- Steele Drivin' Man 18/?
- Sent: Wednesday, December 04, 2002
From: Anne Rose [LCHAnne@hotmail.com]
Here's Fred's next excellent adventure. Many thanks to Susannah,
Lauryn for seeds of ideas that you planted. Hope you enjoy the
Thanks also to Lauryn for astute editing. Your feedback is appreciated.
Nancy, you may archive.
STEELE DRIVIN' MAN 18/?
DATE: September 29, 1984
MAINTENANCE: see below
I think this week has been the most fun for me since Miss Holt
sent me to
driving school when she hired me.
I guess it really all started in June. I was cooling my heels
Westwood Marquis parking lot while Mr. Steele and Miss Holt were
champagne garden party for The City of Hope. A bunch of us limo
were standing around trading stories when this guy walked up
and greeted oneof the other drivers. He started introducing himself
around, and it turnedout he was a Teamsters Union organizer and
was looking to sign people up for the chauffeurs' union. I knew
most of these guys drove for limo companies, so I didn't think
he would be interested in me. But he told me anyone who drove
for hire could join. I took his folder and told him I'd think
I read the folder after I took them home and decided that this
something I could sign up for. Since I know which side my bread
on, I showed the information to Miss Holt the next day when I
was taking her to an appointment, to clear it with her. She took
it and told me she'd get back to me.
A couple of days later, Miss Krebs called me and asked me to
to see Miss Holt. Just as I expected, Miss Holt had researched
gotten a copy of the work rules from the union office. She told
didn't have a problem paying my dues, but she didn't think that
the way we
operated (meaning working 24/7 when we needed to) was going to
fit in with
the work rules. She told me she wanted to encourage me to belong
professional organization, especially if it meant there would
education I could take advantage of. But she wanted me to understand
if my working hours didn't fit in with the shop rules that I'd
have to let
those violations just kinda slide. I know she wasn't threatening
me, but I
got the message behind the message, if you know what I mean.
So I started carrying a union card, and in August I got a mailer
union's annual meeting in Ventura County. I carried it around
for a while,
and after Miss Holt told me that the office would be shut down
for a couple
weeks because she and Mr. Steele and Miss Krebs were going to
realized that the meeting was at the same time. I asked her if
it would be
OK for me to register to go, and she was all for it. I think
she was glad
to have me going somewhere when everyone else was gone, instead
everyone else was working.
A couple of weeks ago I was taking Mr. Steele somewhere and I
realized I had left the mailing from the meeting in the back
seat. He started flipping
through it and asking me about it. I told him since I'd never
been so I
didn't know what to expect. He stopped flipping when he got to
a full page
ad from some limo accessories company here in town. Something
his attention, because he got out his pen and circled it. When
we got to
Rossmore he passed the booklet back to me and showed me what
he circled. He
told me he wanted me to visit this company's display at the meeting
check out prices on privacy screens. He gave me one of those
smiles, and I didn't have to ask for any details. The only other
said was to be sure not to tell Miss Holt.
The afternoon before my convention I took everyone to the PanAm
LAX. They were all in high spirits. Miss Krebs was excited about
trip to Europe. She kept reading to us from her tour book. Miss
sitting about as close to Mr. Steele as she could get away with,
easy to do since Miss Krebs was back there too. I could see Miss
him glancing at each other regularly. I think Mr. Steele must
all the way to the airport, and I could pretty well guess what
thinking - how soon could they lose Miss Krebs?
I went home to get my stuff together and wash the limo. The next
was out bright and early to get to the meeting. As I went down
101 I could
tell I was getting closer because the number of limos grew and
the off ramp looked like a lineup for Oscar night! I found the
hotel I had
picked out and got checked in there, and then went to registration.
area of the parking lot had been roped off for the rodeo, but
I got my packet and since it was a while before the opening meeting,
thought I'd better take care of Mr. Steele's request first. I
went to the
trade show area in the exhibition hall and browsed through the
What an assortment of stuff! Besides the usual car accessories,
uniforms, personal protection devices, even a couple of gun dealers.
found the display for the company Mr. Steele had pointed out
and talked to
one of the salesmen. I knew where this shop was, and knew they
work, so I started asking him about privacy screens, like how
much they cost and how hard they were to install. He asked me
what year the beast was and showed me the different options available.
Actually they weren't as
expensive as I thought, so I told him I was supposed to get this
soon as possible, and he got on the phone with his shop and made
appointment for the day after the meeting.
