Yesterday I began my second career: I’m driving a taxi for Handy Delivery in State College. Now, if I’m going to drive a cab, there could be no better company in our area to work for. Handy Delivery is owned by the Byers family, and they’re just really good people. Since the ’70s, Handy Delivery has been pretty much the only taxi company around these parts. (Several other companies have popped up in recent years, but they’re no Handy Delivery.) Not only do they have cabs, but they also provide courier and delivery services, and administer the Centre Ride service in conjunction with the Centre Area Transportation Authority. That’s a fare-reduced ride-sharing service for those who have trouble getting around on their own. so I’m glad to be associated with Handy Delivery.
Driving a taxi is not as complex as was driving a Lincoln Town Car for Mears Transportation in Orlando. That was a luxury sedan service, and I only did that for a short time because I went to work for the public radio station.
But driving a taxi is a bit more complicated than you might think. For one thing, you have to know where you’re going. And even when you know a town as well as I know State College, there’s always a road or an apartment complex or something with which you’re unfamiliar. For instance, because this is, obviously, a university town, and the Penn State athletic teams are the Nittany Lions, there’s are many permutations of that in apartment names. There’s Nittany Crossing, Lions Gate, Nittany Gardens, Lion Crossing… you get the idea.
And there’s a good deal of record-keeping that goes with it as well, both for the company and for the Public Utility Commission.
But I have to say, at least after my first driving shift, I really enjoy it. I met a lovely woman and her daughter, who were visiting from Houston. The daughter is narrowing down her college search, and they had both fallen in love with Happy Valley. I did my best to keep up their enthusiasm. There was a professor in from Chicago to attend a conference, a woman returning to Philadelphia (I took her to the bus station) after a visit with her daughter, a very pleasant lady who needed a ride to church, and others.
But there was also the Penn State student and his friend. I picked them up at the emergency room at about 5:45 AM. The night before, they had been drinking. A lot. One of them passed out, and when his friend found him to be completely unresponsive, called the ambulance. From what I could gather, if the friend hadn’t called 911, the kid may well have become another sad student-death-from-alcohol-poisoning statistic.
So this will be interesting. My hours over the next couple of days will be brutal: I have to do show prep, and then I’m on the air from 3 – 5 PM. Then I’ll drive from 6 PM – 4 AM. And then I’ll repeat the cycle for another day. Not sure how I’ll do it, exactly, but I don’t have any choice. I imagine my clientele will be a bit different too, working during the bar-closing hours. I just hope I don’t have to clean out the cab very often, if ya know what I mean. But if I do, that’s why God invented Febreeze.
- This is said to be The Best Optical Illusion Ever. But for some reason I can’t see it. If you can, please let me know how.
- If you, like I, think cilantro is a scourge upon the Earth, you might want to know that we have a support group. Or at least a website. I realize some people actually eat this vile, soap-flavored crud, and if you’re one of them, you won’t be interested in Ban Cilantro
- When I saw a sign like this on one of those annoying hot air hand dryers in a restroom, I actually guffawed. Started out with a chortle, and then it became a full guffaw. So click here, print, cut out, and paste it on the next hand dryer you see.
- Beware thermal imaging cameras at airports! This video will bring out the giggling 12-year-old boy in everyone — even 55-year-old women:
Call me if you need a ride! -Steve