Friday, January 15, 2016

14 White Shirts

Doing the laundry this week I counted 14 white shirts, all of them a legacy from when Seattle/King County required all taxi drivers to emulate your favorite waiter by wearing black pants and white button down shirts. In fact my white shirt inventory probably numbers over 25 shirts, including many short sleeved shirts for Seattle's sunnier days.  But since the big compromise local industry made with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, we can now wear any shirt type or color we might desire, along with the slacks of your choice.  And what did Murray receive in trade for this stylistic compromise?

Why 14,000 Uber operators translating into a potential permanent crippling of the local taxi industry.  If it sounds like a pretty stupid trade-off, you are correct.  How dumb are all of us Seattle cabbies?  Look at that dog pacing down the street or the cat lounging on a porch---all much smarter than the average local cabbie.  The only thing we have common with these superior creatures is that they too don't need uniforms conducting their usual business.  So if you think not wearing a white shirt is a grand achievement, think again.  You are wrong!

White shirts, no shirts, it is all pathetic, our local industry caught with its black pants down!  If you don't believe it, you should have attended Tuesday's Port of Seattle Commission meeting where speaker after humbled speaker begged for forgiveness, seeking official clemency and relief.  Yes, yes they said, we know we have been bad, and are bad, but please, let us continue our airport tasks, we all promise to do better, so much better.

Mixed in with that was bleating from the opposition, "We are better than they are. Let us prove it, sharing in the riches! Please, please!"  Yes, it was quite a performance from the majority of participants.  If I had been sitting on the commissioner's side of the room, what would have been my honest assessment?  Heaven help us!  My God!  Heaven help us! Or something like that.

The history here is year after year I heard complaints concerning white shirts, resentful for being unfairly forced to wear obviously clean shirts; that it just wasn't reasonable or respectful the way we are treated by Seattle's regulators.  What this lament always communicated to me was the taxi industry's congenital inability to either focus upon or comprehend our real issues.  And look where that attitude has taken us.  Disaster!   Taking us to are own death and destruction and numbing paralysis.  Think this is hyperbole?  It isn't.

This morning I was greeted by a text stating that the deposed dispatch manager, the same individual rumored to have given his wife our package fares, is also responsible for the previous manager's death from a heroin overdose.  And that one of BYG's (Yellow Co-op) senior managers is in part responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide.  I must point out that the person in question is from Ethiopia. Another question about this is simple geography.  To get to Rwanda, depending on routes taken, you have  to cross over countries as various as South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. I remember Bill Clinton once taking responsibility for the Rwanda mass murder but he is not a taxi driver though he has certainly at times acted like one.  Hey brother Bill, ready to jump in the back seat?

In short I have had enough of the kind of nonsense passing as "business-as-usual" in the taxi industry.  This upcoming weekend I will again witness too many driver's simple inability to move cars forward at the train or boat.  It never ends but look at the bright side, everyone!  This weekend you can wear your replica Seahawk jersey and cheer on your football heroes.  Rah Rah! Go team Go! Watch all those cabbies fumble the taxi ball!  Hurrah! Hurrah!  Oh hell! we just scored a touchdown for the other team!  How in the world did we manage that!?  Yes that's right, just how did we do it?  Utter madness, my taxi friends, utter madness!  That is the explanation.  

Two haiku regarding "white."

The winter leeks
have been washed white---
how cold it is!

Basho (1644-1694)

Before the white chrysanthemum
the scissors hesitate
a moment.

Buson  (1716-1783)

I love the inherent silence contained in these poems.  No noise.  Only beauty in the stilled moment.

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