Tuesday, January 9, 2007

His own worst enemy

I was cruising through La Jolla on the way back to Pacific Beach looking for a fare. I rolled slowly past one bar that had several tiki torches leading to the front entrance where there was a patio with heat lamps radiating their red glowing warmth onto the people sitting at small round tables, smiling, leaning in toward each other, telling stories, laughing, chit chating about this and that. I noticed a group of guys gathered in front and there was some kind of commotion going on. I turned around and rolled slowly past again. There were four guys and it looked like two of them were being held apart, swaying, cursing, looking angry. One of the guys called out to me to pull over, so I slowly pulled up to the curb.

"hey buddy, can you take our friend out of here. He's really drunk and needs to get back to the base."

They wanted me to take their friend to North Island, the navy base at Coronado. That's a nice long ride so I was wanting the business; but, this guy was very drunk and was trying to fight one of his shipmates. Apparantly he had been starting fights with his friends for a while and wouldn't stop being an asshole. So that didn't sit very well with me. It turned out he didn't have any money and neither did his friends, or a least not very much. His friends weren't wasted like he was and the guy who hailed me was a nice guy and was pleading me to take him out of there. I was saying no. He was an ass and had no money. His friend offered me $15, but that was probably only a bit more than a third of what the fare was going to be. The guy who hailed me kept trying to talk me into it. He said there was a program for this kind of situation for navy guys who were stranded and needed to get back. He told me this guy definately had to get back on the ship before his curfew and didn't have a phone or money. He gave me a number and said all I had to do was to call the admiral tomorrow and I would be reimbursed. I kept saying I don't think so, but he was persuasive and this was when I was very new to driving a taxi and had recently had training from Yellow Cab and we were not legally supposed to turn down a fare like this. He also gave me his personal phone number in case I couldn't get paid. Nowadays I would have already been gone..., but I agreed and the drunk guy got in.

So off we go. He seemed o.k. at first and didn't say much, but when we got on the freeway things started to change. He asked me if he could smoke and I said "o.k.". Then he asked me if I had a light. I said no, I didn't have a one. "You got one right there in the ashtray". "No, I don't; look" and I showed him the hole where the lighter would have been had I had one. "Oh, bullshit, where is it you gotta have one," "Well I don't. We'll be there soon." He said, "Oh, I guess your just a homosexual. Homo's don't have lighters huh? Just a fucking homosexual is what you are, huh?" He kept up the name calling.

Well, I usually try not to let drunk assholes bother me. I just told him to relax and we'd be there very soon. He kept on talking shit to me and I didn't care. I was just minding the road and tuning him out. Then all of a sudden he's halfway climbing over the back seat and started reaching up under my radio and groping aroung under under the dash and under the steering column and under the shift column. I got pissed off and grabbed his arm, turned around and put him back in the back seat. I pointed my finger in his face and told him "Don't you EVER climb up here again. You got that?" And all of this going on at 70 miles per hour!

He got quiet for a moment as we were approaching downtown San Diego on the 5 south. Where we were at you could see the Holiday Inn Bayview off the south side of the freeway. "Hey, pull off and go to that Holiday Inn and I'm gonna get some matches.", he stated. I could just envision us pulling up to this hotel at almost two in the morninig, this wasted dude stumbling into the lobby and trying to get a pack of matches from the desk clerk, which they probably didn't have anyway. I just wanted to get this ride over with. "No man. Look, we're getting really close to the end of the ride. You don't even have any money to pay the fare. I'm not dragging this out. Just sit tight, I'll make it quick and you'll be on the base in no time, o.k?" He started calling me all kinds of names like asshole, homosexual, prick, etc. I knew this guy had to get back to the ship and I was the only way he was going to make it in time. I was doing this dumbass a favor. Hey, sticks and stones right?

At this point he started reaching up under the dash again looking for a lighter, I guess. I felt like this situation had to come to an end now. "Dude, you're getting the fuck out of my cab!"

I took the 10th st. exit into downtown. "Hey man what are you doing?" I was hauling ass now around the curve and approaching the intersection of 10th and A St. "I'm kicking your ass out of the cab." I pulled into the parking lot of a Shell gas station and said, "Get out".
He said, "Dude, you wouldn't do that man!"
"You want me to drive over to the police station right down the street?", I asked. "O.k., I'll get out". He opened the door, got out and screamed, "Douchebag!" and slammed the door. I yelled, "Fuck you!" and drove away.

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