Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I was patiently waiting out a red light on my way downtown from the Circus Circus. My lone passenger was a white male, about my age. He wore a white tank top, merely to show off his "sleeve" tattoos. I say that because I'm certain he had more fashion sense then that. I'm a cab driver and even I have more fucking fashion sense than that. Feeding egos is something I strive to never do but nevertheless, I actually complimented him on the work because he really did have some bad ass art on his arms. Other than that, I couldn't tell you what we discussed.

At the exact moment our light changed to green, a Police car that I didn't even realize was directly behind us, activated his light bar and hit the siren twice quickly. Instantly I racked my brain, sifting through all the bad deeds I've ever done and tried to determine which of those might be the reason my rights were about to be revoked. I was fairly certain I had obeyed all traffic laws but who the fuck knows? These guys can be pretty inventive sometimes. I pulled through the intersection and made the first left onto a small side street. I wanted to get off of the major thoroughfare as a means of making it safer for the officer as well as ourselves. While I did so, my passenger inquired:

Why are we getting pulled over?

I have no idea.

I rolled my window down and turned on the dome light. I removed my ID from the wallet in my bag and begin shuffling through the glove box for the registration and insurance information. Only seconds had passed from the time we had come to a complete stop before I noticed the officer was already walking up to the cab. In most cases it seems the cop will sit in his car briefly for whatever reason before addressing you, but this guy was having none of that. I hadn't even located the insurance card and he was already at the window shinning his flashlight in my face:

Would you mind telling me why you're honking your horn like an idiot?

That was a new one.

I'm sorry?

I got a complaint that you were excessively honking your horn and now I wanna know why you are doing that. Now would you mind telling me?

I'm sorry sir, I wasn't honking my horn. I never honk my horn, or very rarely anyway. Never excessively.

At this point, my passenger decides that it's time to get my back:

He wasn't honking his horn at all. Not once since I've been in his cab. This is ridiculous.

The officer did not acknowledge my passenger whatsoever. Maintaining his focus on me he said:

Driver I need to see your license, registration, insurance card and your trip sheet please.

As soon as he said "trip sheet" I concluded that this was just a random stop. Considering that and my certainty that I had obeyed traffic laws, I was no longer too worried about being pulled over. But before I could even acknowledge the officer, my passenger decided to take the torch from my hand and run with it in a angry tone:

Why are we pulled over sir!?

The cop moved the flashlight to my passengers face and replied:

That's none of your business.

Officer, this driver didn't do anything wrong and I want to know why you pulled him over. You're not going to tell us why? You're supposed to tell us why!

I surrendered the documents to the officer then draped my right arm around the shotgun headrest and spun my head around to look into the eyes of my passenger. I didn't say a word, but it was a look that said, "shut the fuck up man." I was a little flattered and glad that my passenger was trying to have my back here but this is a textbook example of a guy trying to make things better who ends up making them much worse. I completed my quick stare as the officer detained my documents and proclaimed:

Stay here I'll be back.

The officer began walking back to his squad car and my passenger wastes no time in going off:

Why the fuck are we pulled over man? This honking thing is bullshit. You're a good driver, you weren't doing anything wrong, you weren't speeding, I even seen you using your blinkers and shit.

Relax man. We're all good. I think he's just making sure my papers are in order.

And that's when he started yelling...:


Then he starting repeatedly shoving the back of the shotgun seat with so much force that I thought the seat might come up from the floorboard. The cab was gyrating and in the process he knocked the headrest off of the top of the seat and it landed next to me. I don't know why he became so passionate about it but for whatever reason, dude started wigging out. I finally had to raise my voice:

What are you doing man? Chill the fuck out would ya?!!! You're going to fuck up my cab and anyway, you're not helping! Just sit there, shut up and we'll be outta here in no time. Police don't answer to us, we answer to them. Remember?

You're right man, you're right. I'm sorry.

He said sweating and out of breath.

