Last week, while lounging around San Miguel de Allende and mulling ideas about a series of short stories, I found myself focusing upon theoretical thematic scenarios and plots centered upon the primary charaacters' puzzling failure to understand that most elementary human reality: that of formally and mentally recognizing they alive upon a rotating planet flying at 66,000 miles per hour thought a blackened expanding universe. Yes, this is my unfortunate observation concerning too many of my fellow earth-dwelling residents: that the majority, despite eating, crying, laughing have remained disconnected to having been born, and then to their unimaginable chagrin, dying, all of us of course somehow mysteriously slated to breath this planet's oxygen mix for an un-predetermined number of years. By not understanding this most basic premise my conclusion is that too many individuals remain alienated and incommunicado from life itself. Not a particularly good situation when awakening upon a new morning, the birds singing, the sun shining.
I mention this in relation to taxi only to point out that the majority of my fellow taxi colleagues can be similarly categorized,because, though sitting in a taxi day after day after month after year they seem to continually display little understanding of the minute to minute reality screaming at them. Why this is utterly important is simple. People both in the local government and taxi associations are making decisions that ultimately frame those daily 12 hour forays beneath the top-light, and if you sit there like a cow grazing in a field you will suddenly and unexpectedly be facing the total horror of the fatal slaughterhouse. Dismembering surely is something best avoided though surely that is what has occurred to our local industry, a de-facto deregulation fragmenting us into so many disparate parts and pieces. Clearly it is hard to function with your head in the Wallingford neighborhood while your feet reside somewhere on Capital Hill, with your hands shifting sand on Alki beach.
A colleague commented upon my last posting, saying I have been ignoring the problems and issues and poor decisions generated by BYG (Yellow Taxi); and that there are other concerned cabbies out there other than just me, phrasing his observation as "more than just you" which of course I agree with wholeheartedly. And please, keep those all those comments coming. I appreciate the feedback and points of view regardless of attitude and opinion one way or the other. Doesn't NPR say something like that during their "letter" section? God! I am becoming an Upper-Middle-Class American right before my very eyes!
In terms of Yellow, I suggest rereading sections of my last two entries to understand that I have been both hinting and placing blame upon Yellow and the other associations, because, for one, agreeing to renegotiate a finished plan previously approved by the City Council; two, accepting the clear deregulation of the local industry; and finally, three, having the temerity thinking they held the legal authority to represent over three thousand and counting independent owner operators. If you don't remember being asked your permission it's because you were not asked. And of course the City of Seattle and King County are also culpable because they too assumed a representative authority neither they nor the associations hold. Written permission from all of us was and is required. Obviously it was never given. One could say that all of us witnessed a "governmental" amateur hour which means many holes remain, potentially allowing for various legal openings. Is anyone out there ready to try again?
My response to the criticism that I am or have been operating in a personally created "self-appointed universe" is to point out my many efforts over the past 6-8 years to organize all the lease-drivers into a cohesive whole. Each time the interest has been underwhelming. As I keep saying, while one person can be at least temporarily effective, ie my successful L&I intervention, ultimately it is group
effort that not only just provokes the notion of change but actually achieves real and final resolution. Too often typical governmental and cooperate response is to chop off the snake's head only to find themselves strangled by the remaining body. Check out one of my all time favorite movies, "The Battle of Algiers" to see how the colonial French failed in that particular effort. I also refer you to to the late 1940s and early 1950s struggle the French had in Indochina against the Viet-Minh. While leaders are necessary, they can only point hopefully in the correct direction. Numbers, and their full participation, is the ultimate route to victory. More than Martin Luther King Jr. had to be bitten by the Selma police dogs, the blood and final redemption shared.
Sitting on the Crowne Plaza taxi stand I notice an "old hippie" looking fellow taking my picture. When I roll down my window, he yells, "Go back to your own country, you f___king bastard!" It is hard to return to where you already are but hey, it reminds me how so many of my fellow cabbies are treated. Lately I have had a spate of passengers saying 'How glad they are!" to have either a white or American driver. I have stopped commenting upon such racism and just take the fools where they need to go, which is certainly directly to hell!
Alexa the Ragdoll, Queen of San Miguel de Allende
I mention Alexa, a 14 year-old "ragdoll" cat I met ruling the San Miguel "no-kill" animal shelter because a local Seattle cabbie, along with his wife, raise that feline breed. Twice after soaks we walked confined pooches and visited the cats. Alexa was found in a local field. Go to the San Miguel SPCA website and see her picture.
"Third World" down at the Coleman Dock
If we needed more examples of the City of Seattle's failure to enforce anything concerning taxi I give you as "prime specimen number one" what is occurring down at the Pier-52 Ferry Dock. Due to construction, disembarking foot passengers are forced to run a gauntlet of town-car (Gypsy cab) drivers who harass and grab, especially anyone having the misfortune to be carrying a suitcase. I suggest, if bored, go down there yourself and watch the fun and games. And don't forget to bring your luggage! What in the world is the collective City of Seattle thinking?
As part of my working up to forming a political ad agency I have been reading various books. I highly recommend all of these:
Washington by Meg Greenfield
This Town by Mark Leibovich
Heist, Superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, His Republican Allies, and the Buying of Washington by Peter Stone
Putin's Kelptocracy by Karen Dawisha