Tag Archives: taxi

Saturday Morning Relaxing

Here we go again!

My wife and I went to the store earlier and got bananas for these minimalist banana pancakes. Just blend bananas and raw eggs in a blender and the cook on the stove like a pancake. I was skeptical a couple months ago right up until I took a bite. If you like the taste of french toast and bananas, that’s what these pancakes remind me of.

One thing I’ve noticed shopping in the last year or so is the lack of ripe bananas. Is it the same where you are? The bananas are always a little green – green enough that you should probably wait a couple days. Sometimes the bananas are really, really green. As long as we keep buying them that way that’s the way they’ll give them to us.

Reminds me of a long ago episode of Taxi where Tony Danza and the guy who’s name I can’t remember – was he in Arachnaphobia? Jeff Daniels. Was he in taxi? Anyway… These two characters are talking about the vending machine at the taxi company where they work and how the apples are always overripe (I think). They’re strategizine about what they can do to remedy the situation. One of them says that if they just let them sit there, nobody does anything about it. They have to buy the apples in the front of the machine to get to the fresh ones in the back rows. They don’t want to buy the overripe apples because they’re not as good tasting as the fresh apples. One of the guys suggests that they go ahead and buy the bad apples in the front – what if they did that? The other says that that won’t work because if they buy those bad apples then the people who fill the machine will assume that they like those apples and will simply start to fill the machine with bad apples. I thought it was pretty funny, but maybe you had to be there.

Maybe we should stop buying from stores that have only unripe bananas on display. And then tell them about it. Just a thought…

We started using this banana pancake recipe because my sister-in-law suggested we try it. She’s had a lot of trouble finding food she can eat over the years, so we’ve been exposed to some ultrahealthy regimens. Also, my wife and I have experimented with different things on our own.

I was pretty fortunate growing up. No allergies, except penicillin. No serious health issues until I had gout about two years ago. It’s pretty astonishing all the different problems with food some people have.

We never HEARD of a peanut allergy when I was a kid. At least I don’t remember hearing it being talked about. I don’t recall anyone in our family being seriously allergic to any foods or even pollen, for that matter. Maybe a cousin. The oddest thing I remember about food in my family was my cousin Kevin went through a phase where he had his mom put everything into the blender. Steak, mashed potatoes, corn, corn flakes, peas, carrots, whatever. That seemed fairly odd to me and I never actually witnessed it. My dad didn’t seem to mind all his food getting mixed together on his plate, though it bothered my siblings and I. You’ve probably heard someone say what he said, “It all goes to the same place.”

Man, that just seemed ignorant to me and missed the point. I have tastebuds, dad!

One thing that many people have realized is an allergy to wheat may be causing problems that they simply accepted up to this point. My wife and son have a wheat allergy. I certainly don’t think I do. When they stay away from wheat, which is almost always these days, they don’t have headaches. My wife used to have migraines regularly when she was in her twenties and thirties, but not so much now. Staying away from wheat means that her migraines are nonexistent. That’s a pretty good indicator if you ask me.

I do seem to be allergic to bee stings, though I haven’t been stung since 1983. I went to the hospital and I remember my coworkers wondering what kind of a wimp I was that I had to stay away from work because of a bee sting. When they found out about the hospital, they realized that not everyone was like them. It was a brand new thing for me, too, as I had been stung by bees many times growing up. Never by a lot of bees. Almost always it was a single bee. I’m sure it was never more than two. I do remember being pretty scared walking home from school one day after being dropped off about 1/2 mile from home. There was a huge swarm of bees that went over my head and I think I ended up getting stung by one of them, but the really scary part was they seemed to be hanging around wherever I went. I think I just accidentally kept going “their way” and soon enough they were gone. That was the first time I remember seeing that many bees at once and I was alone. There didn’t seem to be anyone around, though I was in the “home stretch” of my walk home and safely (or so I thought) into our outer neighborhood. I guess being alone while apparently being pursued by bees was what made it scarier. Who would know if something really bad happened to me?

Back then we used baking soda to leech out some of the poison when we got stung. I would have a little bump that faded over the course of a few days. This happened time after time in my young life. No big deal.

Then one time, about 8 months before I went to the hospital, I got stung near the elbow and it was really itchy and I scratched it and it swelled up a lot more than normal. I think I remember having difficulty closing my arm the entire way. I had been stung a few months before that and that seemed slightly worse than normal, so perhaps I was working up to the bee sting of a lifetime.

My friend had a party and when it wound down I went outside to my car and opened the door. I had left the window cracked as I often did, because it was like normal that time of year – a nice, hot day in Escondido. Apparently, a bee had gotten inside my car, but the window wasn’t open quite enough for him to get out. I saw the bee flying over and over again at the space between the window and the metal portion of the car. When I opened the door, the be flew right up and stung me on the lip. This was a first. Another first was that within about 30 seconds my head started to feel like it was on fire and I was starting to have trouble breathing. I had to sit down on the sidewalk and my friend, Tom, and his girlfriend, Lucia, were there with me. In almost no time, my friend opened the front door to tell his dad and he said they needed to get me to the hospital. We got me in the back of my friend’s truck and Lucia held my head in her lap while Tom drove to the hospital. I prayed a little and really thought I might die. I was ready to go. I had never had this sensation before of losing the ability to breathe bit by bit. And I was never someone who had any sort of trouble standing, so just having to sit down before we left was weird, frankly.

