Tag Archives: drunk passengers

Next Stop Confusion

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Originally appeared in the S.F. Examiner on Mar. 5, 2020.

With the RSA conference in town last week, The City finally felt alive again. After weeks of struggling to survive, there were finally enough people with expense accounts willing to take taxis.

On Wednesday night, numerous RSA-related events were happening throughout Union Square and South of Market.

At 10 p.m., I’m on my way to check out a corporate sponsored concert at August Hall when I see an outstretched arm by The Donatello.

I quickly pull over. In the side mirror, I watch a man say goodbye to a woman. A few minutes later, though, she follows him to the cab.

I can tell right away things aren’t what they seem…

Read the rest here.


[Image from the San Francisco Postcard Collection – Street Scenes from Behind the Wheel.]

 


 

 

Bizarre Love Triangle

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Originally appeared in the S.F. Examiner on Feb. 20 2020.

“Wow, I can’t believe I’m in a real taxi,” the girl in my backseat slurs, her words as boozey as her breath. “I didn’t think taxis even existed anymore.”

“Oh, there’s still a few of us around,” I respond absently, wondering how anyone could fail to notice the numerous multi-colored vehicles circling The City all day and night. I resist the urge to point them out as we head down Mission towards Bernal Heights from South of Market.

There’s one… There’s another one… And another…

“So why did you guys flag me?” I ask.

Originally, a guy was with her, but after she turned down his offer to keep the party going, he handed me a $20 bill, told me to drive her home and jumped out at the light to take an Uber instead.

“Getting a cab is just so…” her voice trails off. “Aggressive. We had to yell and wave to get your attention.”

“Well, I wasn’t really expecting to see anyone in front of Moscone at 1 a.m.,” I say in my defense.

Prior to speeding down Fourth Street, I had been working the Dark Star Orchestra show at the Warfield. After taking a fare to Russian Hill and a second to the Inner Richmond, I went back for a triple dip, but only a few deadheads remained, zonked out on hippie crack. A couple so high on mushrooms they couldn’t figure out how to get to the Hampton Inn around the corner wanted a ride though. Since the hotel was just a meter drop away, I declined payment, in cash or psychedelics, decided to call it a night and headed towards the bridge.

I ask the girl again why they took a taxi.

“That fellow who got in with me, Conrad, is the sweetest man,” she tells me. “He’s been in love with me for over a year. And I’ve treated him horribly.”

Her voice quivers and she begins to cry.

Read the rest here.


[Image from the San Francisco Postcard Collection – Street Scenes from Behind the Wheel.]

 


 

 

Marin County Thrill Ride

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During last call on Friday nights, I usually wait out the shit show in some dark recess of The City. A few weeks ago, though, trying to escape the sloshed fields of the Mission, I was driving past the Armory Club when a guy jumped in front of my cab.

“Will you take five of us?” he asks.

While it’s not exactly legal to transport more people than there are seatbelts, what are laws in San Francisco anymore but mere suggestions?

As three women and one dude pile into the backseat, laughing and grunting as they position themselves in a tight mass, the first guy holds the door open like he’s directing traffic, then jumps in the front seat.

“83 Elaine Ave.,” he says. “We’re going to my place. I have plenty of booze, so we can keep this party going. Right?”

Everyone cheers.

“Where?” I ask.

“Mill Valley,” he tells me.

“To the bridge!” the guy in back yells. “Take us to the bridge!”

Read the rest here.

[photo by Christian Lewis]

The Rascally Couple Looking for Late Night Snacks and Adventure

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“Always say yes.”

During a recent Recitation of the Waybill, a bunch of us were standing around the National office as Late Night Larry offered up some of his incontrovertible advice.

“No matter the question,” he snarled. “The answer is always yes.”

I’ve implemented many of Larry’s words of wisdom over the years, but sometimes it’s my own rules that save the day. Like that Friday night when I was inbound on Columbus at 3 a.m., waiting for the light to change at Pacific.

Behind me, the neon lights of Broadway are diffused in the fog like the setup to a Scooby-Doo mystery, while stragglers lurk in dark corners.

Just as the signal turns green, a young black guy and an older white woman approach my cab. Besides the overwhelming stench of booze that’s almost palpable, their eyes are spinning in their sockets, suggesting other intoxicants.

“Hey! You’re cute!” the woman screeches at me. “Can I touch your hair?”

Less of a request and more of a warning, I try to dodge her grasp.

“Let’s not molest the driver,” the guy says with a giggle. “Yet.”

“Uhhh … Where to?” I ask hesitantly.

“We need snacks!” the woman shouts. “Pronto!”

“Driver, do you know where we can get some snacks?” the guy asks calmly, as if his companion’s exclamation wasn’t clear enough.

I suggest Union Square. With several 24-hour diners, fast food and a 7-Eleven, it covers all the bases for late night snack options. And close enough to get this rascally duo out of my cab. Pronto.

Read the rest here.

Good Fortune is Right Around the Corner

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Now that I think of it, if I could do it over again, the last line of this week’s column for the S.F. Examiner would have read:

“Oh great,” she mumbles snidely as she reaches into her purse. “Lucky me.”

So as to emphasize her visible disdain at having ended up in a taxi.

In fact, the few minutes I interacted with her, when she was conscious, were more noteworthy than I realized last Wednesday afternoon, when I was putting the finishing touches on this column, already an hour and a half past my deadline.

What she actually told me after her address was, “I’ll do whatever you tell me, but I have to sleep now.” Which seemed implausible and surreal at the time. I wasn’t even sure if I heard her correctly.

When she paid me, she dropped her credit card and her wallet, spilling change onto the floorboard, which she never picked up, as well as her phone and her phone charger. I had to get her attention several times to not leave anything behind. Except the coins.

She tipped me 20% and I added the bridge toll. Plus a couple bucks in change -totaled out at a $75 ride. Her Uber probably would have cost a third of that.

I waited until she made it through a wooden gate with a “Beware of Dog” sign. Which seemed odd. Who has a dog you have to be wary of?

Marin County is weird.

Anyway, read the column here.

 

 

A Good Night in a Taxi Comes at a Price

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“You know it’s a slow night,” Juneaux once joked, “when you’re hoping somebody pukes in your taxi so you can collect that $100 cleaning fee.”

This week’s column for the S.F. Examiner is about another puker… except this time I got the cleaning fee. And a funny story… maybe? 

Read the column here.

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Photo by Christian Lewis.

A Fool and His Money… A St Patty’s Day Story

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The up-and-coming neighborhood Upton Heights

This week’s column for the S.F. Examiner is about driving a drunk leprechaun to a strip club… Well, sort of.

It’s only 10 p.m., but when the guy wearing a green suit covered in four leaf clovers with a matching bowtie stumbles into the passenger seat of my cab and exhales a miasma of booze directly into my face, it suddenly feels like 2 a.m.

“Uhm, where to?” I ask.

“Just head that way,” he mumbles, pointing down the street.

I hit the meter and drive.

Read it here.