Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Matching A Demographic & Taxi Serenade & Keeping Up With The News

Everyone takes offense when no insult is intended.  As I said in this instance, how friendly do I have to be while simultaneously remaining caring and empathic?  What every taxi driver knows is that youth and alcohol never mix resulting in a toxic cocktail.  My very first ride of the weekend from the 4800 hundred block of Airport Way South, four adults in the 25-30 year range was initially okay but one gentleman in particular showed little ability concealing demeaning, opprobrious attitudes.  First Hill, my friend is not Capital Hill but then, as the past election season displayed,  gibberish passed as the factual has become the accepted norm.  I joked and said I had to pull rank.  A few minutes later it appears I had offended the girlfriend.  All I had done was suggest that the Cherry Street ramp to Olive Way was the correct route. I remained cordial though I wouldn't back down, not acquiescing to simplistic arrogance. Always an unpopular stance when instead you are expected to remain prone and enjoy the footsteps, Nancy Sinatra and company breaking in those boots.  And how can anyone wonder why I want out of this business?   Why must the mundane become stupid and territorial?  When you don't know what you are doing, that's why.

It was painful listening to their discussion about relationships and "I know HE loves you." when suddenly one said, addressing me, "And you have to listen to our conversation!" This as I was pulling up to their home.  Then she said we will sing you a song.  They brought with them various instruments including a musical saw so this didn't surprise me as they broke into something I believe they called "Travelling Stranger," their harmonizing quite good, serenading me for a good 2-3 minutes.  I told them it could be a taxi driver's theme song which seemed to please them.  Ah yes, a pleasant end to a sour refrain.

My intended comprehensive news update will unfortunately be abridged as I am both tired in body and weary of the subject.  I promise more later but an important issue are the Labor & Industry state-wide audits and how they could affect and compromise industry functioning.  The reason a proper resolution is necessary comes down to money and pernicious (and ultimately) inflationary costs that will be passed down until it reaches the drivers who can ill-afford more out-of-pocket expenditures.  In all wars, despite the vocal denials, collateral damage occurs maiming the innocent.  HB 1718 was introduced into the Washington legislature in an attempt to cap the audits beginning with the year 2012.  That L&I is attempting to back-audit the industry to 2005 shows what happens when negotiating occurs under duress.  ESHB 1367 which created the current coverage gave L&I an opening the industry cannot at this point close.  Given an inch L&I has taken the proverbial mile.  In the middle of this confused dialogue are the Teamsters who inserted their considerable influence.  In trying to mitigate some of the more onerous elements of the 1367 compromise the Teamsters are "tossing the baby out with the bathwater."  Though appreciative of their motives I question their overall methods toward reducing the costs of single owners and lease drivers.  This is not the way to do it, bludgeoning your perceived opponents.  It doesn't seem productive.  Again, be wary of the confident ideological compass. Their intervention at the sub-committee level has at this point muddled the political landscape.  I am attempting to start a conversation not only with the union but with the real culprits in this situation, the good folks down in Olympia who are going to "love us to death."   Making a bad rhyme, the good mother knows when not to smother.  Pillows may be soft but are potentially deadly.  Breathing is far preferable to suffocation.  Shall we open the smoky inner corridors and let the fresh air in?  I dislike saying it again but why do so many well-meaning governmental parents have to "kill us with kindness."  Folks, that is blood seeping from our pores.  It is not water.  I repeat, it is not water flowing down the bureaucratic drains.  It is the industry suffering mortal wounds, bleeding upon the taxi ground.  Who I ask you, will be applying the necessary first-aid?  It is an important question.

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