Drunken Mistress

Know a discriminating cabdriver in Las Vegas. He prefers avoiding collecting passengers on the Strip. Let me qualify that. He prefers not collecting certain kinds of Strip passengers.

Daytime fares are fine. It’s who emerges at night which dissuades him.

Young adults who frequent the glam nightclubs inside the swank hotel/casinos seldom fill his taxi. They aren’t worth the effort. Generally their comportment doesn’t make any dollar earned worth the trouble.

Middle-aged now, the cabbie well recalls his own days and nights at their age. The comparison bothers him. Actually there is no comparison. Those today enjoying their own youthquake amply display all the faults regarding this overentitled, overserved generation. Taking the “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” slogan beyond acceptable gonzo limits, routinely and mindlessly vain visitors become insane after sunset until unconscious and incontinent dawn.

Past misbehaving, these revelers are boorish. Their conduct plummets below the lowest standards of etiquette.

Of the genders, perhaps women still wallowing in their precocious girlhoods are the worst. While both sexes see the man behind the wheel as just so much breathing furniture, females abuse his presence, their time inside his conveyance the worst.

Despite provocative evening attire and primped to exquisite extremes, women comport themselves sloppily. Those beverages they’ve carried along from the club in to-go cups will invariably be spilled – invariably inside the taxi. By evenings’ ends when don’t their demeanors nearly edge into slatternly?

There is ribald chatter which can be heard as clever. Then there are exchanges that are nothing more than crass. One of the basest examples? Open discussions about whose coochie is hairiest.

Men, though, have trouble eating. Sorry. Putting food in their mouths. Plenty of the grease they’ve purchased at food trucks misses their mouths and smears seats and floors. However, say this for men, they, unlike women passengers, will alert drivers of their need “to go.”

While men have little compunction about sounding immediate pee calls, somehow too many women reveling in Las Vegas can’t announce nature’s call demands answering. Instead, they’ll urinate inside the car. They’ll soak rear bench cushions and let puddles pond on the floor. Then on exiting grin sheepishly, no, coquettishly, as if they’ve left some memorable tribute.

Memorable? Yes. Cute? No.

When did peeing on yourself become preferable than squatting in what nearby shadows can be quickly found and finding relief? Loss of dignity is preferable to minor inconvenience and maybe at worst slight embarrassment? Only in Vegas!

Guys, though, oh, “bro’s,” are good for booting after nights of exceeding their already pitiably low boozing limits. Few of these casual drakes have the man mechanism that owns up to imminent puking. Rather, they’ll just vomit across the back of seats ahead and allow backsplash to soil their clothes and shoes.

Surprisingly, only a British partier was conscientious enough in the above respect. In that so far sole instance of warning, he alone refuted every bad Brits abroad horror story the cabdriver had heard and come to expect of visitors from Blighty.

Both genders comprising younger revelers are lousy tippers. I guess being cheap aligns itself with practicing inconsideration.

Young women don’t know the value of good service; young men may recognize the effort but still fail to properly acknowledge it.

Rubbing in their parsimony, one hopes unconsciously through utter self-absorption, the bro’s will prattle on about how much they spent on club bottle service. That alone shows how much the current generation’s intelligence has degenerated.

At their same age the idea of spending long green to secure a table or banquette and a bottle of hooch in order to listen to a DJ spin dubious music never would’ve occurred to members of my and the cabbie’s cohort. That possibly had everything to do with having better appreciation of hard-earned dollars and discerning appreciable diversion from being suckered.

Anyway, the more the bro’s talk about what the evening cost becomes proportionally inverse to the tip amount the ride will garner. Forget any standard 20%. Think more towards “rounding off.”

No. The cabdriver now does his utmost to leave any ferrying of celebrating dim young things to the immigrants filling taxi driving ranks. The East Africans, the Eastern Europeans, and the Middle Easterners. Aren’t they accustomed to living and toiling in deplorable conditions? Bad as shit is in America, it’s still smells sweeter than the offal left behind in the old country.

To them, driving around inebriated misbehaving morons must seem a giant improvement.

Instead of mining the lucrative and often demeaning Strip addresses, the cabby trawls off-Strip properties and the remote neighborhoods Las Vegas visitors can’t imagine. Truly, away from the garish lights the city is one wide Mayberry.

Although lacking the well-known names’ opulence, those gambling palaces on the periphery provide decent gaming amusements. But one must be motivated to withdraw from the Strip’s teats or troughs. Besides, the Strip can only be sliced so thin. There’s more pie elsewhere.

Moreover, passengers in commonly seen hinter regions usually tend to be more appreciative on the fares’ back-ends. That has plenty to do with the paucity of cabs farther from the main stem and greater delays in getting one. With the vast majority of taxis clogging the Strip, rightly rarer are for-hire cars several blocks off that money axis.

The cabdriver has criteria about who he’ll drive. These loose guides serve throughout the city.

Drunk potential passengers aren’t immediately dismissed. After all starting at certain hours what visitor or resident isn’t looped in Las Vegas?

Wobbly and slurring, stumbling and bumbling? Depends. Drooling? Never. Unconscious? Always.

Of course there are exceptions. And here’s one of the most exceptional. It concedes to age and experience.

One late Friday night/early Saturday morning our driver sat in a taxi rank outside an off-Strip casino. This parlor mostly drew a mature crowd of locals. On weekends, gamblers from Utah, desert California, and Northwest Arizona augmented the Nevadans. Only by accident or having been misinformed might a tourist find him- or herself among them.

His wait seemed to have been rewarded. Weaving from the premises, a reedy, elegantly-dressed dowager age Chinese woman. Slurring for a ride, mumbling about how much she’d won playing poker, she staggered towards his cab in a pair of clattering stilettoes. Under one arm she carried a clutch bag; in her free hand a cocktail. No to-go cup held her drink. No, this old sister had left the casino with a glass holding her hooch.

Approaching his cab she lost balance. The Chinese woman pirouetted this way, overcompensated, spiraled that way, overcompensated some more, and fell. The driver rushed from his steering wheel around the taxi in order to help the Chinese woman to her feet. Collapsing as she had ought have denied her a seat inside the cabbie’s taxi. After all, cut slack as he often did, her antics exceeded his usual reprieve standards.

Instead, he yielded. He gave the old sister a ride. What cinched it for the Chinese woman? Simple. Throughout her drunken ballet, not only hadn’t she dropped the glass which would’ve smashed into smithereens, but during her contortions she also hadn’t spilled one drop of liquor. Rattled ice? Surely. Waste whiskey? Nope.


The cabdriver had accepted much younger passengers who’d flooded sidewalks with their containers’ contents. Yet there that woman managed to keep the Mojave pavement dry despite enduring the jolts of her own private earthquake. Naturally he gave her a lift!

He knew her sort of prowess had developed over decades. Hers was the sort of dexterity which demanded veneration because from what he’d seen of the younger generation the balance she exhibited was evaporating.