The only other time I remembered not being in control of my body was when they gave me drugs to put me to sleep for a tonsillectomy. I passed out just as we pulled up to Palomar Hospital. I saw people waiting there and the next thing I knew I was waking up after they treated me. I don’t remember being panicky. I simply thought that my time had come and I was prepared to see God. In some ways, more prepared than I am now. I don’t mean that I’m not prepared, but I feel like I have things still to do.

Writing is likely one of the things that I have to do. The more I do it the better I feel. Now I’ve been writing every day since February 22, at least. You can’t always tell, because I can’t seem to get WordPress to start and end the day in my time zone. Right now, the new day starts at 4 pm my time. So, even though right now it’s 11 am, in five hours WordPress will tell me that it’s March 11th. I better hurry up and tell my niece Happy Birthday! I’ve only got five hours left!

The Dog Is Out Of Food

Since this is an exercise I decided to see where I go when I look around and see what’s happening in my world. This sort of reminds me of Anchorman where the character Brick, played by Steve Carell, looks around the room and says, “I love lamp”. Then Ron Burgundy says, “Brick, you’re just looking at stuff in the room and saying that you love it, aren’t you?” This was some wacky, bizarre humor and somehow it worked.

I guess that’s what goes on with morning pages. Somehow it works.

Where to from here, sir?

My brother drives a cab now. They say it’s one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. I think (I hope) that depends a lot on where you do your cabbie thing. San Diego County should be safe, right? My brother is pretty smart about it. He’s learned a lot in the last couple (has is been four?!) years driving the highways, freeways, and surface streets of North San Diego County. He’s had some bizarre experiences sort of along the lines of Ron Burgundy’s tale, but so far no news team fights.

He has surprised me with stories about other cabbies. My brother is decent and honest in the way he drives his cab. He’s had some people get out of his cab and say, “$40? Really? The last cabbie that took me this way charged me $60.” While they don’t all charge the same amount, there is a ballpark and whoever that cabbie was that overcharged that rider is likely to have cheated him instead of simply having a much higher rate.

One of my brother’s tips: Check the meter before the cab starts moving. Apparently some cabbies will not begin at the beginning and you might start out with $20 on the meter!

It never even occurs to my brother to do something like that. You charge what you charge and you might even charge more than the next guy, but what you charge is clear upfront and there is never a reason to be dishonest. My brother has been through some tough times financially in the last few years driving the cab, but he finally has his own vehicle. That means he doesn’t have to rent a cab from another company. He’s his own business now. And the economy, ever so slowly, is picking up. Really the main thing right now is he doesn’t have to pay a big chunk for cab rental. He still doesn’t make anything close to what he had hoped when he started years ago, but he’s honest and repeat customers realize that.

I’m urging him to put all of his tips for passengers onto a blog soon. Unless you take a cab often, you probably didn’t even think about checking the meter first. I know that I might not have.

He does run into his share of problem customers. Like those who have a discussion with him at the start of the ride and he makes very clear that he is cash only. At the end of the ride they hand him a credit card. He says he can usually tell about that kind of custormer now. Or the three guys who ran away when he got to their destination. One of the simpletons left his cell phone in the cab. My brother called him and went to return his phone the next day. The guy sheepishly apologized and payed him double. My brother is a decent guy and I don’t think people who ride in cabs to rip off cabbies don’t realize that they might be taking from someone who is that honest with his customers. I’m not saying my brother is the cheapest, but he’s honest about how much he charges.

Maybe people who run away from a cab after they get where they’re going don’t even think about the decency of the driver. Or maybe they’re cynical and think taxi drivers rip you off, so what the heck? My brother wasn’t raised that way. Neither was I. We’re not perfect, but taking too much money from a fare because they don’t know any better? Come on.

If I go into 7-Eleven and bring a Big Gulp to the counter, the cashier doesn’t say $9.50 and then when I say, “Hey, wait a minute…” does he change the amount to $1.59. He charges what it costs. When you’re getting into a cab, I suggest you be more cautious than when you go to the store. And I know sometimes they make mistakes.

My wife and I were in Costco about a month ago and the guy punched in the number wrong on some cheese stuff that I went to get. He thought he knew the number and I guess he did. BUT, he accidentally added a digit onto the number and instead of the price being $16.99, it was about $170.00. As soon as we stepped away from the cashier, we knew there was a problem and he apologized sincerely and twenty minutes later we were on our way. (That’s another story.)

But I guess I’m saying that besides occasional human error, there do seem to be some cabbies that will overcharge you on purpose and you need to watch out. I suggest that you ride with my brother. Maybe we’ll get his blog up soon and then he can even recommend good cabbies in other areas. I don’t mean to paint with too wide a brush, but what my brother has described to me seems more than random or “normal”.

I have a lot of experience in public cardrooms and casinos and it sounds similar to what I’ve experienced there. You might have seen some tournaments like The World Series of Poker on TV and maybe it looked exciting and fun. It can be. Yet my experience is that conservatively, there are about 15% more people who are similar to cabbies who overcharge in the casino than in the general public at large. Some are snakes.

And I recognize that that is true for some people anywhere in the world. The world is not filled with only angels. The world is filled with humans. Sinners, if you will.

It’s just that there seem to be a higher proportion who were not raised the way you might think driving cabs or in casinos. That’s my judgement and I’ll be happy to be proven wrong.

On the positive side, hopefully!