cabbie in attendance -- he drove for 30 years, looked older than Jesus, and had a soft voice -- told me this story:

It was many years ago, and I was driving, and Eleanor Roosevelt got into my cab! She was on the road campaigning for Adlai Stevenson. [I5t was 1952. Stevenson was governor of Illinois and the Democratic presidential candidate. He lost to Eisenhower. Thank you, Wikipedia. And if the driver was, say, 25 at the time, that would make him 82 today. Thank you, calculator.]

I wasn't a talkative guy, so I minded my own businesses and drove her where she needed to go. She got out.

When I got back to the garage and told the guys who was in my cab, all they asked was, how did she tip?

(Her White House portrait is above.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey Taxi Tales - Big Bottomed Girls

I scored this fab taxi story over the Thanksgiving turkey. And for those who would chide me for posting this so many days after the fact, I have one word -- tryptophancoma. Look it up in the dictionary.

As told by the headless woman holding up the fine bird: I was in a cab yesterday, and the driver started talking to me. He told me how his wife had gotten really fat over the past few years. As in 250 pounds fat. He didn’t know what to do about it.

His friends suggested he get his wife a job, so she’d walk around more and loose weight. So he got her a job working on the subways. But she’s still fat.

[TaxiCon: Yeah, nothing like working in the smelly, concrete, underground to make you feel like loosing weight.]

I even started complimenting other family members in front of her on their shapely figures, hoping it would encourage her to take off pounds.

[TaxiCon: What? You’re complimenting other Family Members on their bodies? In front of your wife? Hide the kitchen knives and rat poison! Also, please, please say you’re not related to these 'younger family members' by blood. Third cousins I can deal with, but that’s it. I’m looking at you, Woody Allen.]

We aren’t even having relations anymore. We haven’t in years. I’m telling you all this because I know I’m never going to see you again.

[TaxiCon: I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark here and say you're not 'having relations' with your wife because you keep telling her 15-year-old sister she looks hot. Just sayin'.]

Taxi Scammers Charged!

In news bursting with holiday cheer, the authorities charged 18 people with running driver scams on unsuspecting tourists trying to reach other parts of NYC from JFK or LaGuardia Airports.

In short, the scammers ripped the tourists off. In short, the scammers can now go to jail for up to 90 days. My favorite sentence from the New York Post article is also short -- "...hustlers should be forewarned: This is the end of the road,” said Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia."" Get it? End of the road? In related news, a taxi driver featured in My Book used to run airport scams; he also had a friend who figured out how to speed up the meter, overcharging each fare; he constantly smoked pot and drove faster than 100 mph. Did I also mention he's a tall, muscled guy who favors a leather trench coat? Oh yeah.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Taxis and Credit Cards - the dark side

Remember how the other day I commented on a New York Times article lauding the credit card as saving the New York taxi industry while the rest of the economy was flushed down the toilet?

Today, I'm hooking you up with a dissenting opinion, an op-ed in the Huffington Post by Melissa Plaut, NYC Taxi driver extraordinaire and author of Hack: How I Stopped Worrying About What to Do with My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab.

Her point? Yes, plastic has kept the industry afloat, but drivers appear to be taking a pay cut due to "credit card processing fees, payment delays, bunk cards, chargebacks, and system failures."

Discuss amongst yourselves. Or, even better, in the 'comment' section below.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Laziness, and Taxi Stories on WNYC's Brian Lehrer

Alright, here's the deal. I've been remiss in my blogging because I started a full-time job this month. Yes, my first fulll-time job in years. It's great, but it's putting a cramp into my blogging. (What, you mean I have to get out of bed and get to work every single morning?? And I shouldn't blog from the office?)

But not today. Today you're getting a post. That said, I'm kinda cheating. After being interviewed by WNYC's Brian Lehrer, people wrote into their website with their own taxicab stories. Check them out here. And I promise, soon I will be back in my full blogging glory.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Taxi driver opera singer

My friend was in a cab and totally dug the opera music the driver was listening to. She asked him what he was listening to and, wouldn't you know, he was listening to himself. The guy's an opera singer, driving a cab to help fund his dream.

She got his 411, so I'm going to give him a call and see if I can score an MP3 to share with you guys. Because you need to know.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Credit Cards Keep Cabbies Afloat

Remember the days when NYC's cabbies went on strike because they were being forced to accept credit cards?

Well, guess what implimentation is keeping the cabbies afloat in a dour economy while the limo services go belly up? Yep, credit cards. And according to this New York Times article, the use of credit cards is even bringing the cabbies bigger tips.

This is probably not the time for me to rant about the economic dangers of consumer credit card debt...

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Greatest Taxi Filming You in the Backseat

There's an NYC cabbie out there who films his passengers while he drives.

Creepy? Maybe. But he's making a movie, so it's a bit less creepy, right?

This information came to me from astute passenger, Ryan, who was in this guy's cab. (He believes he signed a waiver saying the could use the footage, but there was alcohol involved, and details got a bit fuzzy.)

In payment for appearing in the films, he gives his passengers drawings like the one above -- thanks Ryan! -- in lieu of cash.

Oh, and he calls himself "The Greatest Taxi." So the ego's intact.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cab Crucible

Story, as told by Kaja Perina: My own most harrowing ride happened when a cabbie lacerated my arm by shutting the trunk on it back in Aug 2002. I still bear a large scar.

I was at LaGuardia Airport en route home from a psych conference. I was on one side of the trunk, the cabbie on the other. I threw my laptop into the trunk, and just as I was doing so the cabbie slammed down the trunk and the sharp edge lacerated my upper arm as I tried to pull away.

And it bled.

I bled all over his cab but refused to go the hospital. I wasn't thinking straight and weirdly just apologized for bleeding in his cab! (I was later told I should have gotten stitches.)

He kept apologizing and asking if I was okay, probably genuinely concerned and also concerned about a lawsuit. I thought about getting the medallion number but was in too much pain. Also, I had health insurance, so I figured why get the guy in trouble; it was clearly an accident.

(This photo shows you what Kaja's arm could have looked like, had she been less lucky.)