Taxis and messengers used to be like arch enemies. They used to butt heads a lot. These days, I really value taxis. The whole Uber and Lyft shit is outta hand. Taxis are really aware. They’re very aggressive in the moves that they make, but they are aware of you. They know what’s going on around them. They know the grid of the city. They’re not driving the wrong way on one ways, looking on their phone for directions in traffic. So many people I know have been hit by Ubers. I just hate Uber with a passion. They put me and all my friends in danger. Their whole job is being a scab on an established workforce. Trying to undercut the taxi industry. I don’t respect it at all.
In New York, messengers and taxis formed a union together. That is like the most unlikely alliance ever. But it makes sense. They’re trying to advocate for better wages, benefits, and sick leave. There are some bad working conditions. There are some shady companies in the industry. There aren’t any lawsuits because usually messengers can’t afford lawyers.
A lot of the younger messengers move from company to company, whether they just wanna level up, or they got fired. Most of these companies don’t give you time off. I you wanna travel, maybe you go trainhopping for a summer, and you gotta quit your job. You get a job at a different company. Once you’re older, you tend to stay with the same company for awhile. There’s a lot of veterans who have been with the same company for decades.
Over time, being a messenger can burn you out. It’s a dead end job. It can make people look weathered, being outside in all sorts of conditions. Some people get caught up in the party lifestyle of it. That takes a toll on you. You start to look haggard after 10-15 years of it.
I’m probably more clean than most bike messengers. And I’m a grimy person. It’s kind of an outlaw culture, but its all based around doing tasks for businesses.
There’s a lot of overlap between my job and the restaurant industries. I think that may be why the same drug culture is present in both industries.
You get addicted to the “Mess Life”. It’s hard to stay away. It really gets you hooked. If that’s just the life that you know, I mean, I love what I do. It’d be hard to walk away from that. Everyone has to at some point. It’s hard to see myself doing anything else right now.