We sat there for a few minutes, the silence only interrupted by the random chatting on the two-way. I knew it was only a matter of time before a road supervisor spotted me and demand to know over the air what I had done to get pulled over. Finally the officers shadow approached my cab again and as soon as he got to within an earshot of us, my passenger wastes no time in going straight DEFCON 2. Talking to no one in particular this time around and paying no mind to the fact that he just apologized to me for being an idiot, he goes off on another tangent:


...and he shoved the seat again a few more times for good measure. I was completely baffled and trying not to laugh at the same time. I mean, the guy actually said "communists". The officer was standing at my window and I looked at him, there wasn't even a reason to shrug my shoulders, he knew where my mind was at. The officer looked more surprised than happy, and even though I got the impression that he was just about to let us be on our way, he shined the light towards the backseat again.

Ok sir, now I want to see your ID, and you need to settle down before we have a problem. Do we have a problem?... I received a complaint about this driver, I have every right to stop him. Do you understand?

My passenger pulls out his wallet but not before he adds a few more choice words regarding his philosophies on law enforcement. I rolled down the rear window on my side and my passenger reluctantly passes his ID through it to the officer. The officer began walking back and I turned around to address my idiot again.

What the fuck are you doing man? I thought you were chilling?

I'm fucking pissed off man. He's not supposed to do that shit. And you'll notice, he still hasn't told us why he pulled you over. That honking bit is a bunch of bullshit, you know it too.

I know dude, he's just running my ID and shit. It doesn't matter, he can do whatever he wants. We could have been well on our way already probably. I appreciate what you're tying to do but just shut up man. "Yes sir" and "no sir" is all you need to be saying. It's easy.

Fuck that man, I ain't layin down for no cop.

I'm trying to help you man.

I'm trying to help you!

Well you're not. ....You know what? Do whatever you want.

Again, we sat there with only the two-way to keep us company, this time the minutes numbered in the tens. When the officer finally made his way back to my window he a matter-of-factly stated:

I need you to step out of the car for me sir.

My heart sank. I've heard those words before and they generally end badly for Senor Funk. I hit the door locks, undid my seatbelt and reluctantly grabbed the door handle and pulled it towards me while I threw my elbow into the door.

The door had only opened slightly ajar before the officer threw it back closed with one move of his hips.

No not you driver. Him.

He motions towards my passenger to slide over and exit on my side of the cab. My passenger continues the verbal barrage as he positions his feet towards the door and slides his ass across the backseat. As soon as he was standing outside the cab the officer instructed him to "turn around and face the cab", at which point he asked him if he had "any drugs or weapons." He cuffed the guy, patted him down and afterwards he posed the question:

You realized that you have 3 outstanding warrants in California?

...then he went on to preaching a little, but he was surprisingly still very cool about the situation:

Why did you have to go and draw attention to yourself like that? I was just checking the cabbie out, no big deal. I wasn't even interested in you, but you have to go and be the smart-ass and now I have to take you to jail.

The officer clutched my cuffed passenger behind the arm and escorted him into the backseat of the squad car. I waited for the officer to return to my cab because for one, he hadn't told me I was free to go yet and for two, he still had all of my documents and ID. The officer took his time in walking my documents back over to me then informed me that I could leave. But not before he debriefed me first:

Was that guy acting like an idiot the entire time he was in your cab?

No sir. He was perfectly fine, right up until you pulled us over. I was pretty sure I didn't do anything wrong so I wasn't to worried about it. I just figured you were checking me out, no big deal. But as soon as you pulled us over his whole demeanor changed. You seen the most of it. While you were away I was trying to calm him down, but he was having nothing of that. Why you would act like that knowing you have outstandings is beyond me. To tell you truth, had you let us go, I contemplated ending his ride right here. I don't need somebody that unstable in my backseat.

That probably would have been a good idea considering what his warrants are for. Well he's telling me that he had those taken care of a long time ago, which is what they all say.

I can imagine.

Sorry for the hold up, get back to work driver.

No problem sir, thank you.

I returned my documents to their rightful homes and affixed the headrest on top of the seat again. I put my belt back on, the cab in drive and was about to take my foot off of the brake and rid myself of this fiasco forever. At that moment I glanced up and realized that my meter was still on and read $7.80. I thought about it for a few seconds, but knew immediately what I had to do.

