In hindsight I wonder how many weapons I unknowingly had in the cab over the weekend, I think an o/u of 6.5 would be reasonable. Thankfully, nobody ever showed me theirs. To call the weekend out of control would be a gross understatement. Conservative estimates had the number of visitors in the 250-300,000 range. Presidents Day, Chinese New Year, Valentines day and the biggest NBA All*Star Game ever collided to produce a Mike Tyson crowd times ten, complete with traffic conditions that could only be described as impossible. The only thing like NYE I've seen that wasn't NYE. Every street intersecting the strip was backed up a mile on either side and forget about the strip and hotel entrances all together. Rides that normally take 5 minutes could take 35 minutes. Then fools get in your cab and complain that there aren't enough cabs because they've been waiting forever. ...Yes, because the answer to traffic congestion is always more cars. On top of that cluster-fuck I have never seen so many people completely out of control in my entire life.
There is this restaurant just off the strip by Hooters called Coco's. It's a smaller 24/7 franchise like Denny's. It's owned and operated by a nice older lady and on Friday night she had to close because the majority of her patrons were walking out and not paying. Two of her wait staff abandoned their shifts because they were getting harassed and not getting paid at all let alone tipped. That's as fair of a "snapshot" as any I think. Metro logged over 400 arrests, more than three times the daily average for a NYE. I lost count of how many times somebody talked shit or tried to get one over on me. I had my first real run out ever and more than quadrupled my previous "stiff" record, and then did it again the next three nights consecutive. I honestly don't believe it's possible to accurately depict the weekend without coming across like a racist.
One good time I had specifically though occurred on Saturday. It was about 10 or so and I had a ride going out to a timeshare resort way south end of the Blvd. I was glad to get a ride out there and away from Gridlock 5000, even though I was pretty sure I would be getting the 18th stiff of my weekend. I had passed the point of annoyed sometime yesterday and switched from "making money mode" to "survival mode" hours ago. Switching to survival mode is necessary every once in a while, like when it rains or when you have PacMan Jones in your cab. Anyway, I dropped off the nice black folks and did indeed get stiffed for the 18th time. As my passengers cleared I noticed two fat black ladies standing there, it was obvious they were waiting for a cab. On a slow night, there would never be a ride waiting for you at this place when you dropped but tonight all bets all off.
They got in, one sat shotgun the other in the backseat. Shotgun immediately starting giving me shit:
Damn you took forever, we called you over an hour ago!
Actually you didn't call me, I just happened to drop here. I'm not here for you.
You can get out and wait for the cab you called if that suits you better.
They gave a destination of another timeshare resort located behind the Sahara. A nice ride and a great turnaround for me. It made the inevitable stiff #19 easier to swallow.
Shortly after we were on our way Shotgun proclaims one of the staples:
Don't take us the long way, we know how you cabbies do.
I didn't respond. A couple of minutes pass and then she says:
We just need to change real quick and then we're going out to the club, can you wait for us? We don't feel like waiting again for a cab.
You're out of your fucking mind lady. I think she could tell from my reaction that wasn't happening so then she asks me:
Well can we get your number then so we can just call you when we're ready?
Depends on what?
Before I could even say anything Shotgun answered:
Depends on his tip. He's trying to get paid.
What do you think this is lady? I'm out here kickin it so I can hook your unappreciative ass up? I just do favors for people like you all night while I should be earning a living? Then when my landlord wants the rent money I can just do him a favor or two and we're straight, right? And I know Nevada Power needs some fuckin favors too so it's all good.
Well yeah. What do you think?
So how much?
For what? For me to drop whatever it is that I'm doing when you call, to possibly have to drive from all the way across town in the worst traffic I have ever seen to pick you up?
50 bucks. Plus whatever that ride cost you.
50 bucks??? You're crazy!
I had a feeling you might say that. Realize however that many would consider that a bargain....So don't pay me and you can wait for cab again like you just did. If you want that type of service you have to pay for it. This is a concept most people understand.
Ok fine so this chick probably doesn't like me anymore. I can live with that. I didn't like her first.
So I took the BLVD to the 215 interchange, then we jumped on that EB so we can cut through the tunnel and go straight down Paradise. Avoiding GL5K altogether. An ingenious route in all of it's simplicity, and all the while not any longer than any other route you could come up with. I challenge anyone to find a better way from 9000blk S. L.V. BLVD to Karen & Swenson in these conditions.
But, right on cue as we enter the tunnel they both start accusing me of taking them the long way. I actually predicted that this would happen at this exact moment. You see, they're doing this as a means of one of two things:
1. They're not going to tip you and would like to have a justification. Or,
2. They're not going to pay you at all and would like to have a justification.
I don't respond. No reason to talk at all anymore if you think about it.
I stay on Swenson because Paradise was still very heavy traffic. We're cruising along wide open north of Flamingo when they accuse me of long hauling them again. I ignored them again. Shortly thereafter Shotgun says that we need to stop because she needs cigarettes. If there is any such thing as karma at all I would bet a $1000 that part of the reason the cab they called took so long was that the driver had to stop because some stupid bitch needed a Big Gulp or something. Also worth noting is how she doesn't ask if we can stop, she tells me we're stopping. It reminded me of the hooker demanding my cellphone the other day. But whatever, we'll stop, there's a 7-11 right here at DI....
I park at the front door and Shotgun walks in by herself. Right on cue with the first meter click (when we're not moving) Backseat says:
Did the meter just move? Why is the meter moving? We're not moving?
We're stopped though what the fuck?
Wait time. 36 cents a minute.
Shotgun pays for her cigs and begins flirting with a dude on his way in as she's on her way out. Apparently the guy has a thing for fat, loud and annoying chicks. This doesn't go on for 10 seconds and right on cue again Backseat yells:
LET'S GO THIS METER IS RUNNIN!!!
Shotgun hears the news and is soon back in the car. I got a pretty sweet booby shake as she ran back. She gets back in and lights a cigarette as we pull back onto Swenson. I made her put it out. I watched her snap the pack, open it, throw the wrapper out the window, put one in her mouth, dig through her purse for her lighter, and light it. As soon as it was lit I said:
Can you put that out for me? This a non-smoking cab.
The look on her face was worth the price of admission. She threw it out the window.
We're just a few blocks away now and are there in no time. I pull into the driveway and the meter reads $24.45. They are talking forever basically trying to figure out how they can split $24.45 in half perfectly. I get out, walk around and open both of their doors as a means of forcing the issue. Shotgun gets out and surprisingly has a pretty big wad of cash, fairly neatly organized. I noticed a hundo or two, bunch of 20's and a lot of other miscellaneous bills. She pulled out a twenty and a five and handed them to me.
So can I get your number so we can call you when we're ready?
Whatever. If you don't give me your number I'm not going to tip you at all right now...in fact I want my 55 cents.
Of course you do. And you weren't going to tip me anything anyway.
I reached into my breast pocket and handed her a one dollar bill. She added the single to her pile and as she opens up her purse with her offhand to insert the money back into it, she manages to drop the entire loaf on the ground. The pile separated into an area that could have been surrounded by a Hula-Hoop,..but it was windy out!
Immediately every single bill took off in its own direction, many high into the air and I had a front row seat for the best show on the strip. Two, fat, loud, annoying, cheap ass, bitches running around in heels trying to step on and reach for all the cash they could. It was like a life sized money madness machine. There are others standing around watching this fiasco but it didn't take long for Shotgun to notice me standing there laughing.
WHY AREN'T YOU HELPING!?