Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Farwest Cabbie Murdered & Seattle Solidary Network & Frank's Wake

Sometime this morning a Farwest Taxi driver was murdered while carrying a passenger in Burien at the approximate location of South 140th Street & 8th Avenue South.  The details are at this point murky but it appears that the driver somehow got in the middle of some type of domestic dispute or argument. Given that we are approaching the August Blue Moon, I advise all of my fellow cabbies to be especially careful for the next few days. Any veteran driver knows without any doubt that domestic flare-ups are the MOST dangerous of situations.  I have more than once cautiously intervened when the arguments have grown heated to the point of spontaneous combustion.  As more information becomes available I will share it immediately.  I have been continuously checking all the local news websites but nothing so far.  My sister did hear a short report on the shooting while listening to KUOW, the local NPR radio station.  She was kind enough to immediately call and tell me what she knew.  This is our first local murder since about 2007, with the last incident occurring in a residential section of the City of Sea-Tac.  The killer was immediately apprehended and is spending the rest of his life in prison.  I always think back to the bad old days of the late 1980s when NYC averaged 50 or more dead cabbies annually.  Thankfully their death toll has dramatically fallen to only a few a year.  We in Seattle are quite fortunate that are biggest challenge is stupidity and little else.

Young Idealists

Yesterday morning I got up early and met with David C., a member of something called the "Seattle Solidarity Network" which is an organisation fighting to protect the disadvantaged and abused and under represented.  David had read my blog and for months we have been trying to meet up.  Why it reminded me of my own youth and how I faced the world then.  Come to think about it, unlike someone like Milt Romney who changes like the wind, I have remained reasonably consistent.  Some might say I have never grown up.  I suppose, like Alice Copper, I will forever be eighteen, "and I like it, like it, yes I do!"  Check out their website:  Their business card proclaims "Don't Fight Alone!"  Sounds good to me.  Boy did I ever feel alone when the gang of drunken cowboys were chasing me down the streets of Bennett, Colorado Spring 1970. Nothing like a bunch of misguided fools to force you to make a stand and decide which side you are on. Good to see that the 60s spirit is alive and simmering in mundane and totally asleep Seattle!

Frank Morgan Wake

Frank was found peacefully dead relaxing in his recliner so it seems his death was sudden and completely unexpected.  The irony was that he had gotten a radiant health report from his doctor just this past Friday.  Frank had been dealing with various complications related to diabetes. For those interested in attending, a wake/memorial will be held at the Reservoir Tavern, 8509 Roosevelt Way at 4:00 PM Saturday September 8th.  Frank loved bars and taverns, in fact having met his longtime partner Lynn at the Two Bells.  Though working I will be making a brief appearance bidding my friend goodbye.

Quick Post-Script

Scott Gutierrez, the Transportation reporter at PI.Com sent me the link to the Associated Press article concerning the Farwest murder.  Thank you, Scott! It turns out that the incident occurred on Tuesday evening about 6:00 PM, not on Wednesday as I had earlier stated.  As the passenger, a young girl left the taxi a man identified as her father drove up and shot and killed the cabbie.  As details are released, I will report them here.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Frank Morgan RIP

All concerns diminish when news like this is received.  My old friend and taxi colleague and collaborator Frank Morgan was found dead this morning.  I have no other details.  Frank provided the artwork for my last book and through the years created some truly wonderful posters for various readings.  I was looking forward to future pairings, hoping to one day facilitate the broad recognition his artwork deserved.  One of his paintings appeared in the  recent show of my modest art collection.  He will be sorely missed, both by me and Yellow's Hopelink office where his computer wizardry continually saved the taxi day.  Frank retired from actual driving after a young man shot a revolver off inches from his head, permanently deafening one ear.  He was representative of a now bygone taxi era where artists and college students populated the industry as they transitioned from the top light to other careers and ambitions.  It is difficult to have such a talented friend disappear this suddenly.  He will be both mourned and missed.

Other topics:

She who can't be named felt that I didn't fully communicate the temerity I know too well in relation to misbehaving customers, that I didn't convey accurately their insulting behavior, at least to the extent that I feel and comprehend.  Rereading the posting and making a few textual alterations, other than being written in an exhausted state I felt I conveyed my trauma and angst.  If anything there was too much detail about the "route bully."  This weekend the worst incident were these silly youngsters who were offended when instead of playing the radio I suggested that they provide their own "background music."   It appears that they were on controlled substances and in their exaggerated state fled the taxi all because I suggested that they endure a few minutes of silence.  I did insist that they pay me the five dollars owed.  How would they react if they were legitimately threatened?  One can only wonder and shake the head.

