Friday, February 1, 2008

Super Bowl weekend ...

Everybody wants one in their town. NO one wants it in their town. It brings a gazillion/million $$ in revenue to their town. We should all want to just run out and buy everything in sight so we can commemorate this momentous event. What are you cooking/serving for half-time? Do you have a large enough digital TV to encompass every single play/call/sideline feint?

Oh, my goodness, I don't know if my heart is strong enough to take all of the hype!

Tongue in cheek aside, I have a couple of strong (maybe semi-strong) views about this weekend ... ... ...

The first has to do with when, as a taxicab driver, Houston hosted a Super Bowl.

For weeks prior, "we" (cab drivers) were checked often for valid ID, our cabs were inspected for cleanliness, did we know the routes, etc. & et al. Did we know that we were never to leave our cabs untended? Did we know that we were 'restricted' from picking up in certain areas? Did we know how to speak English? Did we know how to open the door for our customers and smile? Did we know how to make change? Did we know where the stadium/customer's hotel was? Etc., etc., etc., etc.

I am not exaggerating here. The (seemingly) unending barrage of "How-to's", "What-for's", "Why-not's", "What-if's" went on .. and on ... and on .... and on.

"Houston is going to be in the spotlight!" was the watchword of the several weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. We (cab drivers) were well aware of that fact, as was every OTHER person living in Houston! There were a 'gazillion/million' $$ to be made ... needless to say, we were all in high anticipation! (Supposedly, this high revenue was to begin -- theoretically -- two weeks prior to the actual big day.)

Well, MY business slowed almost to the point of non-existence -- I kid you not! I had a number of "regular" business customers, at that time, who were forced to postpone or even cancel their projected trips to Houston because they could not be assured that a hotel room would be available should they have to stay overnight.

Meanwhile, back at Super Bowl "hype" ranch, we were supposed to be receiving all of these wonderful extra visitors to Houston from out of town. They would be needing cab service to & from their hotels/restaurants/etc. Well, we waited for the influx of new customers. Then, most of us waited some more. And waited even more.

Many of these new -- albeit temporary -- customers had already pre-arranged for limo/private car service. Some of the regular cab drivers (of which I was one, of course)actually had the opportunity to meet, greet and drive some of them.

There was nothing wrong with that, I hope you understand. It's just that there had been so much hype prior to the actual event, so much anticipation and preparation -- I think we all thought that there would be just a "ton" of business. (And there was, actually, but so many 'temporary' drivers/buses/limos/etc. had been added to the normal mix -- in fear of [I guess] not having enough drivers/transport to accommodate everyone -- that there wasn't nearly enough extra business to go around.)

ExCEPT for the weekend itself, which will be starting in Arizona tonight!! Boy, I hope all those drivers out there have gotten their sleep, because -- from here on through Sunday, guys, you are going to be busy!!! I don't care HOW many extras have been thrown into the mix ... go make that $$$$$!!

My second thought is, "I'm sorry, Patriots fans, but I hope your team does not win Sunday." I don't have anything against the New England Patriots, please hear me out on this! It's just that I was at Purdue in the 1960's, followed Bob Griese throughout his pro football career, including the "unforgettable, in my mind" year in which the Miami Dolphins went 16-0. I would not want to see that record eclipsed.

I guess you could say, "It's a personal thing."

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