Today on this post-taxi Monday I thought a quick and brief montage would be informative and entertaining. This past Saturday was amazingly busy with Yellow overwhelmed much of the day, fares stacking up on the virtual screen. I had either 79 or 80 fares for the entire experience, which any taxi driver in the audience will tell you is a huge number. There was nothing spectacular this weekend, or bizarre to the point of madness. Only the taxi mundane, interesting in its flowing-down-the-lazy-taxi river. Pull up a chair to the shoreline, kick off those shoes and relax.
There is general rule that every taxi passenger should keep in mind: if you want to remain in that back seat and arrive at your requested destination, do not, I repeat, do not stray from ordinary civility and begin insulting the driver or infer that every driver on this yellow taxi earth is planning on taking you around the incorrect block. All that will happen is what happened to this young couple. You will be told that in no uncertain terms that you are no longer welcome in this particular taxi and you will now be walking. The reason why? You are an idiot and better luck next time!
Another good idea is stand on the side of the street in the direction you wish to proceed. Common sense but something this couple fails to do as they hailed me on the south side of E. Pike heading east when their destination NE 45th and Latona NE was clearly west-bound. Another thing to remember is don't immediately act like you have given an obscure address when instead it is a local/major intersection used by perhaps ten thousand cars a day. In that neighborhood exists some reasonably complicated streets and intersections, the "K" streets I have dubbed them. As I am clearly hinting, the couple immediately indicated to this veteran driver that they were novices on various levels, lacking some basic sophistication.
In a grand distance of about 150 feet this silly person proceeds to discuss the finer elements of taxi deception. Making every effort to be accommodating, I laugh and gently admonish him, the teacher correcting the disruptive student. But no, nothing I said was good enough, the young man having pushed "his internal button" and was listening to himself. He was his greatest fan.
When this occurs, I have learned there is only one option, turn to the side and stop. Sometimes I negotiate, saying adjust your behavior and we can continue. But in this case he had already been told to stop, and since he wouldn't I had to. All motion ceases and you have to leave. The girlfriend was shocked. Maybe her love blinds her, in addition blocking her hearing, shutting down all her senses.. I told them he had crossed over that line and they would be leaving. My final comment is that they were not the most polite. I did not request payment. I sometimes tell folks that it is a privilege to pay me. That privilege had just been rescinded.
Another "bar break" couple, this time 2 men, leaped into the taxi, delighted to find a vacant cab. I told them the story , dropping first one, then the other down on lower Capital Hill, 2 dollar tip on a 4 minute fare. I then hopped back up onto Broadway East, and immediately an older gentleman flagged me, heading north to Lynnwood and tipping me 20 on top of 45, 65 dollars assuaging all wounds.
While fueling 478, a young man walks up to the taxi, asking how much to go a few blocks as he describes it, saying his father drives an Orange taxi. I am now past exhaustion but I say "com'on" as he gives me 2 dollars for what turns out to be over 2 miles. Hey, he is a young college student and perhaps his education is somewhat lacking. Was he lying? Of course!
After that I realized I had to pull over for a quick nap. Locating the proper "green tangle" to urinate in, I then lowered the taxi's wonderful front seat, transforming 478 into instant camper, and promptly fell asleep for 2 hours, dawn nuzzling me just before 5 AM. I felt dazed. Yes, I could of easily found another fare, as the north end zones were essentially open. But I need sleep, real sleep!
Laura calls me at eight. Calls me back at 8:30 AM. She calls again at 9:15. OH MY GOD! Making a pot of tea, I am back at it at ten. I put myself into the Greenwood. I am ready, I think!