I made $26 an hour tonight.
I made $9 an hour tonight.
I made $14 an hour tonight.
Haven’t worked in 7 nights. It’s the holidays.
I’ve been informed by other drivers that this is the deal:
Because of the tourists and the shopping and all the holiday hullabaloo in NYC, the holidays are big for the taxi business. So big in fact that apparently guys from Africa and the Dominican Republic and other countries with a lower cost of living drive a taxi in NYC for 3 or 4 months straight and then go back to the motherland and live like kings. What a gig! Maybe I can work something out like that between New York and The South. Tennessee was beautiful warm and monetarily manageable.
Now it’s 5:10 am and I’m on the subway headed to the garage to give the dayshift a try. Too many people on nights. No cars. This will be my first time driving during the day. I’m a little nervous that I don’t know where the daytime spots are. My plan at this point is to try a double shift. Drive 6am to 2pm. Sleep a couple of hours and then back out in time for the Thursday night rush. Toying with the idea of pulling two doubles a week and being done with it. That or perhaps moving to day driving until after the holidays.
At the garage. Pretty cold outside. Warm and chemically smelling in here. About 12 of us already waiting for cars. Apparently the day shift is crowded too. M. is doing dispatch. He’s got tons of rate cards but he’s not giving them out. You need a rate card to drive a taxi in NYC. Just asked if I could get a car for a double and he said I might not get a car at all. Crazy!
I have no money left. $3 in one account. $2.36 in my other. $0.14 in my savings account. $11 in my pocket. I owe my woman a lot of money and it makes me feel like shit.
Going to head down to Houston and Crosby. Word has it that there’s a Pakistani deli down there where private taxi owners post phone numbers for drivers wanted. I’ve been holding on to my last chunk of stocks from my wealthier days. And by chunk I mean 52 shares of Cisco. Looks like this is the rainy day I’ve been waiting for.
Been trying to work days. Didn’t get a car yesterday morning, was going to try for the night but I fell asleep in the afternoon and slept until 7. This morning I woke up at 2:30 in the morning and got to the garage at 3:30. I figured if I was the first one there, they’d have to give me a car. I was so early I ran into the head dispatcher on his way to work. He has a latin accent of unknown origin. He pronounces my name like Mrs. Mege did in 8th grade Spanish class. Ah-RONE as two distinct syllables with the accent on the second one. Asks me why I’ve been showing up for the day shift. I tell him I haven’t gotten a car at night in almost a week. I prefer nights.
“Aron, put down on a piece of paper the nights you want to work. I make sure they give you a car.”
One of the worst parts of taxi driving for me is the not knowing. Would I sit in the garage for two hours only to be sent home? If this works out, if M. really gets them to give me a car on those days, then my taxi dream has come true.
Once we were in the garage and M. was settled in his usual station behind the bulletproof glass speaking into a mic like Burger King in the early ‘80s, he slipped me a pen and a scrap of paper with the fragments of words on one side. On the blank side I scribbled Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. 4 nights a week. Saturday is the most expensive as far as the taxi lease is concerned. But Saturday is still the money maker, my anchor. Sunday is the cheapest. But Sunday is a lurking shapeless unknowable beast. I’ve made $180 in 7 hours and I’ve made $67 in 11. Monday and Tuesday are middle earners but fairly dependable now that I have a my late-night spots. Wednesday will be my fuck around day. Thursday and Friday writing days.
If this works out, being broke will be worth it in the long run. I hate how obsessed with money I’ve become. Sadly my personal qualities seem moot in its deficit. Yet I’m not homeless or hungry. I’m not outrunning machine guns. I’ve really got nothing to complain about. What a weiner.