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It is all uphill from here.

Saturday June 23

Awake at 6:30 – read the paper. Big feature about happiness today. Don’t need money it says – human relationships, sense of purpose, physical activity.

I am very, very nervous – upset stomach. Worried more about getting rides than not getting rides – big couples and the hills. It takes me 30 minutes to check over cab and get off the lot.

As I leave the barn and pass the Street Link homeless shelter two male drug addicts are in a fight, spitting and yelling at each other. Yesterday two hard bitten bleach blonde women were in a fight outside the shelter. Rich tourists and the downtrodden separated by only a few short blocks.

I park across from the Empress Hotel on the causeway and by accident discover that offering to take a photo of couples together with the Empress or legislature in the background is a great way to break the ice.

I take a shot of a couple from New York. It is easy to get a conversation going. He is a retired cop. They live in New Jersey. We have a nice chat about what to see and do in Victoria. I am not trying to sell, just to give them good information. I tell them about the wonderful museum. He says: "How much for a ride to the totem poles?" It is less than two flat blocks –  2 minutes I say. They hop in. It is an easy ride of 1:58. He gives me $5. "Keep the change."

The day continues on this easy note. I tell two women who have big smiles outside the Empress how happy they look and they say, "We are sisters and we haven't seen each other for a year." Again, a flowing conversation ensues, they grew up together in Newfoundland and while one remained the other has been living in Edmonton for 20 years. They relish the time when they can get together.  I simply talk to them about Victoria. "Can you take us to the James Bay Tea Room?" they ask.

Honesty is my new policy. "We can try - it is uphill and I am horrible on hills, but let's give it a shot." They pant with me on the grade and continually ask, "Are you okay? Do you want us to get out? " But we get there and all laugh at the arduous process. I give them maps and flyers and point out other spots, catching my breath outside the tearoom. It is a $5 ride but they give me $10. "That was fun. Thanks!" they saying wishing me heartfelt good luck. I realize authenticity is my sales pitch. I won't try to pull off the confident role. I suck, but I am fun. Ride with me and tell your friends about your pathetic pedicabber in Victoria.

For the rest of my shift I give short hop rides around the Inner Harbour to four more couples. I die on the hills, but they don't have to get out. I pant and groan and can't talk while I pedal, but I do it. I come back to the barn at 2 pm, with $50, paying off my $30 lease with $20 profit." I feel like hell but I made it through the day. It works out to about $3 an hour ( I made more per hour babysitting in the 1970s!) but I feel close to elated.
Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2007 at 01:50PM by Registered CommenterAnne | Comments2 Comments

Reader Comments (2)

Hey, at least you made lease! Okay, so when is the next episode in this summer serial due to appear? I await with bated breath.
Take care and be safe.
July 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTerrence Wiens
It's only your second day and you figured out how to make your cab rides fun.
August 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeb

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