Though all of us Seattle-area cabbies love the amazing business generated by the over two hundred cruise ship visits annually docking at Piers 66 and 91, an unfortunate byproduct is the industry's habit of burning bunker fuel, which is the very dirty residual from diesel, jet fuel and gasoline refining.  Anything to save a buck and the cruise ship industry is fighting tighter regulation.  High levels of heavy metals, sulfur and ash emitted from the ship's stacks have been linked to asthma, crib deaths and various lung-related abnormalities.  Is a few dollars in local pockets truly worth the poisoning of tens of thousands?  Evidently.

I have heard credible rumor that the Teamster connected effort to organize Seattle cabbies is dying upon the taxi vine.  No one other than the airport Yellows have signed up and they too are losing interest.  I could have told Leonard that taxi drivers are impossible to work with.  I suppose it is better to learn by personal experience guaranteeing that it will remain imprinted upon the resistant mind.  Taxi drivers are prone to personal implosion.  All those hours behind the wheel makes you emotional. This situation it appears speaks to that.  I told Leonard that he and his Teamster friends knew little about the industry.  Glad to see that they are learning what I and others already know.

Within the past month Yellow drivers have twice engaged in fisticuffs with each other, including an incident upon the DT Sheraton stand.  Maybe we can make it into a reality TV show and have refereed matches.  Wouldn't that be fun!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Taxi Passenger Prototypes: Drunks & Bullies

As anyone involved in a service-related industry will attest, customers, also referred to as our bread and butter, can be as palatable as burnt toast.  Until the majority comprehends that civility is our only viable option, obnoxious behavior will be the norm for an unfortunate minority.  I will make the not very profound pronouncement  that such nonsense will end when it does and not a moment sooner.  What does that statement mean, or imply?  That we may be waiting centuries before people stop reverting to their more primitive selves.  Though evolutionary or adaptive change can occur rather quickly in endemic or isolated environments, expecting the entire human community to quickly remedy egregious behavior can only be termed an opiate fueled pipe dream.  Now after my dismal introduction, let me introduce you to three examples taken solely from this past weekend.  Exhibit A sort of fits both categories because he was both  drunk and a bully.  Of course all taxi drivers throughout the known world know full well that alcohol and bullying are often peas in the same behavioral pod.  Drunks always enjoy giving convoluted directions.  And the hardest blow I have ever received under any circumstances was administered by a drunk woman.  Alcohol is the unfortunate truth serum revealing an individuals' true hidden self.  Exhibit B was completely sober so what was her excuse?  And my last example featured tonight was just pleasantly inebriated, somehow a connoisseur of wavy locks though perhaps the most irresponsible of the entire trio. I will let you choose your favorite. For me they are curdled memory souring mind and sour though all three of them shared a common trait: the permission to justify any and all behavior regardless of appropriateness or consequence.  Passengers like these are nightmarish.  Welcome to my worst dreams.

Though he had kept me waiting nearly fifteen minutes he insisted that he get a flat rate from West Seattle to Redmond located twelve miles or so directly east.  If not I had to take him downtown but since it was nearly 4:20 Saturday morning I knew he was bluffing.  I told him make it fifty paid in advance and you got a deal.  What he failed to tell me was that he resided nearly two long miles past State Route 520 down Avondale Road which resulted in a sixty-two dollar meter. I suppose I should take responsibility for not having him be more specific but he was being intentionally vague and I bitterly dislike negotiating with the disoriented mind.  The gentleman in question certainly fit the Redmond profile which varies in race but usually not in temper: in his case a well-educated white European, probably Germanic in his mid-thirties working in the IT industry and grossing approximately 100,000 grand a year.  Normally it is the upper-caste sub-continent Indians who take the taxi insufferable cake though perhaps he was only emulating his peers.  That he was sneering should go without mention though I will anyway.  My philosophy in taking him home was that it was more or less 30-40 minutes in duration which translated into a fifty dollar hour which is always acceptable despite in this case the associated pain and insult.  Thankfully he fell asleep and was I spared his drivel. Awakening him as I came off 520 he it was then he informed me of his actual location.  More than once I requested that he please tell me when to stop. I thought he was paying attention when he suddenly spoke up saying whoa! whoa! you passed it!  That he blacked out in a mere 60 seconds was astonishing.