The union president spoke at the opening session on "The
Expensive Anachronism or Cutting Edge Security?" It was
I didn't know what an anachronism was going in, but I did by
the time we
In the afternoon I went to another interesting panel discussion
called "Keep It Casual - Waiting at The Curb" because
I certainly do a lot of that! For the most part the discussion
wasn't about how to look busy - it was about how to make the
time pass better. I'll have to look into those books on tape.
After the session a couple of guys next to me started chatting.
They got a
look at my nametag and saw who I worked for, and got interested
in me. I
saw that they worked for one of these limo livery outfits. They
asked me if
I wanted to go get a bite to eat with them, and I thought it
might be fun to swap stories, so I went along.
We found a nice Italian restaurant nearby and had a beer while
we waited forour food. Turns out my new buddies, Lenny and Frank,
have driven for all
sorts of famous people. They told some stories that would make
stand on end, and to tell you the truth, I didn't really want
to hear some
of them. Boy, if only these celebrities knew how some people
can talk - I
can see where The National Inquirer gets some of its information.
trying to get me to spill the goods on Mr. Steele, but I kept
off, telling them that most of the people we solved cases for
pretty ordinary folks who had problems. They wanted to know if
I carried a
gun, which made me want to laugh. They wanted to know if Mr.
Steele or Miss
Holt carried a gun, and I almost fell out of the booth laughing.
these guys both had union buttons on their collars, I didn't
let on about
the kind of hours I work sometimes. But it was fun to talk to
can understand your frustrations.
The next morning the guest speaker was some yahoo who'd written
gossip book about all the famous people he'd driven for. It was
A lot of people thought it was great listening to him spill the
I couldn't wait for the naming of names to end. People lined
up to buy
their autographed copies, but I left as soon as I could. Doesn't
have any concept of confidentiality, or people's privacy? I know
worked for just one person he'd have found his sorry ass in court
In the afternoon we had a pretty funny session called "Back
How to Handle Them Without an Ejector Seat". It was interesting
to other guys talk about how they toed the line between being
escort and wanting to turn around and punch somebody's lights
out. In the
evening we had a mixer with lots of finger food and drinks, and
I met a
bunch of nice people. At least it kept Lenny and Frank from buttonholing
for gory details.
In the morning I was up and ready for the limo rodeo, which is
I'd been waiting for the whole meeting. The limos were divided
classes by length, and I ended up in the 'small' class, which
I thought was
hilarious. But seeing as the beast is really just a large Cadillac,
a stretch like true limos, I can see how it might be 'small'.
We went out
to the parking lots for a timed obstacle course. There were about
12 of us
in this event, and fortunately there were two identical courses
set up to
keep things moving. It was a tough course with a lot of nasty
took out a couple of cones and that's probably how I ended up
I guess that wasn't bad for my first try.
Next came parallel parking, with two cars parked beside the 'curb'
with just barely enough room to get in. Now that I could handle!
I came in second on that one - I've got the ribbon to prove it.
I wish I could have seen the stretch limos doing that event,
but they were way over on the other side of the fairgrounds.
My third event was acceleration time trials, and that one really
me. Even on a flat out I couldn't do better then 10th. Oh well,
what did I
I made a suggestion on my meeting comment sheet that next year
have a street event, either following someone without being seen,
a tail. I know I could place high in that!
After the rodeo the convention was over and I got home at dinnertime.
caught up on my mail and newspaper. Fortunately there were no
The next morning I went to the Valley to the car shop for my
The salesman from the meeting wasn't there but they had me on
They told me they would have to take the whole front seat out
worked, and it would take all of the morning. I found a mall
spent some of the waiting time there. I even found the library
through the books on tape, but I didn't find anything that jumped
out at me
right away. After some lunch I went back to the shop, and they
about finished. The mechanic put me in the back seat first and
how it operated - it was really cool. Then he sat in the back
and I sat at
the wheel, and he showed me how soundproof it was. There was
no doubt in my
mind Mr. Steele was going to love this.
A couple of days later I was back at LAX to pick everyone up.
As soon as I
found them at baggage claim, I could tell something had changed.
At first I
thought it was because everyone was tired from the long flight,
but then I
realized it was more then that. Miss Holt looked like she had
a force field
around her and definitely was not cozying up to Mr. Steele the
way she had
been when they left. Mr. Steele looked miserable, and Miss Krebs
looked confused. When we got out to the car I tried to get Mr.
attention privately to show him the new screen, but he was pretty
oblivious. I really knew there was something wrong when Miss
Krebs sat between them on the way home.
Wonder what happened between departure and return? I guess I'll
wait until tomorrow to show Mr. Steele his new addition.
- To Part 19