I may be too tired to write this so if I stop mid-passage this will be continued where I halted, if indeed that happens. When people ask me what I do with my usual five days away from taxi they don't appear to believe me when I say, sleep! I only got about 7 hours or so of slumber this morning and it simply wasn't enough. The next 2 nights I will be averaging 10-12 hours which will balance me out a bit. What I can say to you, and it is not the least reassuring, is that every taxi driver you meet on whatever domestic or foreign street is to some degrees fatigued, or worse exhausted. It is the unfortunate nature of the business. The hours plus the traffic plus the pressure to find money plus sitting too many hours plus eating poorly plus no exercise results in a sorry creature known as your average zombie cabbie. If the driver looks healthy, look again because it probably is an optical illusion. Taxi driving is a mobile torture center. Welcome all sado-masochists!
Full moons are bad enough but false versions are the proverbial insult to taxi injury. At least when that happy moon is beaming down smiling upon all of humankind you can rationalize the chaos in front of you. But when instead an invisible button has been pushed and all hell is breaking you, and somehow it is instant Bedlam, it is just too much to take. That unfortunately what was the past week was like. Hey I can even say that it was just a continuation of the 4th of July and all those related fun and games. Drivers started racing me. The computer decided to become haunted. Cars veered into my path. It is at times like these that I swear I hear hideous laughter but where it is emanating from I couldn't tell you.
The computerized dispatch system Yellow uses started double and even triple belling (issuing the same call or fare). O'Malley, head of dispatch theorized that drivers were using only one radio channel thus overloading the system causing the poor thing to become overburdened and freak out, forgetting itself. By the way, he neglected to tell everyone that channels 2 & 5 were now up again and ready for our pleasure and usage. I began noticing it on Saturday, with the problem worsening into Sunday. Confirmation of the problem occurred at Northwest Hospital which I was belled into for a DSHS (Hopelink) or as it is sometimes called, welfare run. Just previous to that I had been booked off from Zone 105 (the Northgate) for no reason. I had also just been double-belled. Anyway, the passenger wasn't there but that didn't stop the computer from dispatching another victimized taxi driver to the same non-existent call. As I saw him approach, leaving him about 75 feet away, a deranged driver in some huge, old American monster suddenly roared off from a parking lot, nearly slamming into the taxi. The driver did this for no apparent reason or motivation.
After telling the Yellow driver, someone I 've known by face for years, that he was heading toward a no-show he proceeded to tell me about a recent experience he had on the Queen Anne an hour earlier. He was given the same defunct call no less than 3 times even though the passenger had cancelled and Fred, the morning dispatch supervisor had officially cancelled the bell. None of those interventions though stopped the computer, belling away to its evil heart's content. All this kind of crap is past frustration, taking on the definition of serious lunacy, hence the full moon labelling. That it happens to everyone is little consolation. All any of this is is just a time waster, pick-pocketing the taxi driver. If your driver looks crazed, there may be a good reason.
One quick comment on the good taxi lawyer, Doug Silva, who has saved my taxi buttock from erroneous tickets many, many times. I had a hearing last Thursday over a nothing moving violation and for the very first time I did not make an appearance. Well, that was certainly a mistake because the cop misrepresented what I had said and I was found guilty of of the infraction. Much more on this tomorrow. Now I will have to appeal, file an internal investigation report against the officer, etc. I am even going to file a complaint with the ACLU. All of this is just a waste of my time but there is no alternative. Taxi drivers can not have moving violations on their driving records. Three and you can say good bye. Don't I just love driving a taxi?!