Saturday, May 12, 2012

Riding in Cabs: A Manifesto

On the surface there is nothing about a cab ride that should be unpleasant. It's a nice private ride from once place to another that you pay a premium price for. One would expect that because of that premium price that the experience would also be top notch. Haha, you naive imbecile. While a cab ride is almost always faster than public transportation it is fraught with agonies that are far more infuriating than what you find on the train. The combination of these atrocities and the excessive cost almost always make me wish that I chose to leave earlier and taken the bus. I've taken the time to break down each element of a cab ride that makes me want to pound my head to a bloody pulp on the glass divider between the driver and myself.

The CTA is not world renowned for smelling like roses. Yet I would rather endure a faint smell of stale hobo piss over the all encompassing incense smell of most cabs. In the winter I find myself rolling the windows down immediately lest I start coughing my fucking lungs out thanks to the burning patchouli flanked by pine tree air fresheners sitting on the dash. I don't know what exactly cab drivers are trying to accomplish with this but every cab I've ever been in smells like the bedroom of a 15 year old trying to mask the smell of pot with every goddamn scent imaginable at once. It's hideous.

The Driver's "skills"
 I feel like this is such a well known fact that I don't even need to cover it, cab drivers are horrible drivers. Whether it is because they do not understand that the pedals do not need to be smashed to the ground in order to function or because they believe that sidewalks are a "bonus lane" every cab driver makes a mockery of the rules of the road. Despite having a steel stomach I have found cab drivers capable of giving me car sickness. I'll never understand why it is that the few people whose entire livelihood is based on their ability to drive CAN'T DRIVE. I can't help but giggle at that irony.

Refusing to turn around
Every once in a while you will run into the most bullheaded cab drivers on Earth. I've had drivers refuse to pick me up because I wanted to go the opposite direction of what we were facing. Now, I understand the annoyance of this, I hate backtracking, but it was at 3 in the morning and I had been looking for a cab for 20 minutes. And you know what happens while the cab drives around the block? I pay more money on the meter. Shut your goddamn mouth and make a little extra money you crybaby. 

The Chatty Cabby
I'm not the world's friendliest person. I don't enjoy making small talk with strangers just to do it. I'd much rather stare out the window and think about whatever it is that runs through my mind. Yet every once in a while you get the cabby who cannot shut up to save his life. Fine, I'll talk with you a little as long as you have something interesting to say. The problem is that this has happened twice ever. Actually, one of those was a limo driver who picked me up instead of a cab because he was bored, so really only once. And that guy had a tracheotomy and told me a story about shooting heroin and fucking hookers in Mexico City. Unless you're going to come strong like that please just shut your mouth. Yes, I'm going to the airport. I know it's terribly exciting and I am aware that Florida is warm this time of year. . . I should start offering to tip triple to get them to shut up. Don't make the mistake of keeping headphones on either, this just makes them yell louder.

Slowest routes ever
It is almost imperative that if you know the city you are in that you tell the cab driver exactly how to go. If you don't they will take the slowest possible route, even if you simply ask for the fastest. I have yet to meet a cabby in Chicago that doesn't try to drive through Boystown or Wrigleyville when the bars are closing, even if you are going nowhere near there. They just know traffic will be godawful and that means more bling bling for them. Also beware the driver who always says that it's better to avoid Lake Shore or the highway. He's frickin' lying.

The Shocking lack of Shocks
I've always wondered if cabs were even allowed to have shocks. In a city that is more pothole than road there is nothing more terrifying than a cab ride home from the bar when you trying to hold in a few gallons of recycled beer.

The Credit Card Debacle
This is by far the most infuriating situation of all. All Chicago cabs are required to allow you to pay by credit card, but you can rest assured the cabbies are going to make you wish you hadn't. Every time I start to use the card machine I start getting yelled at. "CASH! CASH! Please pay cash, machine is, uh, broken." When I explain that I don't have any cash this usually leads to the cabbie wanting to take me to an ATM. Come on dude, just let me pay with a card. "CASH CASH CASH!!!" After a few heated minutes they always relent and by some major miracle the credit card machine works perfectly fine! I know that they get charged a little for using a card and that's why I always, ALWAYS over tip when I use a card. I even tell them this. Of course, if they fight me about it than I undertip if I tip at all. There's no excuse to fight about this every single time, get over it.

There you have it. All of the reasons I hate Chicago Cabs in one nice organized list. Ah shit, I'm late. I spent too damn long writing this blog, now I'll have to take a cab to dinner. . . . and the vicious circle continues.

1 comment:

  1. There is also the Stabby Cabby (stabbed his customer in the face), Grabby Cabby (groped his customer, then threatened her outside of the cab), and the Shabby Cabby (cab that smelled so bad, and the fines were so high, the driver was deported back to Somalia). Also, I call the Chatty Cabby the Gabby Cabby because they get tickets for being on their cell phones.