Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Vagaries of Seattle Taxi, Yellow & Otherwise: So She Thinks I Am Drunk!

It is already Thursday and only about 30 hours away from my next weekend foray, so I better write something or everything will begin merging, day becoming night, everything a blur which is what it really is like but some separation is required, don't you think?  Time permitting, I will write more tomorrow, possibly the potential manifesto for a Seattle & King County lease-driver & owner/operator union/association.  I met with a industry insider on Monday afternoon, discussing the subject over dim sum at the Honey Court, corner of Maynard Avenue S. & S. Weller.  Great place and particularly good that day.

Late Saturday night I picked up not one but three separate passengers at the Tukwila/Southcenter Amtrak station. I was called in by Amtrak to pick up a passenger to the airport but two other lost souls stumbled off the train requiring rides in that general direction.  Given that it is an almost impossible place to find even in bright sunshine I threw all of them in together, charging each $15.00 to their destination, the straight fare without accepting any tips.  In these situations I attempt to make it fair for all concerned and besides it gave me a $45.00 hour, which I will never voice complaint.

The last guy I dropped off was the most interesting, having driven taxi in Chicago in 1968 & 69 during the Democratic Convention riots.  He also was also a past member of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) so we hit it off admirably given that I am a Vietnam War conscientious objector from my draft board (1-0) and later took training in something called Radical Therapy.  He gave me his card and hopefully we will stay in contact.  Meeting him reminded me that I haven't changed a bit, I am still that idealistic eighteen year old telling the US government to throw me into that Arizona prison work camp, you are not going to draft me!

And sometimes I am in the mood to deal with foolish passengers but  find me tired and hungry I might not be so generous. I pick up this seemingly nice woman at the train station heading for 2nd & Cedar in Belltown, at most a mile straight down Fourth Avenue then turn left onto Cedar and you are there.  On a quiet Sunday evening you can be there in five minutes, more or less seven to eight dollars.  We barely got two blocks when she began questioning my routing, in other words calling me dishonest when heading north down Fourth is the only logical way unless you are dealing with post-game traffic.  I asked her then which way would you choose?  She hesitated then guessed Third Avenue.  I told her that made little sense and since she didn't seem to like twenty-four years of experience (and I was first in Seattle in 1973) I would take her free of charge to the nearest cab stand and she could find someone she liked better.  She said that I was an a__hole and was getting out, and if I hadn't warned her to stop, right into oncoming traffic.  Who knows why she was so volatile and suspicious?  She evidently felt that somehow driving parallel to Second Avenue was running up the meter.  Second, by the way, is one-way south-bound.  This was a case where she would have questioned any taxi driver.  It had nothing to do with me.

She later called dispatch and said I was drunk.  I was clearheaded enough to see she was about to kill herself.  I guess that wasn't good enough, preferring to be tossed into the air by an oncoming automobile.  I went back to the station and picked up, passing her again waiting on the corner when she could have been already safely home.  The silly part is that I would have taken her home regardless of her attitude.  Talk about creating your own reality.  Who had been drinking is the question here.  Maybe I could refer her to a taxi psychologist and find out what is troubling her.  But wait a minute, I guess that person is me! Anyway, welcome to taxi! that world of good tidings and a slap on the back and the kick in the ____!

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