Last week moved too quickly or perhaps not fast enough as I slept consecutively 12 & 13 & 9 hours Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. Passengers always ask me what I do during my usual five days off and when I answer, sleep! they don't believe me. Last week was a bit of an exception but not without precedent. If there is anything more tiring for the 57 year old body than taxi then I don't want to participate! My previous blank mind has cleared sufficiently to remember more details from that last weekend. As the person who must remain nameless said, keep your blog entertaining and certainly these two tales hold some interest, especially if you enjoy deranged hookers and post-wedding grub!
Just a little extortion for a Saturday morning
Both of these rides originated in West Seattle, one early and one late. They could have occurred I suppose in any Seattle neighborhood. To paraphrase Karl Malden, there are at least 580 thousand stories in this not quite naked city. Here are two of them.
I pull up to this ordinary looking house on a commonplace street in the deep West Seattle (zone 265) not expecting anything but the usual fare going downtown or the airport. Suddenly a guy runs out of the house wearing nothing but the kind of blue pants associated (at least in Seattle) with hospitals, worn by aides and nurses and physicians. I am guessing this muscular young man (about age 30) was a doctor. He had come out to prepay for someone he identified as "someone he was dating" and told him the fare was more or less $25.00 to where he said she was going. As he gave me $30.00 the girlfriend came out, a more unlikely creature or match for the doctor I could not have imagined. Instead of the expected upper-middle class, well educated nurse or fellow doctor was this somewhat wasted woman, possibly part-Native American who looked not so healthy nor well. The charade continued with him giving her a peck and saying I will call you later. Why this poor performance for the taxi driver I can't imagine. Hell if I care! I was just glad to have the fare in hand and was ready to take off.
We had hardly gotten around the corner before my passenger says she is only going a few blocks and began demanding the majority of what he had given me. She got instantly rough and said she would call the police if I did not give her what she described as "her money." Seeing the money I received perhaps she felt she needed a tip in addition to whatever her usual fee is. I protested a moment, then said I had no idea what was going on but if she wished I would take her back and she could talk it over with her "boyfriend." A quick u-turn was enough to change her tune, dissuading her from any further deviation. I laughed, said something jovially stupid and took her to her pay-by-the-month residence. She made no further references to the just departed gentleman and she was well-behaved for the duration of the journey. She truly seemed reasonable given her life situation which appeared to be less than pleasant and tenable. And what the good doctor was doing with this desperate woman I have no idea. Being alone and reading a good book has to be more entertaining!
The other tale concerns a post-Irish wedding party and a partially drunk guy who gets a telephone call from a woman when we are already halfway downtown. He initially told me that he had lost his wallet. Encouraged by her call he tells me to turn around. The only option was to head up to Beacon Hill and turn around so we could again gain entry to the West Seattle Bridge heading west-bound.
Reaching the hall the gentleman told me to wait while again entering the raucous din that was the dance floor. As I stood outside of 478 enjoying the night air another gentleman came up to me inquiring if I would like the remainder of the reception feast, describing fancy cupcakes and other delicacies. Never one to refuse food I said sure and we loaded up the cab with a huge box of cupcakes and assorted salads and salmon and marinated steak and Irish potatoes. It was truly an instant feast!
And once I had delivered the now twice-disappointed passenger downtown I sped to the cab lot and deposited the booty to the delight of the late night shift of call-takers. I was later sent a message thanking me. I was glad to provide the midnight snack and besides I got $60.00 for the crazy fare. I also ate two cupcakes, being the greedy soul that I am!
Okay, This just past weekend:
I had 102 fares. I guess that is why I am currently exhausted though I slept 8 hours this morning. The Saturday full moon was well-behaved but its Sunday sister was a bit wild, people trying to run me over with their errant automobiles.
And all I will say is that those 911 emergency operators need better training. Nearing midnight and dropping off a DECA Hotel employee in the University district we came upon a man lying in the intersection of NE 45th & Brooklyn NE. I heard someone loudly saying that he had been hit and left by a driver but nothing about anyone being contacted. I instantly dialed 911 urging them to quickly send assistance. There was a bit of fumbling and transferring and the asking of questions I couldn't answer. As more folks gathered round the victim I headed off to the University Hospital for my next fare, the person still alive as he lifted his head slightly off from the street. So far I have seen nothing in the local newspaper about it which probably means the person survived the incident.
Anything else of note this weekend? A dancer from the Sands strip club took my taxi round-trip to the club and back home as she had to show the owners that indeed she was injured in a car accident, having fallen out of her boyfriend's car (along with her pet terrier) after he had pulled a "bitch" in the middle of a Ballard thoroughfare. She was not happy with the guy and was somewhat quickly "inviting" to the taxi driver. She loved her "rat terrier" and said he had saved her life many times. I liked her, yet another person overwhelmed by a mad and confounding existence.
I also had fun with a young Mormon gentleman who had just joined the corporate world and was on the way to the airport. I told him I had recently purchased the soundtrack to the recent Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon. To say the least he objected to some of my remarks and said I was confused. I guess turnabout just isn't fair, knocking on his door asking if he would like to partake in a different reality. Like so many of the young Mormons I have met, he too was an unformed, lopsided individual while insisting that he was perfection in (his) God's eyes. He actually hated me but that was okay. I understand that all he wanted was a ride to Sea-Tac. He didn't want his beliefs examined. I just hope he remembers that when he again enters a stranger's house and tells them that they are going to have a very bad fate if they don't accept Jesus (through Joseph Smith) as their savior. I have always felt it is highly appropriate for such an American religion like Mormonism to have as its founder someone named Smith. It could have also been Jones. Yes, Joseph Smith, I endorse "plural marriage" and wish to be one of eight husbands to a single wife. Such a wonderful life I know it would be.
And soon, possibly tomorrow, the "taxi union manifesto" will be presented for your pleasure and consideration.