One unending facet of taxi driving is hearing what you never wanted to, speech never possibly imagined, not in any manner passing common litmus tests for usual and viable conversation. Often beyond fiction, words suddenly unfortunate tools in the mouths of those classified as either foolish, inane or vapid, or perhaps matching all three, mindlessly constructing sentences, emanating idea and opinion better assigned to dialectical rubbish heaps, scatological palaver soiling all good reason and civility and sense. I wish what I am describing mere exaggeration and hyperbole but in the cab reality punches you in the nose, letting you know exactly how it is. I don't want to know but I do. I've heard it all, and then some, as the popular saying goes.
A few month's back I had three young women riding in the cab, all in their mid-twenties, discussing their recent observation of Seattle Seahawk NFL quarterback Russell Wilson and wife shopping downtown. What caught my attention was their derogatory description of Wilson's wife. Having no idea of what she looked like I found the general berating of the woman astonishing and fairly dis-believable, all three saying she was old, bordering on plain or worse, ascribing, categorizing her as an accidental college-era romance, all somehow explaining what they collectively saw as a clear mismatch, a woman not worthy of the now celebrated local football hero, who they said, was "well put together."
Last week, local media announced that Wilson and his wife Ashton had filed for a divorce. With those idle comments still ringing in my taxi ears, I sought out a photograph of the couple. While not caring either way forward or backward, it was clear Mrs. Wilson is someone you might find featured as a gentleman magazine's centerfold. If the three commentators had been lined up beside her, all four open to unbridled commentary, I sadly know the results. Like I said, who wants to hear this stuff?
Human cats and dogs ,and excuse me, hogs too,
meowing and barking and oinking in the taxi loo,
their commentary placing everyone in a collective zoo,
all of us rated one, two, three from their tainted point of view,
but with these type of people what can civilization do?
Oh God! if I only knew? Boo Hoo Hoo!
Who is the Mental Health Professional?
Sunday afternoon I was belled into a north end hospital for an account fare. Shockingly I found my passenger curled in a ball in a corner of the waiting room, sobbing and uttering nonsense. Observing her was assorted hospital staff including the attending MHP who had authorized the taxi ride. Important note: I have twice, short-term, been a MHP, so I know that world well, understanding commitment guidelines, who does and doesn't qualify for temporary 72 hour psychiatric stays. In the state of Washington, it is the MHP who makes these kinds of recommendations to the courts.
With staff seemingly frozen in place, I stepped over to the young woman and quickly she was off the floor, into the wheelchair and into my cab. While efficient, the woman, now curled up upon the backseat, was crying she didn't want to go home, threatening to leave the cab once leaving the hospital grounds.
When I asked the MHP if that was okay, she replied yes, the patient capable of making her own decisions, in other words legally competent, meaning that the woman curled up in 478 was sane and rational. While that didn't seem true, I left with my questionable passenger, hoping I could keep her calm and collected.
Unfortunately, about after a mile, she suddenly announced she "had to get out of the taxi," opening the door while we were still in motion. Quickly stopping, she was out and again curled up in a ball, this time in someone's driveway. A startled homeowner ran down the driveway, understandably wondering what was going on.
Explaining the situation to him, he decided to call 911, this quickly resulting in a small army of emergency responders coming to the rescue. Calling dispatch I was told that she needed to return regardless of everything, the hospital having failed to remove the IV shunt in the patent's arm. Surrounded by all sorts of people, the MHP pulls up, shakes my hand, and apologizes for putting me in this situation. What I found ironical is that I am probably the only official taxi MHP in the entire city and county, fate picking the correct cabbie for all this silliness.
I will always hear Seattle Council member Sally Clark's words stating that only "one day of training" is required for the novice cabbie. Isn't that kind of ironical too?
The Mayor Issues a Warning
Amongst other statements made last week by Seattle's mayor was a warning directed toward Uber and friends, unequivocally setting an end of May deadline for them to comply to new insurance requirements. Otherwise he would be shutting them down.
For months if not years we in the taxi industry have been told that the City can do little to nothing to stop Uber. Now suddenly it seems the story is quite different. I leave it to you to make own assessments and conclusions. That should be easy.