Ah yes, Spring is now official---deciduous trees and blackberry vines are now budding, with forsythia and ornamental cherries presenting early blooms for our mid-March pleasure. Accompanying this seasonal greening symphony are subtle perfumes announcing to both insect and human alike that pollen and scent is in the air. Oh yes, if only, if only all fragrances were subtle or sweet, accenting the brain like Wordsworth's immortal daffodils.
If only but no, the world I share with fellow cabbies is often toxic, diesel fumes and blatant insult our accompanying atmosphere. But too there is also kindness and expressed interest mellowing out the sour, gently anointing the unexpected brief pleasure and occasion caressing hour. Such is a cabbies' life and times upon the blacktop in the darkened night and dawning day.
The Taxi Gods Wag a Finger, Warning Do Not Harm or Insult the Good Driver
Example # One:
Twice this past greater weekend Karma took my side, saying, minus all doubt, please to not injure the good cabbie, all he/she doing is making every attempt to do what we do, transporting passengers Point A to B as efficiently as possible. When the drunk woman from that venerable West Seattle Tavern, "The Pogi" became mean and controlling, not "taking" but "commandeering" the cab, using her "I am paying" as her gun, I turned around and took her back. What she is like minus too much beer I do not know but at that given moment her worst nature was on full display.
What occurred after that was instant vindication, getting a late evening airport fare, and I was off and running, even getting a last 3:45 AM airport run which made me 17 minutes late getting the cab back to my day driver. My fare from Mercer Island to the Fremont I will spotlight in a few paragraphs down. Truly amazing was this quick succession of great fares. Interestingly, when coming back from the airport the first time, I was again offered a pickup for the same "Pogi" troublemaker. I called dispatch and politely declined, not wanting to find out how another hour of drinking had improved her saturated temper.
Example # Two:
Yes, amazingly it is true, Yellow is indeed paying too much money (I believe it is $6000.00 monthly) to Amtrak for our exclusive access to King Street Station. This makes me wonder why I and all my fellow Yellow-ites are subjected to incidents like the one occurring Monday night when two well-dressed upper-middle class fools (man and woman in their early 70s) refused to move their blocking $60,000-plus car when it was self-evident that an entire line of cabs were attempting to move up and pick up passengers. They were truly out-of-their-minds, angry that I would ask them to just move forward 30 feet. The woman laughed, derision and disdain her misplaced crowning glory.
Passing them by, I picked up a gentleman going to the closest hotel possible, the Yesler Best Western, allowing me to fly back to the train for other possible customers. Arriving back there was a line of folks waiting, and, what would you know, just like the Sunday incident, I was instantly offered compensation by a fare to the Sea-Tac Marriott,a pleasant couple from Idaho flipping me a fifty dollar bill for my efforts.
Why that privileged couple felt they could and can do anything they want anytime they want is anyone's guess but I it looked like to me that, for them, they were the new American Brahmans and I was just another unwashed Dalit. If karma has any say, I have no doubt they lost a bunch of money in another Monday Wall Street panic. At least I had a kindly nod from observant gods in the know. Thanks!
Usually Only Pooches are Allowed
Something occurred that I have never allowed in my nearly 30 years plying the taxi byways: allowing a passenger to transfer from the back to the front seat, that privilege previously only granted to dogs of all persuasions. Picking her up on Mercer Island just off of East Mercer Way, we immediately began an interesting conversation, she a Sanitation engineer based in Switzerland who travels all over sub-Saharan Africa creating sanitation systems for those in the greatest need.
Heading west-bound on I-90 she started to maneuver up to the front seat because it was hard to hear me in the back. Previously only hungry dogs and either the insane or the drunk or both have tried to make it across that sacred barrier. That she is not insane prompted me to quickly pull over and let her up to the front. We talked about schizophrenia and dropping out of high school and how people are formed psychologically.
That this was a singular experience goes, I suppose, without saying. That it all ended up with a fifty dollar bill was the taxi cherry atop an interesting fare. As I always say about taxi: you never know and man! that is certainly true.
An unpleasant odor it is when a cabbie must, first, fight Uber and others to get upon a designated cabstand, and compounding the insult, an insane person interferes. That this happened to a longtime cabbie who once owned and ran his own taxi company says that, regardless of your experience and taxi seniority, bad and stupid things can and will happen.
The situation was simple but is now more complex. When telling the two offending drivers that they must move from the Terry & Republican cabstand, some crazy person across the street began yelling and flipping the driver off, shouting that the drivers should stay where they are.
If the veteran cabbie made a mistake, it was walking over to the guy's car and taking pictures. What this resulted in a few minutes later was the fool calling dispatch and saying the cabbie had "hit and run" him. He even went as far as filing an official complaint with the City of Seattle.
While a true pain-in-the-ass dealing with this kind of nonsense, it is good that the _____ went so far to identify himself, leaving him open to various kinds of prosecutions and legal action. I have recommended that the cabbie go legally after the guy, knowing full well he will be completely absolved by the City.
Yes, this is the kind of bullshit we all must deal with daily. And making this worse is I haven't seen nary one time in my 30 years an offending motorist ticketed for sitting upon our cab stands. Yes, we will be cited by the City for all kinds of petty offenses but stopping idiots from clogging our stands they never do. Such is our world but must it be our constant fate?
I suppose we all know the answer. Too obvious to not understand that priorities, being what they are, nonsense will continue until it doesn't, but as is said, don't hold your breath, blue not a natural color.