Don't be Messin' with the Nickles n' Dimes I Just Fished Outta My New Found n' Favorite Fishing Hole
"So, ya wanna be a loi-er do ya?" I asked her in that botched New York accent I never really was able to truly pick up while living down there. She giggled, and said something that I guess subconsciously indicated that she'd be a little more open to a little vicious political ping-ponging... the utterly dangerous sport of discussing "politic" so often best to be avoided while in the cosy confines of CAR 29. She was kind of a rookie, but we had some very good vollies over the dreaded immigration issue. It was a good 25 minute drive, discussing guilt, being nice and "should feeling good about ourselves" really set the tone of policy in places like Canada, the US and Europe?
I really was just practicing my new found, freshly minted and definitely not perfected "non-absolute" conversational tactics peppered with softening jokes n' giving an inch banter... by the end of the trip we were both laughing. I told her..."...do the best you can on the exam and come home and give that big ol' Nigerian dad of yours a huge hug for giving you the opportunities you've before you today!" ...she smiled as she left CAR 29, leaving me a whole $6 tip, which... I will admit seems small but is a quite nice one when mixed in with all the driving arounds with these little lovely blue haired Ms Daisys with their walkers all day... keep the shiny bright quarter young man... I ramble... and remind myself, I do love my little old lovely blue haired old ladies (really, I do)... and their walkers.
Exorcising the rare n' ghastly feelings the oddly none-to-often political conversation leaves behind in CAR 29 is a bit of an undertaking... Best bet is to treat the next fare with even extra kindness, go lightly on banter on myself and keep the conversation squarely on their own adventure, the one that's unfolding around their immediate need for a ride in CAR 29. My next fare was a young fella, picked up on Newmarket, on his way to his restaurant with a "quick stop" to pick something up at the wholesale grocer over on Elliot along the way. A good fare with stops and wait time, a few extra nickels n' dimes... I thought.
As we pulled into the wholesale grocer's the kid tossed me enough "dimes n' nickels" to pay off the fare already on the meter... a bit odd as we usually settle up these stop n' goes at the end of the road... "...just wait for me, I'll just be a second or two." were his only instructions. He left his bag in back and hopped outta the CAR. Hmmm... I guess he's nice enough, I'll consider the fare paid and not charge any wait time (a nice little trick n' gesture I often offer to good fares as wait time adds up lickity quickly in these taxicab meters)... I waited... hmmmm... maybe since he's already paid up, I'll restart the meter and charge him another $3.20 drop, this'll cover a bit of the wait... I waited some more. Hmmmmm... what's this little bastard up to I began to worry to myself. Perhaps it was even a legacy from the last fare, those rare n' uneasy ghastly feelings left behind by the oops a daisy but lovely political conversation I'd had just before; maybe they hadn't been fully exorcised outta CAR 29 ...yet.
I started to get a bit... even more angrier than I ever really get. Anger is a feeling I really can't let into CAR 29 and never can hold onto as, driving angry is not only a drag on the day but by all counts pretty dangerous business in this business I've now found myself in... this nickle n' dime business... hmmmmmmm... I thought.... was this fucking little shit head of a restaurateur, a nickle n' dimer himself, nickle n' diming me outta what, a little "wait time"? I woulda just drove off if he hadn't left his bag in the back. Hmmmmmmm... I waited... almost ready to grab his damned bag, bringing it into the wholesale grocer, handing it to him in a huff and storming off over and act of full on dramatics... hmmmmmmm... I waited myself into an almost rage (damned ghastlies, release me!)... I waited until he wandered out with a full shopping cart of crap for his little shitty nickle n' dime hole of a restaurant down on Princess which I will not name because, you know I'm so much better than to be one that might smear another man's business (besides, I hear it's quite a fine dining establishment)... but I did let him have it!
I schooled this little twit on business the whole way down Division. "Messin' with another man, especially another man's business wasn't in any way shape or form a good way to do business yourself!" "Nickle n' diming your suppliers is a false starter that'll blow a whole fart load of pain your way if that's the way you think you'll make a go of it at your own stinking nickle n' dime business"... I scolded him over how it wasn't over my own dollar here or dime there wait time I'd lost out on, but that he'd squandered my precious time... It wasn't about my own nickels n' dimes but the opportunity costs, what I may have lost by sitting there, waiting, meter not on and not on the grid n' available to take other calls... You know, that "million dollar" call all us taxi drivers are just ... waiting for!
He may have got it, or at least a bit of it.
As I helped him unload his big pile of wholesale groceries onto the curb by the door of his restaurant (still schoolin' him as we unloaded)... he handed me a twenty on a $9 fare and told me to keep the change... "does that cover it?"... "Not really", but a (far less than heartfelt) quiet thank you and I was off... cashed out, hoping a little of it sunk in and wishin', thinking maybe I would have handled it a bit differently if it weren't for the leftover ghastlies from my ride with the pretty young Nigerian future lawyering lady... A pause by the side of the next road, a smoke n' a sigh. A definite re-unengineering of the last two drives to finally exorcise... fucking nickle n' diming... maybe that's why I'm no longer in business for myself I half thought, then thought better... nope, I still feel good for never having run a business, that way... but... I'm still not gonna tell a single one of you folks (especially you other fellow drivers) where my new found n' favorite fishing hole is... after all, that ol' hole well, that's just none of your business.