Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I gotta take a piss

It's true; I do.

I drive twelve hours a day on the streets, and it's not always easy finding a place to take a pee break. New York doesn't have much in the line of public restrooms. Something the city has tried to fix. They recently opened a pay toilet in Madison Square park, but it closes at midnight. To prevent people from fucking in there, I guess. As if people can't fuck before midnight. Other than that, I know of no other public toilets. There are a few here and there in parks, such as Bryant Park, but there's a catch.

There has to be legal parking nearby.

A parking place and a reasonably clean toilet are not always easy to find nearby each other. But, over the years I've found a few places. There is a deli on Lex between 71st and 70th. They cater to cabbies. They have a clean toilet and a decent salad bar. And, get this, the salad bar is all you can fit into a container for only four bucks. The cabbie special. I eat there often. At Lex and 41st is another deli that has a cabbie special. The salad bar is half off, but they are so damned overpriced, it's still a tad expensive. If I've already eaten, I'll stop at one of these places and just grab a candy bar or something. Usually peanut M&M's. Diet, what diet?

Gas stations are also good. Some are hostile, and don't like cabbies using the restroom, some are OK with it, some expect us to purchase something, some (most) don't clean often enough. I've stopped in at hospitals before. I just tell them that it's an emergency. A few times I've used the restroom in a police precinct. Only in a dire emergency, though. That's enemy territory.

A number of times, I've gone into a bar and asked nicely if I could use their restroom. Only once have I been given grief. On East Broadway at the 169 Bar. The bartender told me quite emphatically that if I wasn't buying then I wasn't peeing. I pleaded that I was a cabbie and desperate. She said OK, but to never return. Now, if a passenger ever asks me to take them to 169 Bar, I tell them that it's a total fucking dive and that they should go somewhere else. Don't piss off the cabbies.

If a fare takes me out to Park Slope, I just stop by the taxi garage. On the rare occassions that I take someone to Bay Ridge, I just go home. I've called my girlfriend past midnight before when I was in Sunset Park. I've called friends and borrowed their bathrooms a number of times.

Once, I used a coffee cup. It was more difficult than I thought, so I haven't tried it again. Some drivers use bottles, but the coffee cup was difficult enough for me. There is a story floating around my garage of an old-time cabbie we call Superhack. Allegedly, he used a bottle while still driving, and while glancing down to check his progress, rearended the car in front of him. How he did not get fired is beyond me.

And, a few times, shamefully, I used the gutter. I'm not proud of it, but I would have been less proud of pissing my pants. Only once was I caught. A lady told me that I was disgusting. I told her that she was correct, I am.

More than once, I needed to go pee, but had no place nearby where I could stop. So, I picked up a fare, thinking I'd go afterwards, just to have them take me way the hell out to the Bronx or East New York. Half way there I'd be squeezing my knees together, wondering if it would be bad form to make them wait while I took a pit stop. My buddy Big D actually has done that once. He just pulled into a gas station and told his passenger that he was desperate. The lady told him, "If you gotta go, you gotta go." What a sweetheart.

I've had the occasional urinary tract infection since I've been a cabbie, and now I have kidney stones. Go figure.

At least I drive the night shift. The day guys have it even harder.

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