Maybe it's just me, but I'm never quite sure how to act when someone has sex in the back of my taxi. I can try to ignore it and just focus on the road, but sometimes, I try so hard not to think about it that I end up thinking about it even more. Like when someone tells you not to think of a pink elephant and it makes you think of a pink elephant? That's how it is with sex in the back of my cab.
I remember the first time it happened: a young couple flagged me down in front of Hurricane's Bar and Grill. I could tell they'd just met. They got in and asked me to turn up the radio. I did. They started kissing. After a mile or so, they became really quiet. I glanced in my rear-view mirror and saw the guy with his head tilted back and his eyes closed. At first, I thought maybe he had just passed out; it's not unusual for people to pass out in a cab after a night of partying. A few blocks later, though, I glanced over my shoulder to change lanes and saw the woman's head bobbing up and down in the guy's lap. Was she . . . ? I glanced over my shoulder again. Yes, she was.
I didn't know what to do, so I just kept driving. Suddenly, her face popped up in my rear-view mirror. "I'm hungry," she said. "Let's hit Del Taco."
I've been driving a cab for nearly a year now. It started out as a temporary job, a way to earn some quick cash while I got back on my feet after a run of bad luck. An injury, an insurance-company runaround and car trouble left me low on cash and looking for work. I had spent the previous year learning how to do Hollywood-type lighting, but with my injury, I couldn't do the really heavy lifting that's part of that job until I got minor surgery. My savings were dwindling. I opened the want ads and saw three words that I couldn't ignore: CASH PAID DAILY.
I started driving at the airport and was trained by a guy named Ralph, one of the few honest cab drivers around. He taught me a lot of little tricks of the business and gave me an idea of what to expect. Among other things, he said, I'd never see anyone having sex in my car.
The thought had never even occurred to me. I'd never heard of that happening; I hadn't seen or even heard of the HBO Taxicab Confessions show. A week later, I picked up that couple in Huntington Beach and proved Ralph wrong.
I've been thinking lately about why people act the way they do in cabs. Some people get in and introduce themselves and start talking to me. These are the people who make the job fun. Other times, people completely ignore me; it's as if I'm invisible. Sometimes, these are businesspeople working on something, and they're just focused on their project. I understand that. Other times, it's that they really view taxi drivers as subhumans.
The worst are guys like the two I picked up one night in Newport Beach. They were in their mid-30s, wearing dress shirts and ties, headed to the Yard House. Other than telling me their destination, they didn't say a word to me. The entire ride they were quoting Britney Spears lyrics and talking about how great she is and how they were going to pick up women at the bar by quoting Spears' lyrics. Seriously. At the end of every sentence, one guy would say, "Ooops," and the other guy would immediately say, "I did it again." I almost had to kick them out of the cab. Even a lowly taxi driver can stand only so much abuse. There are a lot of rich losers in Newport Beach.
Not everybody in Newport acts like that, of course. Early in my taxi career, I picked up a couple at a restaurant. She was a short, drop-dead-gorgeous blonde, and he was an average-looking guy, both in their mid-20s. They asked me where the nearest strip joint was. They started kissing as soon as I took off. I wasn't even into Costa Mesa when I glanced in my mirror to see his head tilted back and his eyes closed. I knew this guy wasn't asleep.
I just kept driving and acting as professional as possible, but it was hard to ignore the slurping sounds. A couple of minutes later, I heard her moan softly. Now, that's a pretty hard thing to do with your mouth full. I glanced over my shoulder again and saw her straddling him, facing backward, rocking her hips. By this time, I'm sporting wood, totally amazed by the fact that two people I don't know are screwing right behind me.
Before long, the sound and the aroma of sex filled the cab. They finished just as I pulled up to the club. The woman leaned forward to pay me and asked, "You wanna come in for a drink?"
I froze. "Uhhhhhhhh," I stammered.
"I guess that's a 'no,'" she giggled, as she bounced out of the car.
I was really shy growing up, and I've managed to overcome it for the most part, but sometimes I still feel so out of my element that I freeze up and don't know what to do—so I blow an opportunity like that one.
The main reason I usually don't take people up on their party offers, though, is the competitive nature of the taxi business here. Drivers lease their cabs for exorbitant amounts of money and have to work 12 to 16 hours per day to make a living. Most new drivers lose money the first few weeks. If a driver takes a few hours off to go party, that driver won't make money that day. That's the main reason I don't take people up on their offers—and I get a lot of offers.
I've gained 65 pounds while driving a cab, and women still flirt with me. About a month ago, I picked up two wealthy Newport women who asked me to take them to the seediest part of Orange County. They had me stop so they could buy beer on the way, and it was only midafternoon. I drove them to a motel in Stanton. They said they wanted to have a "wild time" all night and asked if I wanted to come along. I declined; I wanted no part of that dysfunctional duo.
But sometimes the offers are too good to pass up. One night, at about 2:30 a.m., I pulled up to a Jack in the Box drive-through in Newport. In front of me, standing at the menu board, trying to order, was a long-legged blonde in a black minidress. The guy wouldn't take her order because she wasn't in a car. She asked if she could jump in the cab, and I said, "Sure." The guys in the cars ahead of me and behind me were yelling, trying to pick her up. As we waited in line, she said she was a model for Sexsea, and she'd gone to a party after a trade show. She bought my dinner, and then her friend, another model, jumped in to scarf down her food. It's amazing how women will pig out when there's no one around they want to impress. They were both smarter and cooler than the stereotypical model. We talked for 20 minutes or so, and then they went on their way. It's not every day a model buys me dinner.
