SEEING AS HOW I'VE BLOGGED ALL OF 3 TIMES IN 2012, THERE'S clearly been a whole slew of BobCab stories I've failed to share with you this year. But that's all about to change, as you'll soon find out. (I'll be blogging at least twice a week in 2013, for reasons I'll explain later.)
So in the interest of remembering the classic moments and my favorite people from this year before they fade away into the mystic mist of my swiss cheese memory, allow me to share with you my personal, odd little BobCab Best & Worst List for 2012.
Best BobCab-Related Christmas Present: Hearing that my longtime regular, UT Connie, found a copy of Barstool Poetry waiting for her under the Christmas tree. Apparently it was on the Christmas list Connie gave her mom, who must've purchased our book on Amazon. Hopefully before Connie's mom wrapped it she didn't flip through the book and stumble upon poems like "Neon Noodle Dick" and "My Scrotum Is a Walnut." Sorry, mom.
Worst Excuse For a Classy Blonde: The coked out – or was it just the West 6th Street vodka? – marketing girl in her late 30s who thought it'd be funny to bitch slap the mini disco ball hanging from my rearview mirror. Knocked it right off. Yeah, that's hilarious, girl. That disco ball was never the same and soon fell apart. If you know where I can find a replacement, I'm all ears. That's right, I loved that baby disco ball. When the sun hit it just right, that thing threw off a thousand tiny lights dancing across my taxi. Besides, a disco ball in the cab is usually good for a few extra happy points.
Best Credit Risk: Wild Phil, the local handyman and occasional crack connoisseur who owes me $10 bucks from our last delightful ride back to his house in South Austin. He was hammered and cash-free the last time I took him home, but I know he's good for it. First time I ever drove Wild Phil home he didn't have enough to cover the full fare back to his apartment . . . so I dropped him off as far as his $10.50 would take him, near Robert E. Lee about a half-mile from his place. "I don't want to set a precedent of you thinking you can take advantage of me," I told him. He said he respected that and Wild Phil has been calling me – and paying up, with the occasional generous tip – ever since. And he's been known to pound out the occasional kickass drum solo on the passenger seat headrest with my drumsticks when Keith Moon lays into "Baba O'Riley."
Worst Memory of the Year: Watching a flat-on-her-back drunk sorority girl getting run over by a car a few months ago. When I pulled up to the corner of 8th and Trinity about 13 minutes after the bars had closed, I noticed the rear tires of a Camry-sized car running over a pair of legs and a torso like they were human speed bumps. Within seconds the car was pulled over, a cop was hovering over the girl – so fast that my initial reaction was, "Holy shit, a cop ran that girl over!" – and maybe a half dozen of us were frozen in horror, wondering if the girl in her Thursday night party dress was dead or dying.
Best Happy Ending to a Nightmare: Several weeks later one of my semi-regulars, an Austin-raised UT coed we'll call Lynn, told me the girl who got run over that night was a fellow Pi Phi – and she was somehow alright! "I think she might have had some bruised or broken ribs, I'm not sure," Lynn told me. "I know she was real sore." I was relieved to hear she had survived unscathed. But the memory of seeing the wheels roll over that girl's body haunted me for days. And to add even more gravitas to the situation, Lynn had called me sobbing that same night – maybe 20 minutes after I'd seen her friend get run over – looking for a ride to see her dying grandmother in Georgetown. The next morning I found a tiny metal Buddha someone left in my cab. Ommmmm . . . .
Worst Reaction to a 6th Street Drunk Jumping On My Cab: A jolly jackass jumps on the hood of my cab as I inch along 7th Street, dodging frustrated drunks who can't get a cab in the frenzied minutes after the bars have closed. Instead of calmly asking him to get off, I throw the car in park without bothering to pull to the curb, grab my trusted drumsticks and rush out of the cab like a madman to have a word with the stunned hood jumper – leaving the 2 UT foreign exchange students in my back seat equally as stunned. The anti-om. My bad, guys.
Best Apology to the Worst Reaction: This was my open letter to the jolly jackass. The 2nd of only 3 blog entries I've written in all of 2012. (Before today.) Possibly the best writing I've done all year.
Worst Barter Offer In Lieu of Payment: A geriatric black tranny with big hands and a Marilyn Monroe fetish stumbled out of Oil Can Harry's and into my backseat several months ago. A few miles into our ride up to North Austin, s/he slurred something about giving me "all kinda rubbin', lickin', strokin', pokin' – whatever you wants, baby." Umm . . . no, thanks. When it came time to pay up the old fashioned way, Big Black Marilyn weaved her way back to his apartment to get a credit card. Ten minutes later I called Austin's finest, who showed up promptly, to make sure I wasn't getting stiffed. After knocking on a few doors, the cops got him/her to come back out in a silk robe, clutching a credit card – minus the platinum blonde wig, looking every bit like a retired '70s era NFL linebacker. Props to the cop who guilt tripped Big Black Marilyn into tipping me 20% for my troubles.
