Taxi is a river I am plunged into each weekend, carrying me along until I emerge soaked to the taxi bone. Along time ago back in August 1969 when I was 15 and under the influence of a particular substance I leaped into a swiftly flowing river suddenly a fish dodging rocks and logs. Now under the benign sway of organic tea I leap into the taxi stream not dodging but cautiously befriending my taxi clients for the few minutes we fly along the road together. I meet everybody and see everything, much I would rather avoid. Tonight I am briefly writing about a few fleeting scenarios from a rare very sunny mid-spring Seattle weekend.
My first fare of the weekend was a Sea-Tac run originating from West Seattle. They were on their way to Hawaii. The terminal at just about slightly past 4 AM was fairly deserted. I parked at the inside drop-off lane (there being two parallel lanes) and bid the nice folks a good morning. As I pulled forward an Eastside For Hire car pulled up in the outside lane quickly putting himself and his passenger directly in front of my moving taxi. Once his passenger stepped onto the curb I pointed out to him what he had just done, endangering everyone by his poor decision making. He of course immediately protests, not capable of understanding what I was saying. I understood that again this was a repeat example of another individual licensed by the City & County who is essentially clueless concerning his new occupation. I continue to find this unconscionable. I immediately thought back to the rookie Yellow driver a couple months back who lost control on the Ballard Bridge, crashing into a car and killing an occupant. Month after month new graduates are put out here completely unprepared. Like this guy at Sea-tac, they don't even know how to safely drop off their passenger. As I keep saying, is anyone paying attention?
From North Dakota
His Buick Le Saber died 10 miles outside of Wilkerson, ND and I found him at the train station with more luggage than one might think possible. He was on his way to Victoria, BC Canada to meet a complete stranger that he was marrying. At least he hoped to but now she was getting "cold feet." He had been a mortician for 35 years and was thinking of getting back into the business. I took him to the Victoria Clipper pier and left him as he just got the news that they wouldn't be accepting at least half of his belongings. I wanted then and there to buy him a car but unfortunately I am not in position to instantly fork over a couple grand.
He had been waiting 2 hours and dumped at least three times by fellow Yellows when I answered the call and carted the guy to First Hill. Having broken his neck and spine skiing atop Stevens Pass he was now free from the rehabilitation center after 6 weeks of care. He had lost his job and his apartment and faced months if not years of recovery. His right arm remained partially paralyzed. He talked about how much he loved skiing. I advised him to take up something less dangerous. He was young and still dumb. He celebrated his first minutes of freedom by buying a six-pack.
Originally from Iran
Second call on Sunday morning introduced me to a friendly gentleman coming from a Ballard pain clinic. He had fallen off a roof and lost his marriage, his three houses, his livelihood and was now residing in his car. HopeLink delivered him back to Kirkland. If I win the lottery tonight I will immediately rent him an apartment. I know where he is parked.
Busy, so busy this weekend. Trying to get to Chinatown for dinner I keep encountering fares. On Capital Hill he gets in looking for a place to stay but doesn't have any ID. He relates this amazing story about his car and trailer being impounded in Northern California where he was intending to buy some property. His ID and passport etc is inside the impounded vehicle. It is a crazy story and I drop him off at the 4th South and South Forest Denny's where he can spend the night. In the morning he was going to the local licensing office. Good luck! is all I can say.
So you see, human misery is endless. Taxi is the front row seat. Come buy a ticket and take in the show. But be careful not to choke on the popcorn!