Today I and a long time friend and once fellow taxi driver celebrated our recent December birthdays together at a not very good Italian restaurant. His well known vulnerability was pronounced today, money being just one of a series of issues. Having last week discovered that the Sea-Tac version of Yellow Taxi needed numerous night drivers I left him a message concerning that. But no, even extreme poverty can not tempt his return to something that appears to be scarring. Being hit and then blamed for an incident with a city bus was the last taxi straw. Having personally watched the buses' own video footage it was clear that the bus driver was exceeding the speed limit, failing to yield. That experience plus having a Washington State Patrol officer chase and stop him upon the extremely dangerous West Seattle Bridge for only for a seat belt violation instilled in him a sense of dread manifesting into the permanent. Nothing it seems can entice him to return. I even suggested that I could put on a taxi in Tacoma, providing him a seven day a week car for just over my cost. It would mean that he would have a reliable vehicle and not the questionable pickup he still owes me in part for. Instead he is deciding to remain in Seattle plying his various drumming gigs, hoping for the best, searching for that hit-making band. I certainly support him in doing this over returning to the streets. Who wants to be perpetually exhausted, struggling to put two coherent sentences together which was my damaged state this morning while chairing the first taxi advisory commission meeting of the new year. Any real functionality was pure pretense. Weekly, taxi takes me over its knee breaking me into two. You might call me taxi bi-polar, attempting to mend my broken opposites. People constantly ask me what do I do with my five days off? Repair is the answer, repairing the damage. My friend and others I know have taken a different track, refusing to reenter a thankless and frustrating occupation. During lunch he kept repeating how he knows so many (taxi drivers and industry) folks who have died. Yes it is a rough business. It is nearing the anniversary of Jack's fatal accident. I miss Jack's extremely sour sense of humor. One down and how many to go? I know I don't want to know the answer. I just want out. My goal this year is to get an advance. Just like my friend I have had enough. He is just smarter that's all. Twenty-five plus years of gasoline vapors have pickled my once healthy brain. I guess someday I will make the most interesting museum piece, mummified by exhaust, a twenty-first century King Tut minus the crown, modeling instead a Yellow dunce hat once common amongst a particular species, "taxius stupidius" roaming the local environs. I am sure I will be well worth the price of admission. It would make all of my trouble and pain worth it, I think! How could I be wrong?