Today I renewed my taxi for-hire license for hopefully the last time, at least what I term a serious re- licensing. If I get out of this crazy business on my own terms I have the intention to renew every year though I might never drive again. Even if I am selling tons of books I still want to be remembered and never forgotten as the taxi driver I will always be. As I told a nice guy originally from NYC I took on Sunday from West Seattle to some wine fest at the Seattle Center, "once a taxi driver, always a taxi driver" as he drove for 2 1/2 years while putting himself through college. He added that an uncle of his helped solve a taxi murder in Queens. Some might remember that in the mid-80s taxi and livery cab murders were averaging over fifty a year in the Big Apple! Thankfully the criminals in Seattle are polite and leave taxi crocodiles like me alone. They take one good look at me, remain well-behaved and sometimes even tip, just thankful I just didn't take one big bite and rip off their head. Who says I ain't courteous? You gotta be kiddin'!
Anyway, I first had to get my taxi physical today, my final step toward renewal. Most of us go down to this doctor's office in the International District (Chinatown/Little Saigon), plunk down our $50.00 and go through the most laughable examination possible. They scared me twice by telling me I weighted 198 pounds and that my blood pressure was 180 over 80. The assistant used some kind of automatic cuff and it was just wild. The doctor remeasured me with a standard cuff and came up with 120 over 70. Given my history of being 90 over 60 I was quite taken aback. And when I weighted myself at the West Seattle YMCA I was 176, still heavy for me but getting it wrong by 22 pounds is quite the accomplishment. My eyesight graded out as 20/25 but I complained that I had trouble seeing the chart due to glare from the fluorescent lighting. They also put me down as 5'8" so I also shrunk an inch. That office is just a little bit nutty. I asked why my hearing wasn't tested but for some reason Seattle/King County deciding it was no longer a necessity. I suppose that their rationale is since they know we never listen to anyone anyway it not mattering if you are stone deaf. The gals behind the desk got a big charge out of my question and made jokes, obviously enjoying themselves. Anything to relieve the boredom. Maybe next time they can put the blood pressure cuff around my throat. Now that would be exciting!
The big improvement once I got downtown to drop off the good news was the instantaneous creation of my new for-hire license. No more waiting for the damn thing to show up in the mail. I told them I was impressed but some of the King County folks appear to be miffed with me over my disenchantment with the taxi commission. I have made the egregious error of pointing out the madness that is the commission. I would be gone already but for a request by my taxi colleagues to stay on. Regardless, the long and short is that I am legal until the end of January 2013. I think 2013 it would the perfect year for the memoir I am writing, "To Age Thirteen" to become a best seller. You know how I like synchronicity.
I am extremely pleased to report that Professor Cliff Mass, the local weather guru and University of Washington professor has agreed to participate in some kind of weather safety seminar/lecture directed toward the Seattle/KC taxi community. As I have said previously, this is in response to Jack's death related to the black ice accident of January 23rd. I want to get the attention of all of my fellow cabbies and bringing on a local celebrity hopefully will do it. And all he is asking is for a donation to his education fund. Good to know that there are still some nice people remaining in Seattle as opposed to all of the money-grubbing carpetbaggers who have destroyed Seattle economically, trying to transform this little place into NYC. Hopefully the presentation will happen either in March or April. The sooner the better.