Too often taxi presents a problem, like it did upon my very first fare Saturday morning, that is not easily resolved---it becoming abundantly clear that drunk in the backseat (Why me! I thought to myself) was beyond expected coherency, and intervention of some kind was necessary. Having seen this too many times in the past, I now have a mental check list of viable and potential options on how to address the unavoidable.
The first step is the obvious recognition that something is wrong, that a problem exists.
The second step is understanding whether the problem will just go away minus direct intervention. When it becomes clear that what the drunk is telling me to do is to continue driving forward into Lake Washington and our subsequent drowning; it is then readily apparent the passenger is beyond normal kinds of communication, and that a kind of taxi "shock therapy" is now called for.
Step three is the warning, at least the attempt to tell the inebriated soul lounging the in the back that his/her drunken intransigence will no longer be tolerated.
Step four is deciding what is the best remaining option, deciding this time that police were required and taking him to the South Precinct station was the easiest solution. On the way, I did try to get a passing patrol car's attention but they didn't see me.
Step Five will always be to remain both calm and resolute, knowing I tried to make this easy but when the individual neither will tell me where he is going and refuses to provide "up-front" money to continue a senseless meandering, I know something else has to quickly occur.
Pulling up to the police station fortunately brought quick relief as three SPD officers came to my assistance, finally (it was a verbal struggle) getting his address out of him---30_ _ South Austin Street and the now $25.00 displayed on the meter to the cabbie. Asked whether I would now take it home I cheerfully replied, "Sure. No problem." and got him there within three minutes, the now contrite gentleman mumbling what seemed like a sincere apology.
No, he wasn't a bad guy or criminal, just drunk beyond reason which is as commonplace as the wind blowing leaves down the street. Taking his actions as a personal insult or physically yanking him out of the cab would have been a mistake. That he victimized himself doesn't mean he needs to be further victimized by an angry cabbie, socking him in the nose not improving (or proving) anything.
Furthermore, dealing with the drunk and the insane and the foolish and the stupid is all part of the taxi terrain, like a hill you must either proceed up or go around. If you are not ready and prepared to deal with every aspect of human nature then you cannot call yourself a cabbie.
Being not just a driving professional, you are also instant psychiatrist, social worker and best friend administering to the stressed soul sitting behind you. Not only are there no other options, it is you only option---what you are, what you became when stepping into that cab and sitting beneath the top-light.
You are now taxi priest to the world as we know it, so bless all wayward travelers and they in turn will hopefully bless you either in words or money and simple expressed gratitude, all of us only humans sharing this great and grand and utterly mysterious, confounding experience called living upon plant earth. It is all we have.
In response to a perception that Uber was taking advantage of the New York City JFK Saturday 01/28/2017 cabbie strike in response to Trump's actions concerning immigration, a movement over Twitter, with the hashtag #DeleteUber has been raging the past few days. More and more it seems, for various reasons, more people have or are becoming disillusioned with Uber, which I call "the New Plantation," making the reference to pre-American Civil War Southern States Slave culture.
Another development is Uber's partnership with Toyota dealerships and the purchase/leasing of new Prius cars to new Uber drivers. For instance, Burien Toyota has its own separate section devoted entirely to this end. Only problem is that a mere two or three unsubstantiated negative comments will get the driver tossed off the Uber app while remaining legally liable for the car.
As I said, welcome to the "New Plantation" and the whips and shackles. Fun, ain't it, when totally subjective opinion, minus any ability to appeal, can ruin your life, impacting you and your family for years to come. Fair? This has nothing to do with fairness, profit the sole motivator.
Next Week in NYC
Monday Feb 6th I will be flying into that same JFK airport to spend a few days looking at paintings, specifically the "Max Beckmann in NYC" show. Given time and energy, next week's entry will probably be brief.
Postscript 02/01/2017---A Message From Seattle/King County
Yesterday I received my new for-hire driving license in the mail, and along with that came an enclosed slip of paper with the following message, a message I am sure will interest all Seattle & KC area cabbies:
Attention For-Hire Drivers:
"Seattle Municipal Code 6.310.450 (C) and, King County Code 6.64.620 requires you to post a 5 1/2" in height and 81/2" in length reproduction of your for-hire driver's license in the taxicab and shall be contained under a sealed transparent cover, in such a manner that the contents cannot be altered or substituted, placed inside each taxicab in such a location that the license is clearly visible from the passenger compartment at all times that the licensee is operating, driving or using the vehicle"
There is a second paragraph telling you can go to a print shop and they will do all the work for you. Perfect Copy & Print, located at 111 Broadway East, Seattle, is a great place to have it done, charging less than $3.00 to do the enlargement. There is now a cab stand just across the street so it couldn't be any easier to get it done, giving you a free place to park your cab minus interference from SPD.
Anyway, the missive from Seattle/KC ends on an ominous note. Beware and be aware!
"Failure to post your for-hire driver's license is a violation subject to civil or criminal sanctions."
Ain't that interesting, you the innocent cabbie suddenly the instant criminal for not displaying the license. All I got to say is, just do what they ask and get on with your taxi life. Good grief!