Sometimes I forget just how miles I drive in a given year but since I put on new tires once back from Europe, I now know minus all doubt that in one solitary month I drove 5000 plus miles which says to me everything I don't want to know about cab driving. Too many times I have said to anyone within hearing distance that everything involved with taxi is fatigued---the driver, the car, the dispatch, you name it---every moving part including the cabbie subjected to unusual wear and tear grinding our entire operation down to bare fiber and taxi bone, with the ultimate cost both physical and financial, killing the soul and destroying the bank account. No fun, no fun I keep repeating, and until I finally remove myself from this insane business I must again say, this isn't any fun!
Black Shorts, Black T-Shirt & Bedroom Slippers
My taxi credo is "I'll stop for anybody!" and that was certainly the case last week driving northbound downtown on 4th Avenue near James Street when I saw a middle-aged man waving dressed like it was August and not the first week in wintery March. His story, and certainly a sad one, was that he had just been released uncharged from the King County jail after being held for two days. And the reason for his temporary incarceration?
Sunday night, while both he and the wife were hitting the bottle, they began arguing over how their tax refund was spent, given his understanding of what they had agreed to was different from what actually occurred. Off he went to bed only to be awakened at two in the morning by the local police who swept him off to jail minus his clothes, telephone and wallet, they responding to the wife's "whiskey and marijuana" addled call.
Originally telling me he was heading home to Bothell, he decided to instead detour to his sister's house, given he had no real idea what fate awaited him upon his arrival home. I agreed that was the best course, and once I had $30.00 in hand courtesy of his sister I wished him luck because it seemed that he needed it, that and perhaps a divorce lawyer.
Finally I might have learned my lesson about treating troubled or disadvantaged passengers as normal, as regular people as opposed to how both they are usually treated, and worse, how they view themselves and their life situation. Picking the woman up at a Seattle Housing Authority building, the same kind of housing my late mother resided for over twenty-one years, she was on her way to some kind resident input meeting sponsored by SHA. My mistake again was responding to her as someone who, at least theoretically, was someone deemed capable in assisting with resident concerns, meaning we could have an actual lucid conversation about what SHA was doing or not. Making a joke at the end, she somehow took it to imply that I was not an honest cabbie, prompting her to say that to whoever was at the meeting who in turn called Yellow. Given that I thought I had already learned this years ago, I was mad at myself for not remembering an object lesson dating back to 1975 and my first psychiatric job: that due to past damage, some folks, not feeling equal, were going to try to hurt me regardless of how I treated them. It something I will include in my upcoming taxi correspondence course series, something I might term "the fine art of passenger relations" because it is an art, relating properly to as many different kinds of people as there are upon the planet. As I say, I meet everybody, and once again I am reminded of that. Am I naive? No. Am I dumb? Yes, yes I am dumb.