When people ask about working holidays I say that at least for the moment they are not a priority and I work my scheduled days unless I'm traveling which goes without saying though I just said it. Both days were surprisingly busy which goes right along with the taxi axiom "you never know" and truly you don't, at least I make no claims in that direction though I do admit to have particular expectations. I can't drive taxi for free. It just isn't that compelling.
But before I address Christmas I meant to bring up an intriguing coincidence from the previous weekend. Why this kind of stuff occurs I don't know but it has happened enough times to make me curious. I picked up this young man in the deep West Seattle, Arbor Heights area, and began explaining to him what his own address told him about where he was located, the why and mapping logic of addresses in Seattle. To help it make sense, I picked an imagined address, 526 1st Avenue South, explaining that Yesler Way was the dividing line, making the address five blocks south of Yesler, contrasted with his own locale of SW 100th & 39th SW which of course placing him 100 blocks away from the starting line. Can you believe that later in the afternoon I took someone from West Seattle to the requested address of 526 1st Avenue South! a building called the Florentine. Ah yes, the mangled metaphysics called taxi even though the late C. Hitchins who died last week might scoff at such assertions. Though he is off the taxi subject I might if time permits soon provide some commentary since I had met him briefly in December 2001 and respected his comprehensive research upon given subjects. I recommend his Kissinger expose. Not a nice man, that Henry.
The Why & the Wonder of Taxi Driving: Three Examples of the "Taxi" Unexplainable
So unusual to have three $100. plus fares on the same weekend. Making them even more noteworthy were that none of them were account-based, which the vast majority of my longer fares are. I would say that nearly 90 percent of them came from accounts. The large "self-pay" fares are rare.
I was having a great Saturday start, and knowing that there would be a huge drop off in business with actual Christmas eve approaching, I knew I had to build on what I had already accomplished, five airport runs plus a $50.00 dollar personal topped off by a $20.00 dollar tip. Being a taxi scientist, I understand chemical balances and compounds. You never know when the beaker will explode into so many shattered pieces. Two "no-shows" in a row, including an airport run told me I had just added some nullifying ingredients. Something new had to be added.
The Seahawk-49ers football game was now about 5 minutes into the third quarter, experience telling me that regardless how exciting the game was, people would have their individual reasons for leaving early. They always have and will continue to have matters more important than touchdowns scored. Getting down to the game perimeter on South King Street I was somewhat deflated by the poor combination of many sitting taxis and few wandering fans. Seeing an open space mid-street I pulled in figuring that the Yellow Cab sitting about 75 feet in front of me would soon get off and I would then zoom into his prime parking space. So often successful taxi driving is all about positioning but in this case you will see it didn't matter. Suddenly I noticed a fan who appeared to be approaching my taxi having passed up the lead Yellow. He seemed somewhat dazed so perhaps he just didn't see the other taxi as stepping into 478 he said take me to Bothell, which my friend is a good twenty miles or so north of downtown. He had Christmas Eve dinner to get to with his wife so off we flew north-bound. Quiet and polite, he was the opposite of the unfortunately too typical Seahawk fan, too often drunken and anti-social. Upon our arrival he gave me an additional $40.00 on top of the $60.00., wishing me a Merry CH\hristmas. I was in a state of shock, amazed at the vagaries of fate and taxi!
Much later now in the evening, finding myself again in West Seattle with little to do. The lull had arrived and I was thinking how great it would be to be sound asleep. While contemplating the thought a fare came through and Dee, as she called herself, strode up to 478 looking to cash a check. She was extremely high on something and had just left an "assignment." I told her that everything was closed but she was too stoned to hear me so off we drove to the First Hill "Money Tree." Being closed I called three others, all with the same results. She called her "trick" apprising him of the situation. Over her speaker-phone he told me to drive back and she would find his credit card beneath the door mat. Charge what was necessary and thank you very much. Off we returned, estimating that all her meandering would total to about $90.00 as she had to buy her mother a card. The approval went through and off we sailed to Burien. Arriving at the 24 Hour Walgreen's at SW 148th & Ambaum SW we joined all the other late Christmas shoppers packing the only place that was still open. I bought some chocolates and she found a card to make her mother happy she had given birth.
From there we reached the airport strip that is Pacific Highway South/International Boulevard, nearing the conclusion of our shared adventure, and having said a number of times how she liked my "style," suggested how she might like to have me for "herself" for awhile. Smiling but not saying anything I dropped her off obviously looking to score some dope, bidding Dee adieu into that good Christmas night.
Christmas Day held even more suspense knowing that everything or absolutely nothing could happen. But before I would start my day dim sum in Chinatown beckoned with friends, many dating from my earliest days in Seattle 1973. We had a feast and fun talking amidst the din of hundreds of hungry Chinese.
Finally getting started it was okay, tips providing many $20.00 trips my way. Reaching the early evening and having made a strategic error that cost me a $35.00 return fare to West Seattle, I was still arguing and cursing my stupidity when a call came through for the 7-11 on W. Nickerson. Arriving I found a young brother and sister combination from Calgary, Alberta interested in doing some early evening sightseeing, if such a thing exists. First we went to the Fremont Troll. From there we went to the Kurt Cobain house on Lake Washington. Finally, with some computer assistance from she who can't be named, I had the number and the exit for Greenwood Memorial Cemetery in Renton, Washington, famous for its Jimi Hendrix memorial and tomb. Shining my headlights on the shrine, they took numerous photographs and declared themselves pleased with their efforts. Taking the kids back to their waterfront hotel, the fare was $129.00 and then $185.00 after their amazing tip. Such is taxi driving and the way it really is. Makes any sense you say? Probably not unless one prays to the taxi deities which I have been known to occasionally do!