March 23rd, 2010
3/05/10 Fri. 108.2 miles
3/06/10 Sat. 125.5 miles
I’m cursed. It’s taken me years to finally accept it but I’ve come to terms with it at this point in my life. It’s not that terrible looming grey cloud type of curse. It’s the monkey wrench type of curse. In cab life to me that is the Metairie fare. It really is my own fault though. If I knew Metairie better I could play it like a fiddle. But as it stands right now I don’t know Metairie for shit. It’s a concrete nightmare of strip malls, chain stores and fast food joints.
In fact, pathetically, I can tell you the location of every Taco Bell in the suburban wasteland that is Metairie. It reminds me so much my hometown which I abandoned over a decade ago.
The problem is I only get Metairie fares when it’s jumping in New Orleans. It always pulls me away from the business. So I spend 40 minutes driving there and back when I could have turned 3-4 fares in the city.
That happened Friday night at Midnight. The lady was middle aged and very drunk. I picked her up right in the Riverbend area. She wanted to go around Transcontinental in Metairie. The shortest and quickest way was River Road but I had no idea after that so I told her she would have to guide me. She agreed with a hiccup.
The lady promptly passed out as soon as we turned off of River Road.
I woke her up.
“Turn here!” She screamed.
I made a hard left. She slid to the ride side of the car and hiccupped.
“Where are we?” She asked.
“You just told me to turn on Airline,” I responded.
She opened her eyes wide and immediately recognized where she was.
“Oh, yeah, yeah. Well that’s fine too.” She replied.
When I got her home she opened the back door and paid me at my drivers side window.
“I just bought this house from my dead mother,” she blurted out.
“Well, it looks like a very nice place. I wish I owned my moms last home,” I responded.
“Pssh, you should see all the weird stuff she had!” She said.
“She was a collector, huh?” I asked.
“More like coo coo.” She replied.
She stood there for a moment with half a smile. I tried to think of something nice to say to ease the pain of her loss. Nothing came out. I put the car in drive, smiled and thanked her.
Driving home I thought about my mother. She passed away almost 11 years ago. The last home my parents had together was a 3br brick ranch in a suburb of Detroit very much like Metairie. My mom was Korean so the landscaping in the front yard had an Asian flair to it. The living room had all sorts of Asian art, a low table and pillows on the floor. I would love to own that home.
Saturday night wasn’t a particularly busy night but I got a bunch of big tips so I went home early. When I turned on to my street there was a guy standing on the corner trying to flag a cab. I pulled over and he asked to go to Metairie.
I was tired and starving. I didn’t want to take him but I had cut off another cabbie to get him so I couldn’t just say no. I was aggravated most of the way out there. I was doing 90 on I-10.
“When you get to that Bud’s Broiler turn in to the parking lot. I gotta use their ATM.” He said.
“Bud’s Broiler is open?” I asked.
“Oh yeah, it’s the only 24 hour one. There’s always drunks in there this time of night,” he replied.
“Fuck Yeah! That’s right where I’m going when I drop you off,” I said.
Bud’s Broiler is a local burger chain. It’s a rare treat for me.
As we were pulling away there was a Burger King across the street that had a bunch of cars in the drive through line.
“Why the hell would anyone go to Burger King over Bud’s?” I asked out loud.
“Fucking Suburbs man. I fucking hate them.” The guy replied from the back seat.
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