Best Follow Up Ride With a Customer I Met Last Year: In 2011 I picked up this native son the night before he was set to fly to L.A. to start recording his first major label album. At that point I'd never heard of the guy, being new in town and all. Didn't even know he was a musician when he told me about the first time he ran into Jenna Bush as a freshman in the halls of Austin High. This year when I picked him up – yet again on Dirty 6th after the bars had closed, this time during SXSW – I had become a big fan of his music. As had the prez, apparently, who gave the kid a standing-O after a performance at the White House since I'd last seen him. He might be a limos, tour buses and private jets kinda guy from here on out.
Worst BobCab-Related Injury: The bruised shoulder and sore jaw I suffered when got hit by an unopened Coors Light that came flying into my driver's side window early this year. It was a quiet Friday night as I rolled slowly down Red River, just past 5th Street. Without warning, this speeding beer can rained down from the heavens – or, more likely, the 4-story parking structure across the street. The beer can missile slammed into my right shoulder – the closest I've ever felt to being shot – then ricocheted off the passenger seat, bounced back and cracked me in the jaw before exploding in a geyser of beer foam on the floor. I looked up and there wasn't a soul to be seen. A true low point in my cabbie career. Don't throw shit off parking structures, people. Drink your beers – don't chuck them at strangers!
Best BobCab Pit Stop: Sometimes my customers will invite me into their homes for a little non-alcoholic refreshments or a trip to the loo. Last month I parked my cab and was invited into the backyard of this guy, one of my favorite local musicians. Sitting at a picnic table reading a poem from Barstool Poetry to another musician buddy was this guy, yet one more talented musician who I'm now a HUGE fan of. The 3 of them were going on and on about how much they loved the book and how inspired they were by it. So inspired, in fact, that after I jotted down a title – "Whiskey Dick" – on one of the blank napkins at the back of the book, David took the book and the pen that came velcroed to the cover and cranked out a poem right there on the spot. "That might be the most honest thing I've written all year," he confessed. Then the 3 of them piled in my cab, Barstool Poetry book in tow, and set out for some Eastside fun. Their mission: write a bunch of titles on the 12 remaining blank napkins at the back of the book, then solicit a collection of strangers at Liberty Bar and the White Horse to write a poem inspired by their titles. When I picked them up a few hours later, they were drunk and happy, satisfied with the evening's output. "I couldn't believe how open people were to writing poems," David slurred as we pulled into the Wendy's drive-thru. "I thought all those hipster poseurs would be too cool to do it." We'll try to post some of those poems from their night out at BarstoolPoetry.com in the next few weeks. In the meantime, check out all the music you can from Josh Halverson and David Ramirez.
Worst News For Cowboy Fans: During football season I picked up a couple Baylor grads in town to see UT lose again. I asked them if they knew Bob Griffin 3 and one of the guys said he tutored him in U.S. history for a while. "Good guy. Smart. Worked hard. Real down to earth. No attitude like a lot of those football guys." Sorry, Cowboy fans. Not only does the kid have crazy talent, but he's a smart, good guy on top of it. Confirmed in a cab ride to DKR. It's gonna be a long 10-15 years in Jerryville.
Best Substitute For a Customer Appreciation Party: Last year we had a Customer Appreciation Party at our house in Hyde Park. This year the closest we got to a big social gathering with some of our favorite BobCab customers was last month's Barstool Poetry book launch and party at Star Bar. A pretty diverse group of over 50 people showed up – from some of our favorite UT and St. Ed's regulars to our favorite retirees from Houston to a guy who bought a book on his way to see Radiohead this summer to many of my favorite working stiff regulars, including Dave, who liked Barstool Poetry so much several months ago that he offered to make the Star Bar event happen in the first place. (Thanks, Dave!) The feedback from the event has been so great – and so many poems were written that night – that we've decided to publish another book of Barstool Poetry. This one will be much smaller than this version, consisting of the 50 poems that were written that night. We'll be unveiling the new book at our next Barstool Poetry night, hopefully on the last Friday night in January, at a cool bar yet to be determined.
Stay tuned, y'all.
Hope everyone has a safe and satisfying New Year's Eve. I'll be out there driving your drunk asses home, trying to make a buck again after 3 weeks of vacation.
Here's to a healthy, happy 2013!