I then lost my temper and told him at this juncture he should be walking, pointing to the meter.  I dislike a lying thief who was just being cheap, having every ability to pay.  I did my u-turn and stopped at the entrance to his complex and said "walk, it will do you good!"  After all this the fool actually expected me to drive him to his door.  Good luck with that as he went off bitching into the night air.  Good riddance was my sentiment.  Nothing like a good dose of privileged insolence to christen my weekend!  Thanks a lot.

My second example, this time of the "routing bully" came during another protracted period of everything that could go wrong did.  The weekend was generally maddening because I would have wonderfully smooth periods then bam! no-shows and other assorted trouble would leap out of nowhere, gleefully stopping me in place, in this case the north-end. Given I have seen this scenario repeatedly over my twenty-five years I usually just take a deep breath and bear with it.  The taxi gods, like Zeus of old, occasionally love to toss a few thunderbolts. It is always in jest so why take its seriously?  But the young woman leaving work got my attention immediately.  I sensed her dismissive cruelty.  Her avoidance of any real human contact transmitted her attitude.  She was instant trouble.  Her workplace was located at the corner of N. 78th & Greenwood N.

She gruffly informed me that she was going to Magnolia and that she would tell me how to go and that was end of the story, and turn around too! When I told her that this type of response wasn't acceptable she said, as they always do, that she was paying me and I would do what she wanted.  In other words, I was the dirt beneath her feet and she would do and say anything that pleased her.  This type of individual always follows the same pattern. Instead of politely engaging in a conversation about various possible routes, the taxi and its driver is suddenly hijacked, commandeered by the distrusting customer.  All control is wrenched away with the customer refusing any possible dialogue or compromise. I learned many years ago that this kind of attitude is potentially dangerous, similar to being held at knife or gun point. Surrender, the passenger demands, and shut up!  It is humiliating position to be put in, especially when the person in question wasn't even born when I first started driving taxi. All I can say is that the routes to the address she gave (at least she did that, making her an exception to the "route bully" rule) are elementary, either over the Fremont or Ballard bridges as you have to cross the canal.  There are no other options.  Clearly she probably has had some less than satisfactory taxi rides but that doesn't excuse her brutality.  Given half a chance we could have discussed potential routes as we headed toward her address.  Little did she know or care that one of my most enduring memories was a picnic in Magnolia I had in 1976 with the woman I later married.  But I bullies don't concern themselves with reality or sentiment.  All they want to do is punish.  And all I would have provided was perhaps the most efficient ride possible.  But again, why care when instead you have permission to destroy everything in your path, a human tornado or hurricane knocking down all perceived obstructions.  How pleasant it isn't!  And will the City of Seattle and King County stop licensing all these ill-prepared drivers that help perpetuate this kind of response and attitude?  We all know the answer to that one.  I have also suggested that we begin posting a customer code of conduct inside the taxi. No one should be allowed to be a pirate upon the taxi seas, be it driver or passenger.  May commonsense one day prevail!

Last but certainly not least though it was one of my last fares of the weekend was the drunk woman who fancied my hair.  She fell in the category of the drunken molester and I will tell you from too much experience that this category is difficult to dissuade.  The only saving grace was her reasonably sober friend. Without her assistance the ride would have been a complete disaster.  Can you believe we were all laughing at the end?  Such is taxi madness!

I picked the pair up on Alki Beach and they were headed to South Park to buy drugs.  I know this from the telephone call the molester made. She immediately made a strong impression by mistaking me for a woman.  Given her drunken state that was understandable. What wasn't was the stroking of my hair. Being a nice guy I made her stop, with her friend also suggesting that she behave herself.  A block forward she again commenced her activity, this time grabbing my neck. I instinctively grabbed her hand and crunch! went her long artificial nails!  I started shouting while simultaneously pulling over to the curb demanding that they get out. The molester, who by the way weighed a good three hundred pounds began wailing while her friend yelled No! No! No!  Above the din we finally came to an agreement and off we continued to South Park with the molester singing Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! more times than I wish to remember.  As we neared the destination she kept repeating "Now I understand! Now I understand!" as at that point we were all laughing because it was all too stupid not to mention insane for any response other than laughter.  The ride was totally ridiculous but I did get twenty-five dollars so it was all worth it, wasn't it?

Beyond these three sweethearts the rest of the eighty-four fares I had this weekend were all wonderful but truthfully I don't truly remember.   It was busy but all those fits and starts are certainly irritating though come Saturday morning I will be ready to do it all over again. Does anyone really believe that?  I hope so.





Friday, August 17, 2012

Robert Graves & The Real & Actual Taxi Experience?

