Packing up for my taxi weekend this afternoon reminded me, as it always does, that this could be the last time I see for what for the moment passes as home. I don't mean to be morose or pessimistic. Rather my response is realistic intimately knowing as I do taxi realities, a car accident especially and instantly ending my life. Of course violence is also that menacing twin taxi reality. Wednesday a taxi comrade of many years told me of his helplessness when a few years back he couldn't find a driver to respond to his request to check out a driver in distress. Stacy said "if only" someone had responded the driver's life might have been saved. Four young men are currently serving 30-40 years each for that murder. For better or worse all of us cabbies in every city in every country are solitary sailors sailing upon uncertain taxi seas. Trouble abounds in every taxi nautical mile. The barometer is rising. The Sirens are not singing. They are screaming. And the rocky shoreline beckons, reaching out, requesting our last and fatal appearance.
As I locked my door I was very conscious that if it wasn't me opening the door again it would be her whom I have oft referred to as "she who can't be named." In early August she set upon a book shelf my bronzed first shoes. More than a condominium or apartment my place in Tacoma is a free form, unintended shrine to my life so far. Knowing that she would be the one attending to all the loose ends a sudden death presents disturbs me. Our twenty-two year association has created a firm bond. Everything I own goes to her. I know how I would feel if the reverse were true. Intimacy is wonderful and with it comes many permanent, unbreakable ties that remain bonded even if the individual you know and love and cherish is gone. There is a reason why there are all these songs refraining that love remains eternal.
All this is why I both love and intensely dislike taxi. It is a rough and tumble world with few guarantees other than physical and emotional exhaustion. In less than twelve hours I will be back at it. I will of course endeavor to be careful. I always am but as I have repeated many times, given the speed I am moving you can't be careful enough. Taxi will always be taxi and that is about as profound as I can be upon the subject. What can the coal miner say as he descends down the darkened shaft? Perhaps that the yellowcanary will whistle an uninterrupted tune. And life will taper away gradually to a peaceful end.