negotiating a ride!

Taxi drivers seem to be an important part of our lives.
We realize that it takes more than just “driving” to make a good taxi driver.
I will change most of the taxi drivers names: (although it is probably not necessary).
There is “James Taxi,” (Everyone’s last name is ‘taxi’ so we remember who is and who is not a driver.
Now, James was referred by a good friend. James is on his cell phone most of the ride and turns up some hard rock music, as well as listens to “bob and Tom,” comedy; which I find offensive at times. He has made some comments which leads me to believe that he is slightly racist and xenophobic.
Then there is Tommy Taxi who is a very nice guy. He use to only work on Weekends and we found out that we were his first blind clients. I was shocked to hear his voicemail (which we always hear before 10:30) which says he is “Big Daddy.” I never understood why men liked to be “big daddy,” to people other than their children. But, whatever. He won’t pick up the phone before 10:30, so we can’t find him in the morning to get to work.
There is Sam who is from Tunesia. He is a Muslim with a propensity for Christian K-love music. Go figure! Imran likes him because they can talk about foreign issues and “revolutions” which are always stimulating subjects. Alas, He and Tommy have the same habit of not answering their phones before the afternoon. So, after trying him three times, we have to put him on our “only if we can’t get the good ones,” list.
Then, there is a Ugandan taxi driver which we both liked, but Imran lost his contact information. We will just have to wait until we find him again.
There was Joe who asked DH to play a trick on his Hindu speaking friend. Joe called the friend and Dh pretended to be Joe who now knew lots of Hindi. Joe was engaging and a bit fun. But, we did not get his card, either. He was a new driver and not sure if the company would want him to get customers on his own…. … at least that is what he told us.
There are some taxi drivers that we just didn’t get their cards because they were either rude or extremely late.
It is amazing how a taxi driver can be linked to a particular experience. Daniel drove us to work on Valentines day. DH and I were having quite an argument on that day. And, Daniel took us home on that same day when DH was trying to salvage something good out of the day, but all of the good restaurants were either full or not taking reservations. That was Daniel who did take us around to a few restaurants before dropping us off at home. But, Daniel has a problem with body odor. I know that many taxis are stuffy and a bit musty, but Daniel’s odor surpasses all normal levels. And, I usually sit behind him. (UGG) So, while dh really likes Daniel (why, I don’t know) I do not.
Actually, I think that Dh likes Daniel because he does not have as many customers, so is willing to take us where we want and *NOT* hint about a tip. Besides, Daniel is *more available* than other taxi drivers. The problem is that I am already feeling nauseous! With Daniel’s body odor, I have to work extra hard at not vomiting right there in the taxi… … which would be another large fee ontop of the taxi ride. DH is oblivious to body odor!
Old man Brian Taxi was our first good taxi driver. Once he even stopped before home to let us get something to eat. Once he waited at the post office for us so we would not have to call another taxi to take us home. It didn’t last long though. DH did not heed my promptings for gratuity. Brian implied such things and Dh took it as a rude gesture. It is kind of embarrassing, but DH never tips anyone. And: many times, we ride on a voucher. We purchase the voucher for $3.50 or $6 (depending on the voucher) and we ride a taxi for 20+miles to work or some other place. It is clear that we are getting a good deal on the taxi ride. Yet, still DH does not want to spend any extra money. There is one thing about being frugal, but there is a difference between being frugal and CHEAP. (that is probably a post for another time).
I tried pointing out that Brian was going out of his way and deserved a bit extra. But, DH wouldn’t hear of it. As a result, Brian no longer takes our calls. He is too busy. He has given us an excuse a time or two, but most often, he just doesn’t answer our pleas. Thanks DH.
There is Ken who made a flirtatious remark about his sister: “your sister is quite pretty, is she married?” which landed him in the “creepy” category. To me, this was no big deal, but she felt like he was just forward and weird – yet, in a secret way, it did make her feel good that he thought that she was pretty. In any case, We have not called him back, yet.
Then, there is my favorite: William. Hey, I can mention his real name, it wouldn’t hurt. William is helpful, talkative (but not excessively) he remembers your name and your situation, he is knowledgeable about blind people(he does have a large blind clientele), I think he knows almost every place in the city and he always seems to be mildly happy. (not annoyingly bubbly, but happy, nonetheless).
It is evident that DH and I look for different things in a taxi driver. I look for a driver who is not going to increase my nausea! That is first and foremost. I also want a driver that is not going to test the limits of my bladder. And, it is nice to have a guy who is talkative, but not too chatty and someone who is polite with his music/radio choices. DH looks for the cheapest and the one who is most prompt. Eventually, he will alienate all taxi drivers and they won’t want to pick us up. Then, he will have to change his stance on gratuity and such. But, until then, We will just have to tough it out. The good part is that it takes us 25-30mins to get to work in a taxi and 90minutes to get to work on public transportation. We are still using public transportation most of the time. But, it is nice to have a taxi ride, sometimes, – (as long as it is not Daniel). I hope that I won’t need a taxi to get to the hospital when I deliver!

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