Robert Graves (7/24/95-12/07/85), for those unfamiliar with post-WWI British literature, was an Irish/English writer known best for very personal  poems and prose concerning his time in the trenches and a little bit thereafter his classical though somewhat fictional Roman biographies, I, Claudius and Claudius the God, which were later made into Masterpiece Theater presentations.  Though never having met him, I have always enjoyed and admired his work, his WWI-based autobiography "Goodbye To All That" is a truly amazing example of descriptive prose; and his poem "It's A Queer Time" a must read, along with Wilfred Owen's poetry, for those especially interested to what it means to experience unflinching armed combat. For additional non-fictional prose try dipping into JB Priestley's "Margin Released" and read how a bomb explosion buried him alive.  Fun stuff indeed on the war front.  Quite accidentally I had a small personal connection with Graves when the San Francisco magazine I was working on in 1979-82 published his poem "The Faeries" without first consulting me.  I asked if they had gotten his permission.  "But he's dead, isn't he?" they responded.  No, I informed them, instead he just so happened to be currently residing in the western Mediterranean amongst the Balearic Archipelago.  This was all too typical with these particular folks. Life forward to them was a fantasy and history and past writing was presumed dead and buried which explained their knowledge of Robert Graves.  Last year I read on-line some quotes concerning my time upon that magazine. Again more non-factual gobbledygook filling the already weighted air!

All this preamble brings me to the poem by Graves I want to share because it to me describes the taxi driving experience though of course his poem has nothing to do with that passenger transporting business.  The Welsh connection is important as I have spent various short periods living in northern Wales at my most favorite of locations, Saint Deiniol's (now Gladstone's) Library.

                               The Traveler's Curse After Misdirection (from the Welsh)

                                                  May they wander stage by stage
                                                  Of the same vain pilgrimage
                                                  Stumbling on, age after age,
                                                  Night and day, mile after mile,
                                                  At each and every step, a stile;
                                                  At each and every stile, withal,
                                                  May they catch their feet and fall;
                                                  At each and every fall they take,
                                                  May a bone within them break;      
                                                  And may the bones that break within 
                                                   Not be, for variation's sake,
                                                   Now rib, now thigh, now arm, now shin,
                                                   But always, without fail, THE NECK.

I do know that many passengers would enjoy WRINGING my neck!  For those who have ever stomped  over the green English countryside I am sure they have encountered a stile a least once or twice, which is a kind of wooden steps gratefully taking you up and over the fence impeding your passage to the next rolling hill.

Other taxi:

Yesterday I visited with Abdul of "CNG for Hire."  Rare is it that I am impressed with someones' knowledge of the business.  He knows his taxi stuff in a way that's more comprehensive than mine.  He knows codes and statues and some such documentation which is boring but nonetheless important. I said that perhaps there are workable routes to agreement but first all the for-hire vehicles must stop their DT & Capitol Hill cruising for customers. He said he would try to do what I believe is impossible, keep all those drivers from  making a living.  Again, what did Seattle & King County think would happen once they licensed all those for-hire cars. Clearly little thought if any was put into their decision making so now the entire industry (and the hungry for-hire drivers) must endure their bureaucratic error. How is any of this reasonable?  Abdul and I agreed to meet again.

Wednesday August 15th, a taxi contingent from both large and small companies (and a representative from Shuttle Express) met with the director of Labor & Industry, Judy Schurke and a number of her cohorts.  The issue was how to continue forward the progress made possible by both HB 1367 and ensuing dialog that continues between all interested parties. Especially compelling was description concerning how certain conclusions had been reached.  I would paint the meeting atmosphere as firm but congenial  A reasonable airing of concerns were discussed followed by thoughtful questions and answers.  I believe the logjam has been freed and resolution will soon be flowing down to the taxi sea through the Olympia governmental delta. All indications are for better weather ahead.


Monday, August 13, 2012

How Not To Do It

Taxi is a world of various inefficiencies, intentional or not.  In all fairness, probably everything is like that.  The counselling/therapeutic profession was certainly lamentable given my very intimate  birds eye view dating from 1973 forward.  Unfortunately incompetence can have very tragic results.  Today's tales are at  their worse only sorry expressions of misdirected effort.  Tears may have been spilled but perhaps only out of laughter (almost a Bob Dylan quote).  The derailed taxi "strike" (referenced last posting) is particularly comedic given that anyone involved should have foreseen the obvious remedy.  But too often many in the taxi industry require sharp jabs or pokes to literally get the point.  As long as there is no external bleeding I suppose less than subtle suggestion not to mention minor retaliation  is an effective teacher.