I see a lot of boobs as a cab driver. I'm not sure why, but I'm not complaining. One time, at an after-hours club, a couple jumped in for a five-minute ride home. In that short span of time, the woman's top disappeared. She had a trench coat on, but the front was wide open. She paid the fare topless, a glow stick hanging around her neck, illuminating her large breasts.
Another time I picked up a couple at Gallagher's Pub and Grill in Huntington Beach. They were only going about 10 blocks, and the fare was around $3. The guy realized he only had a dollar and some credit cards on him. I told him to give me the dollar and not worry about it. He insisted on going into the house to find some cash so he could tip me. He left his beautiful girlfriend as collateral and stumbled, drunk, into the house. The girlfriend was really cool, and we joked around while we waited for him. After about five minutes, he came back out, gave me 9 bucks, and shook my hand. As his girlfriend got out of the car, he said, "This guy's really cool, hon. Show him your tits." The amazing thing is that she did. You gotta love those new-school halter tops.
One of the crazier incidents I've witnessed started at Aysia 101 on a Friday night. Three very good-looking but very loud women jumped into my taxi, shouting at everyone around them and making fun of all the rich Newport guys. I had barely pulled away from the club when one of them yelled, "I want to suck some Orange County guy's cock tonight!" She paused a moment and then said, "Hey, driver! You're from Orange County, right?"
"Yeah," I replied. She slithered over the seat and started to tell me she was cute and I was cute. I tried to ignore her because quite a few women toy with drivers, and most jump out of the car like nothing happened when the ride's over. It's just a game to amuse them in the cab, I guess. But my indifference pissed her off. She told me she had great breasts. I gave her another cynical glance. Suddenly, she pulled her top up to reveal the most perfect pair of breasts I'd ever seen. "They're really big, aren't they?" she asked. Her friends roared with laughter. She told me to pull over in an alley, saying she had to get someone.
While we were waiting, her belligerent friends started yelling at some people standing nearby. The people yelled back, and I suddenly found myself in the middle of a nine-person, coed brawl. Some guy slammed one of the women down on my hood. Other women were clawing and pulling one another's hair. I got kicked in the head a few times trying to pull two women off one of my passengers. Within minutes, we were surrounded by five police cars and spotlighted by a helicopter. Miss Perfect Boobs had slipped off in the melee. The passenger who started the whole thing suddenly lamented that the incident might hurt her chances of getting into the FBI.
That fiasco happened pretty early in my taxi career, and I didn't think I'd ever top it. But a few weeks later, I was the first cab in line outside an after-hours club when a sharp-dressed guy walked up and asked me if I'd ever heard of a certain professional athlete. The sharp dresser said that the athlete was around the corner of the building and needed a ride. I pulled around the building, and the man and a beautiful brunette jumped in the car. They were going to Ontario and asked me how much it would be. Since this guy was a serious athlete, I hoped he wouldn't bail on the fare when they got to Ontario. But I didn't ask for any money up-front, which is standard procedure for long, late-night rides. I asked him if his girlfriend was cold, since it was a chilly night. He laughed and said, "She'll be warm soon enough."
Now, we've all heard plenty of stories of pro athletes living the rock-star life and going crazy and being complete assholes. That wasn't the case with this guy. After a couple of minutes, they came up for air, and he asked if they were bothering me. I said that as long as they paid the fare at the end and didn't mess up the cab, nothing bothered me. He said, "Well, if we do anything that does bother you, let us know and we'll stop." He said they'd been kicked out of a cab once for messing around. I assured him that I'd let him know if they did anything offensive. Within a few minutes, the windows started steaming up.
Like before, I glanced over my shoulder to change lanes a couple of minutes later, and I saw her going down on him. I focused on the road more than usual because it's real easy to get distracted by people having sex nearby. It was 4 a.m., still dark out, and I'd been working since noon the previous day. Just staying awake and on the road took all my concentration. I felt them moving around in the back and suddenly felt something against my hip. My cab had bucket front seats with a space between them. I looked down and saw her leg resting against my hip and then looked back to see her straddling him and bouncing furiously. She was bumping against me with every thrust, and it was getting really hard to keep my eyes on the road, especially since the windows were completely fogged at this point. Luckily, they changed positions quickly. The ride took about 45 minutes, and those two went nonstop the whole way. They tried every position and orifice possible in a moving car. At one point, he was thrusting so hard that the entire car was bouncing. I was glad I had a new cab with good shocks.
They went at it so hard they had me stop for water a few blocks before I dropped them off. Then I took them home. The athlete shook my hand, thanked me for being so cool, and gave me $160 for the $95 fare. Somehow, they didn't even mess up the cab—other than the fact I had to burn three sticks of incense to get rid of the sex smell.
After a year of cab driving, I'm still pretty broke, but I have lots of stories. So, here's one more for the road: while talking with a stripper who was a regular customer of mine, I found out I knew the bartender at the club where she worked. That seemed like a good enough excuse to take a break and go into the club for a bit. In typical taxi-driver fashion, I pretty much ignored the women and gave my card to the bartender, hoping for some business.
The club was packed. After I talked to the bartender, I looked around. Suddenly, the dancer I know came up and jumped on my lap. She had a few drinks in her and was a lot friendlier than usual. She put her arm around me and introduced me to a couple of the other dancers. I noticed the guy next to me staring in amazement at the special treatment I was getting. She sat on my lap and talked for a few minutes before heading back to work.
The guy next to me was still staring and asked me what that was all about. "I drive her to work," I said. "I'm her taxi driver."
He shook his head in disbelief. "Forget the Ferrari," I told him. "If you want to meet beautiful women, get a taxi."