The taxi roller-coaster, no, not the amusement park kind, was clearly in operation this past weekend. Ah yes, the financial spills and thrills of an up and down and up business model---ain't it just exciting--- experiencing the daily (and nightly) unknown? No, no it isn't but to provide all those who might be interested in knowing, the following is a peek into three select early Sunday morning hours, succinctly expressing the adage "God! you never know what will happen next!" which forever will be an accurate taxi truism.
And talking to folks Tuesday with Yellow's Puget Sound Dispatch side, they said "our accounts receivable are up!" which might be true but the sad and actual reality is that our off-street and hotel cab stand is down the past two months by at least 50 % or worse, meaning all of this is part and parcel of the roller-coaster. When telling M. that I will put her in a cab so she can see (and feel) the situation as it really is, she declined, she, and everyone one else I know in both in management and the taxi lobbyist world responding the same: "No, no, I can't do that!"
But I guarantee you that if they did obtain their for-hire license, plopping their buttock in a cab even once a month, they would be singing a far different taxi tune. God help them during their first traffic (police) stop, though in truth I wouldn't wish that kind of misery upon anyone. What can you do when an officer is screaming at you, scaring you have to death concerning all the dire possibilities? The answer is very little other than hoping for the best and wishing for the person to please disappear as quickly as possible.
Given my new twin position as both management and driver, I know I will have a huge advantage straddling both sides of the taxi fence, both realities smacking me in the face. And wouldn't you know that once again this weekend I had to deal with an overly aggressive drunk female passenger, someone falling in the more traditional "permanently pickled" category, conscious yes, but similarly completely out-of-control. What am I, some kind of human taxi punching bag? Well, it seems to be true, making me dismal, if not totally black and blue, and if I had a taxi lawyer, perhaps I would sue.
Anatomy of 3 Taxi Hours---1:30 AM-4:30 AM
Fare # 1---1:30 AM
Stuffed after eating my meal of the day at the Honey Court: clams in black bean sauce, I set off from Chinatown about 45 minutes before official bar-break wondering where to go and what to do when I get a call in Madison Valley for a house in an alley located at 30th & East Harrison. Calling, it should have been easy to locate them but dispatch had the info as house behind a white fence when in reality it was a white house behind a metal fence, resulting in a few minute's confusion.
Once all mystery was dispelled a couple gets in the cab going all the way to the Motel Six situated at 160th & Pacific Highway South, just about a mile north of Sea-Tac proper. Not quite believing my good luck, off we went, getting off at the Southcenter exit and heading up the hill to Pac-Highway.
Turning off the meter once we got to the highway, I got $42.00 and a big thank you from the passengers, telling the couple who happened to waiting for a cab that, "He is a great driver!"
Fare # 2---1:50 AM
What the young couple were doing standing there at the Motel Six I never asked but I assumed that they had been repeatedly passed up because they were young and black, which for many cabbies means passing them by. Me, I pick up everybody, and who cares about other cabbie's stupidity! taking them up to South 246th & Pac-Highway. The young woman asked if I was a Sagittarius, which I admitted that, yes, I was part of that good fraternity. She said she knew by my "vibe."
On the way I pointed out the Chevron Gas Station where the kidnap victim had leaped out of into the safety of my cab, a memory forever staying with me. A few blocks past the station I turned right off the highway, leaving them off on a darkened street.
No, they were not dangerous, only people wishing to get home. I got them there. And it was beginning to rain.
Fare # 3---2:10 AM
Ready for a nap, I pulled off in a parking lot, quickly dozing off. How long I slept I couldn't tell you but I was awakened by a fare offering, telling me Dave was waiting at 180000 International Boulevard (Pacific Hwy South). What that was I wasn't sure but thought it might be the Sea-Tac 13 Coins 24-hour restaurant, which turned out to be the correct guess. By this time the rain was vigorous, saying the storm was here to stay, at least there in the south end. Dave was going home to Burien, and ten minutes later, and $15.00 dollars with tip, I had him there.
Fare # 4---2:20 AM
It was now readily apparent I was the only Yellow cab in the greater Sea-Tac area as immediately I was again offered a fare, this time at Southcenter---four young drunken kids not understanding which side of the mall they were at. After some questioning, I figured out where they were, four slightly damp and silly people heading to north Renton on the east side of Lake Washington.
The ring leader of the quartet thought he was a comedian, which he wasn't, and regardless I too tired to laugh. And besides, he wasn't funny, something fully displayed by his question of why was I now going 55 MPH? Given that the rainfall was now the proverbial "cats and dogs" I said "didn't they tell you in driving education to slow down 5 MPH during hazardous driving conditions? Making it worse, the not so comical clown was sitting in the front seat, annoying me more than usual. $25.00 with tip and glad to be rid of them.
Fare #5---2:37 AM
Instantly I get another call, this time a very early airport run from the 9800 thousand block of Rainier Avenue South, a location directly across Lake Washington from where I had just vacated. Not quite knowing the exact location, and not getting a response to my calls, I peered through the murk before fairly easily finding the waterfront address. Leaping down the steps, the door opened to multiple bags and passengers on their way to Loreto, Mexico, a 5:00 AM flight explaining their early departure.
Getting them to Sea-Tac minus any delays resulted in a very pleasant ride and $40.00 total for a $26.00 fare. Viva Mexico!
Fare #6---3:30 AM
Having enough and heading back north to close out my day, I got yet another call as I nearing downtown, this time a club in the opposite direction south at 2905 1st Avenue South. Knowing that there should be, as usual, a fleet of patrolling cabs trolling for errant drunks I headed out there anyway, but lo and behold these 2 guys from NYC were actually still there, faithfully waiting for their yellow steed taking them back to the Thompson Hotel at 1st & Stewart.
We had a good conversation about NYC and cab in general, resulting in 20 dollars for a ten dollar fare. I was glad to have it, thinking it was a good way to end the night.
Fare #7---4:10 AM
Having just finished gassing up at 105th and Aurora Avenue North, the night that wouldn't end finally concluded with one last forlorn soul, having missed his final bus, taking him to 120th & Roosevelt NE for ten bucks. God! was I glad I could finally call it quits and sleep, which I did just after 5:00 AM but not before I had to pet Roxy, my sister's very insistent dachshund, Roxy my usual early morning greeter when I stay in Seattle.
Ah yes, true taxi reality and over $168.00 for three hours work. If only it was always like this, but can I please be a little more awake? That would be taxi sugar and spice and everything cabby nice!
One Hat Again
Yesterday I trained and today I quit, writing a letter of resignation even before I signed a contact. Too much, too much is the quick answer, along with the realization I would not be getting any sleep. If anyone, who is extremely experienced and willing to untangle the knots, please do apply. They need you!
Postscript 03/03/2017 9:55 AM:
With more time, I will more fully explain my reasons behind declining on what first glance looked like a wonderful opportunity to both assist, influence and shape the Yellow Fleet side of Seattle Yellow Cab in particular and the combined association as a whole. What became clear on Tuesday is that they wanted me to do the duties once done separately by my friend Abebe and the superintendent's office. On top of that I was expected to be there seven days a week. All I can say, that for me personally, already up to my neck in work and projects, it is not feasible. More next week.