How not to do a labor action is what happened when the Sea-Tac affiliated Yellow drivers decided that a labor slowdown was an effective strategy.  It also underlines my oft now repeated point that the Teamsters know little about the industry and how it functions.  When you decide to not serve the airport you should first remember that management could and did call in reinforcements essentially negating your protest.  That this occurs anytime there is a shortage of airport cabs (for whatever mundane reason) should have informed the Teamsters and their taxi allies that their symbolism was futile and bound for abject failure.  What in the world were they thinking?  Clearly very little though wisely the strike was called off.  Thankfully they saw that they were derailed and didn't push the issue.  And instantly the local media no longer cared.  How surprising!

How not to deliver a taxi to the waiting customer is what happened Sunday afternoon when the customer's deliverance was a napping cabbie.  After taking a VA account passenger to the West Valley Highway Extended Stay I had to nap despite there being business everywhere.  Nodding off in the shady parking lot I was awakened about twenty minutes later by a young woman wondering if I was her taxi.  Evidently she had been waiting for awhile and had just gotten the automated call out but all she found was this groggy driver.  What I believe happened was that the correct driver was belled into the OTHER Extended Stay sitting about 2 miles west from where I sat.  I told her "give me five!" and I got her up to the Tukwila Light-rail station.   I suppose you could say she paid for my nap.  I always enjoy getting paid for sleeping behind the stationary wheel.

How not to drive your car is when the young man (in broad sunshine) has his head sticking out of the passenger side window retching onto the forgiving street and you sit gaping in your vehicle bewildered to why the taxi isn't moving.  Kind of an "only in Seattle" moment.   How could she not see?  Call it one of those unanswerable questions which I won't even attempt to answer though if you really wish to know might want to ask someone at the Washington State Department of Motor Vehicles.  You might even receive an amusing response, something similar to something uttered or not in Iron Curtain Hungary circa 1984.  It is quite easy to decipher a blank stare.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Too Much in Two Weeks

So much, too much has been happening while I have been trying to enjoy the summer during vacation breaks in eastern Washington and central Oregon.  While I was relaxing the taxi world of course kept rolling down the road.  The Sea-Tac based Yellow drivers protested the town car/limo presence at the airport, making a ruckus at Port of Seattle facilities. The Seattle City Council passed the L&I connected meter rate increase.  On Saturday a Teamsters sponsored taxi organizational meeting was held, attracting a sum total of five drivers.  A petition drive directed toward the "for hire car" industry is building momentum, with me as of yet failing to create the petition form.  A gentleman from a local taxi insurance firm wants me to consider creating both a newsletter and taxi-oriented advertising.  Tuesday was our monthly commission meeting and I was elected chair of the commission. Yesterday I also attended the quarterly TAG (Taxi Advisory Group) meeting.  And simmering on the back burner is the unresolved issue of past Department of Labor & Industry audit requests.  All of this means I am about to swoon , fainting upon the floor.  At least I'll have a clear landing as she who can't be named swept in and made my joint habitable. I was working on it but one could hardly tell. In the battle of Sagittarius the Archer vs that organized goat Capricorn, Ms Angora clearly won!

Craig Leisy, from Seattle's Consumer Affairs office, making presentations at both the commission and TAG meetings outlined their current for-hire and limo enforcement strategies.  They have been doing some effective work.  Contained in a proposed Taxicab & For Hire Vehicle Seattle City Council bill are some tough new provisions like no vehicle color scheme and the removal of those false top lights.  Also various violations would be upgraded to Class C, meaning the fines are much higher.  One suggested change I complained about was requiring taxi drivers to open the doors for their customers.  I can tell you from repeated personal experience that they don't even do that in merry old London.  I said that the drivers would find that kind of rule demeaning.  And when has the world been able to legislate commonsense?  Not recently as far as I know.

On my first vacation leg I finally finished that volume of essay by John Burroughs entitled "Fresh Fields." I especially enjoyed the 74 page long essay about British writer Thomas Carlyle entitled "A Sunday in Cheyne Row."  If you ever want to know my "inner workings" then I suggest reading it because clearly to me Carlyle and I truly match values and temperament.  Quite remarkable reading about myself!  In my various stacks waiting to be read is Carlyle's history of the French Revolution. I will have to check the guy out.

