Yo, Peeps

Yin and Yang.

The reason I started in the limousine game in the first place was to meet people.

Working at home, alone, was driving me slowly insane. In the absence of anything resembling a social life, taking an evening and weekend job was logical. Although I rant a little here, I’m glad of the experience. Doing something outside my comfort zone is good for my brain, creating new pathways or synapse links or whatever the heck happens up there.

People are the upside and the downside of life. People can make your day, and people can ruin your day (if you allow them). Driving has meant I have met people I would never have found before, and every new person gives a slightly different slant on life.

At one point I thought I was a good judge of character, but now I know different. In fact, I have stopped judging people altogether, given how past snap decisions have done them and me a disservice. Thesedays I simply watch, observe, look, question and remain neutral.

After a while, people will show you their true nature.

Read This

Door-opening-ready jobs.

Caddylights

Reading other people’s minds is one of the many skills the professional limousine driver needs to succeed in his chosen field.

It works like this. You will collect a couple, or three, or four, knowing that they want to start their evening at a particular restaurant or bar. On Harry’s trip sheet, it’s usually referred to as:

Take from residence to Mongrel Grill for dinner, then as directed.

It’s the “as directed” part that sometimes gets messed up.

You know you’re in for a big night when they say, Nah, forget about the Mongrel Grill, we don’t want to go there. Where’s the action in town tonight? Take us there.

Great. Now I’m responsible for the success or failure of their evening, with the resulting effect on everyone’s mood. In this part of Florida there IS nowhere to go on a Tuesday night. Alright, maybe a handful of places that might have some live music and atmosphere, but come on people, the average age here is 231. Dinner service is over at most places by 6:45.

Once they’ve had a few adult beverages, things loosen up. They usually start being more chatty, but also more forgetful. I receive the call to collect them from one place, and everyone piles in. I often just start driving, because it’s not my position to start demanding answers. At some point, someone will shout “Hey, where are you going?” to which I always say, “Sir, wherever you want.” Some form of instruction usually follows.

WHY DON’T YOU JUST TELL ME WHERE YOU WANT TO GO WHILE I’M HOLDING THE DOOR OPEN FOR YOU, YOU IDIOT?

Boy, that feels better.

What’s worse than a fool? A drunk fool in a limousine.

No Border

Visit Florida.

StretchExcursion

Question: How many people can you fit into this limousine?

Answer: 24.

It’s completely illegal, of course, as the beast is only licensed for 16 punters. But when it’s a sunny Saturday and the event is a Mexican wedding, then who am I to be the Limousine Grinch?

I’m rapidly learning that different cultures have remarkably different norms, especially in social situations. Mexican folks apparently don’t put much stock in the tradition of the bride being given away by her father. I was chatting to the father – well, trying to understand him, as I don’t speak Spanish – beforehand, and the gist of it was that his role was limited. It was her mother we had to wait for at the church, and it was her mother who gave the final assent for the hitching to go ahead.

It was a Catholic ceremony, as one would expect. The groom, when he appeared with his new bride an hour and a half later, looked as if he had seen a ghost. He honestly seemed shell-shocked: blank faced, silent, wide-eyed. It was as if he was a wild animal freshly captured for the amusement of everyone else.

Rather an apt metaphor for his wedding day don’t you think?

The funniest part of the day was the “videographer.” This guy ran the entire show, choreographing the arrival of the limousine, the opening and closing of doors and pretty much everything else. When the wedding party emerged from the chapel he shooed them all back inside so he could get a better angle.

In twenty years the happy couple will relive it and marvel at how wonderful everything was. But on the day they were tired, hungry, stressed and feeling powerless. At least we stopped for cokes and corn chips on the way to the reception. That cheered everyone up no end.