I put the cab back in park, undid my seatbelt, stepped out of the cab and began walking back towards the squad car. I briefly put my hands up about shoulder height to show the officer my hands. By the time I got there he already had his window down:

I'm sorry to bother you officer, but before you take this guy to county, do you think I could get my eight bucks?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I loaded a family at Mandalay Bay. It didn't take but the word "MGM" to come out of their mouths for me to realize that they had to be from New Jersey. Serving people from all over the globe for 3 years now, I've gotten pretty good at determining were people are from. If it's not a style, its a mannerism. If it's not a phrase, it'll be an accent that gives them away.

Normally I find people from New Jersey to be incredibly annoying. Some folks love these people. Unfortunately, I generally find my personality type in conflict with theirs. I don't know what it is, we just don't mesh. In my experience, most of them are high energy, opinionated, loud mouth know-it-alls and I've found that when a group are together it's near impossible to get a single word in. I on the other hand am more of a reserved, looking to learn something, pick my spot type of conversationalists. Nonetheless, there is an upside: Many folks from Jersey are incredibly funny, whether they mean to be or not.

My often mislead stereotypical conceptions aside, this Father, Mother and I were having a great time together throughout the short ride to the MGM. Their early teens Daughter seemed to be hating life however, obviously stuck with nowhere else to go and no one else to hang with. It was apparent Dad & Mom had already housed a few cocktails this evening and I remember them making me laugh on a few occasions throughout the ride. I'm usually good for a one liner or two as well. Overall a fun, but cookie cuter-ish kind of ride. I don't recall the unimportant specifics of the conversation.

We arrived at the MGM and the Father, who was sitting shotgun, stepped out of the cab as a means of easily accessing his wallet. Not uncommon at all. As he did so, the Mother and Daughter climbed out of the backseat and began walking towards the front entrance. Dad peeked his head through the window I had just rolled down and asked me how much it was:


I responded.

The Middle aged gentleman thumbed through his wallet, grabbed a ten dollar bill and three singles. He handed them to me and said:

That was the best cab ride we've ever had, here you go buddy thank you.

Thank you sir, you guys have a good night.

I let my foot off the brake and hit the window up button simultaneously. I hadn't crawled 3 feet forward before he began knocking on the cab trying to get me to stop. I figured he might have forgotten something in the cab. I hit the brake and rolled the window back down. He walked up to the window again, bent over and said:

You know, I like your style brother here you go.

...and he handed me another one dollar bill. Surprised that was why he stopped me, I took the bill from him and said:

Thank you sir, I appreciate that very much.

I didn't get halfway through that short sentence before had his hand in his wallet again, grabbing another single and stretching it towards me.

Thank you sir, I appreciate that.

Once more he goes into his wallet, and grabs another one.

Thank you sir.

I said again as I took it.... At which point he grabbed another one and handed it to me.

Thank you sir.

...and another

Thank you sir.

...and another

Thank you sir.

...and another

Thank you sir.

...and another

Thank you sir, I appreciate that

I said trying not to laugh. I mean, it's awesome that he wants to give me some more cash, but its hilarious how he is deliberately handing me one bill at a time, waits for me to take it, and then finds another one to repeat the process. He sees me biting my lip and says:

What's so funny?


I said as quickly and seriously as possible. I doubt I've ever gone from a smile to a frown quicker in my life. He stands still and stares at me for a 3 count, then reaches into his wallet, finds a one dollar bill and hands it to me.

Thank you sir.

...and another

Thank you sir.

...and another

Thank you sir.

I glanced over at the Mother and Daughter standing by the MGM's front door. Mom had her arm around her Daughter and they looked puzzled, wondering what it was we were talking about in all likelihood. I avert my eyes back to the Dad and he's digging through his wallet, looking for another single hopefully. He finds one and hands it to me.

Thank you sir.

...and another

Thank you sir.

Thank you brother, you have a good night.

...and with that he put his hand up and waved goodbye to me like he wanted a high five that he knew wasn't going to be returned. I pulled away and began counting the pile of ones sitting in my lap. 13 of them in all. Ironically equaling the initial amount that he gave me. This all brings me to the golden rule of cab driving, maybe life in general:

If someone wants to give you money, that's normally a good time to not ask any questions. That, and maybe New Jerseyans aren't so bad after all.