Decisions & Pizzas
Thursday February 18th 2010, 3:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

There are many decisions in this job
Thousands of them per day
The most wearing of them are the second guessing ones
An hour into today and one has just walked out of a house
Heading for the cab
I was straining my neck through the side window
Trying to estimate her capability
My vehicle is high off the ground
Requiring the knee to draw level with the hips
As the foot is raised to climb in
You might be surprised how many people can’t do this
Bloody loads of them
We live in a very unfit world
This one is a woman approaching middle age
She has short legs
I started to open the door
But I hesitated too long
And she was almost upon the door
So I left her to it
The door opened
The first foot was lifted to floor level
Here we go
A big groan was emitted
And she was stuck halfway in and halfway out
Then she started the high pitched woooing
But there was nothing I could do for her
Other than get out and push her in by the arse
Once in she kept puffing out little climaxic phwoops
And I could tell that I was marked as one of those lazy cabbies
They don’t get out to help anyone
And they won’t be getting a tip

And then there is the flipside
I will see another woman who looks similar
And I will think
Better get out and kick out that step
“Oh…there’s no need for that” she will say
“I’m not drawing my pension yet”
And I can hear her saying to her friend quietly
“Cheeky bugger”
Damned if I do damned if I don’t
The usual cab drivers dilemma

I was sat at the rank
Pondering pizzas
Something that I rarely eat these days
It was an advert that I had just seen
“Hand made pizzas”
It seems that everything seems to have that extra dynamic sales patter these days
Even if it’s promoting a glaringly obvious aspect
Do machines make pizzas?
No…surely not
Several furlongs into my ponder
I changed my mind
Machines probably do make pizzas
There are some really bizarre factory machines on the go
Then I dreamed myself into a conference
The man on the podium was promoting his hand made pizzas
And I stood up to raise a question
“Err…so what is the benefit of a Handmade pizza over a machine made one?”
He just quietly stared at me
Nobody moved
Then somebody shouted
“They taste better”
“And how do you know that…
…have you put both of the same pizza in an oven and done a comparison”
“I don’t need to…he told me they taste better…
…so when I get home and I’m eating one…I just know”

Well that’s amazing
We really have evolved
We have actually achieved… Uritopia
Spoonbending mind over matter

Lead Time
Tuesday February 02nd 2010, 12:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

“It must be so stressful”
Is a comment regularly aired from passengers
The job…is what they are referring to
They are right
But I don’t think they quite grasp the mettle of it
I am sure that they are thinking about
Traffic and abuse
Which are part of it
But certainly a good cabbie will have the traffic thing under control
And the abuse can be managed
What are stressful are a whole range of things
And to me…the top one is ‘lead time’
‘Lead time’ occurs when you take a booking
You basically run into a point near to the booking when you can’t do anything else
Because it will cause you to overrun
So it is wasted time
And in these days of stiff competition
No taxi firm is going to charge for it

To give you an example
I will go back to the last post
And the Russians
To whom I was demonstrating classic mistakes of the sat nav
They got into the cab at the rank in the town centre
At this point I had one hour left before a pre-booked hospital account job
When they said Pulborough
I went into a trance and started driving off
£70 £70 £70 £70 £70 £70 £70
The finance numskulls invaded the bridge and took control of my brain
The sat nav soon told me that the whole journey
Would get me back to Brighton without a minute to spare
So there could be no mistakes
That pumps up the stress for the rest of the session
And so begins the brass section from Mission Impossible
It all went fine until that sat nav mistake
Which only cost me five minutes
But which cranked the stress up one more notch
I dropped the Russians at the address
Spun around and headed back
Checking the clock and the sat nav prediction
I should just do it
Then I noticed
The fuel gauge
Oh fuck no!
The nearest rememberable gas station was too far away
So I turned to the sat nav for help
And the stress liquid rose up the tube
The nearest fuel stop was a two mile detour
I budgeted a five minute delay and hit the pedal
I wilted on approach
At the dark…shuttered…closed station
Option 2 was next
Two minutes of attacking driving through a single track lane
Lead me to what looked like a farm yard with a petrol pump
In darkness
I gave up and rang the office
Told them that I was stuck in some awful evening traffic
And handed the the whole stressful package back
The brass stabs stopped…and I could breathe again

Five minutes later
I got a call from the office
They couldn’t cover it and gave me it back
I looked at the clock
ETA would be twenty minutes late
Now I had a new problem
Because it was on a Sunday
The usual man for this job was unobtainable
Only he knew the pick up route exactly
My only hope of pulling this off
Was that the first pick up had had the patience to wait for me
For only they would know where to go for the other pick ups
And then I would be responsible for a whole group of missing NHS staff
Twenty gripping self absorbed minutes later I arrived at the church
There was nobody there
That was a relief in itself
As I was knackered from the tension
But then she suddenly appeared
And the whole thing was back on again

This is one example
Of something that is a daily occurrence to varying degrees
The office refers to it as “Stacking”
And forbids us to do it
But they have no control over the hackney fares
So just like a lot of the other drivers who give it some effort
Every day will involve one or more heated drives
Contributing to the many facets that erode ones energy