Saturday morning I encountered two true characters from earliest taxi days.  M____ used to sleep in the tiniest of camper trailers at the corner of 11th and Madison of all places and S_____ who at that moment was pushing a walker while demanding every detail concerning my taxi morning.  They both once drove for the Panos brothers during the era when many, many Greeks plied the local taxi streets.  More upon my old comrades and the early days  when I have more descriptive energy.  Time to hit the taxi hay!

And a late, day after post script:  If anyone is wondering why there is so much conflict in the passenger pick-up market place between your standard cabbies vs for-hire and limo drivers it all comes down to extremely simple mathematics: too many for-hire driver licensees vs the actual number of available taxis.  Latest statistics dating from the year 2011 states that there are 3, 225 individuals holding for-hires.  Go back to the year 2000 the figure was 2095 meaning there were in 2011 (and I sure the figure now is higher) over 1100 new drivers seeking cars.  The current number of Seattle & King County taxis available is 929, which makes it clear that there are far more people seeking cars than there are shifts available.  Out of that number there are 241 solely King County licensed cabs translating into an inferior ability to make money.  This leaves a remainder of 688 prime taxis that are either city-plated or dual (city & KC) plated.  These figures display the current conflict.  As I have suggested more than once to Seattle & KC officials, there needs to be a limit on the number of new for-hire driver licenses issued annually or even a temporary moratorium.  Something has to be done other than issuing licenses for non-existent positions.  It makes little sense but this is when I say welcome to taxi as we all know and love it.


Monday, August 6, 2012

"We All Do This!" Quoth the "CNG For Hire" Driver 2_ _ _

Now I am peeved.  I have had enough of government first creating the problem and now not doing enough to close the box that they alone opened.  An incident early Saturday evening sealed the deal upon my irritation.  En route southbound with passengers down second avenue a gentleman was flagging at the SW corner of 2nd & Pike. Simutaneously I noticed that the "for hire" vehicle just to my left was attempting to move over and pick him up.  I tapped my brakes blocking him from entering my lane. Remaining persistent, I again tapped my brakes, keeping him parallel to my car until we were both well past the intersection.  My passengers were interested in the performance and I briefly explained that he was attempting to pick-up illegally.  For whatever reason I got a nine dollar tip.  Perhaps they enjoy high-performance driving better suited for fictional film scripts, certainly not something proper or advised for Seattle's mundane streets.

A few minutes later I witnessed the same driver talking to the doorman at the hotel located at 3rd and Cherry.  As I drove past he too pulled off and we both turned onto Fourth Avenue.  Stopped at the light I briefly told him that I would be calling Abdul (owner of CNG For Hire) and telling him about the incident.  This is when the perfectly nice guy exclaimed "We all do this!" meaning that all of his "for hire" comrades are illegally picking up off of the street.  It was quite the spontaneous admission.  At tomorrow's taxi commission meeting I will be bringing this situation up. Seattle and King County created this monster.  Now they have to dismantle it.  I have been asked to create a petition which I will be doing on Wednesday.  If local government does not react quickly I will be attempting to organize some "wildcat" actions that will be designed to garner much local media attention.  The time for being nice is over.  I follow the rules and I expect everyone else to do the same.  That will be the only acceptable storyline.  And now I will go to sleep.  Two consecutive 90 plus degree days and nearly 78 fares has taken its toll. Pillow here I come.

Friday, August 3, 2012

No WiFi on the Coast Starlight

Of all the Oregon trains I could have chosen I got the only one without Web/Internet capacity, the Coast Starlight originating out of Los Angeles. Bad luck so this entry is more than brief especially since the damn train was over two hours late arriving in Tacoma.  At least I got to add to the local taxi economy by taking a quick ride home from the station. Great guy with eight years of combined experience between LA and Tacoma.  He asked if there was a lot of money to be made in Seattle as opposed to Tacoma.   Yes, I replied, the professional Seattle cabbie makes a bit.

Next week then I will have much to catch up on including my lazing around near an Oregon river. But I must relate the best kind of ride one can get from last weekend, the speedy and profitable variety.

I picked up the nice young man on northern Beacon Hill going to Massachusetts for a favorite uncle's funeral when pulling up to Sea-Tac he said oh no! as I said I think we can do it flying back to pick up his suit in a mere 27 minutes round trip.  Leaving the airport at 7:48 AM I got him back again at 8:15 AM and just enough time to catch his 9:00 AM flight.  It was a rare opportunity to show my stuff, and $110.00 to crow about, all in about a grand total of sixty minutes more or less.  I do what I can when it is necessary.  Always the taxi credo!