Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Arriving In "Strangeville"----No Place I Want To Be

I always hate ending up in Strangeville" even though all the signs say I am actually somewhere in Seattle but I know that can't be true.  You won't find Strangeville on any map because its boundaries are mobile, ever moving yet omnipresent.  And what is frustrating is the complete lack of warning that you somehow made that fatal turn into unfriendly environs, instantaneously  finding myself in my own private and personal "Twilight Zone".  What isn't a mystery is not knowing that I am there, always too aware---the jangling keys to this invisible city rattling in my head, my cab having entered a web entangling body and mind.  "I am trapped, I am trapped," and do what I will, I can't get out.  Stepping on the accelerator and flying down Aurora not doing any good, the entire city transformed into a greater metropolitan Strangeville.  It is a helpless feeling.

It was Saturday afternoon, about 3:10 PM, and I was elated, coming back downtown after a fourth airport run of the day.  Knowing the Portland train was scheduled for sometime between 3:30-4:00 PM I was focused upon King Street Station when I was offered a Beacon Hill bell.  Accepting it, the 4100 block of 15th Avenue South, I noted the commentary that "their cellphone was dying and they would meet me in front."   This somewhat cryptic message alerted me to the possibility that this fare might turn out bad and it did, never finding anyone despite searching both the front and alley. And of course no one answered my telephone calls.  What bothered me was wasting time better used getting to the train.

After throwing away ten minutes I resolved to head for the train only to get another call, close by but  on a "confusing" part of 25th South that was just off Cheasty Blvd South, a lovely wood-lined street running behind the Jefferson Golf Course.  Upon my arrival  I found my passenger waiting, an older gentleman holding a walker on his way back home to the Center Park housing complex.. Heading south down S. Andover I ran directly into the street I needed but requiring an odd maneuver which, alerted to oncoming traffic, I quickly turned north, avoided all the raging cars but nearly damaging one of my new tires. This is when I knew beyond any doubt I was in Strangeville. And once getting him to his building it was confirmed because he had only $3.00 for a seven dollar fare.  "I had to give my doctor $200.00 today," he said in explanation.  His debit card declined.  Yes, yes, not-so-lovely Strangeville, blowing my entire hour for three bucks!

If needing further confirmation, I got it when the next call, a $57.00 HopeLink run, was a no-show.  Like too many of these, the client never showed up for their appointment , and of course the company (Yellow, etc.) are never told.

After that disappointment I decided to head up north and fill up 478 at the Arco AM-PM featuring $1.75.09 per gallon gasoline.  After that I languished for another hour, getting a nine dollar fare, all adding up to 12 dollars for three anguished hours.  What I have found is, is that no fun is allowed in Strangeville, a very Calvinist community, your head in some kind of mobile stockade.

And how did I finally escape?  Not sure other than I grimly proceeded forward, pushing against the invisible envelope until finally breaking free.  I knew I was back in Seattle after this happened while sitting second up on the Pier 69/Victoria Clipper stand.

A young woman comes out the door but instead of getting into the first taxi, she steps aside. Then an older woman comes out and asks the driver,"Can you take a card?" and jumps in his cab. Then the other passenger, someone I thought wasn't taking a cab that night, walks ups to me and asks me if I know where the Sea-Tac La Quinta is?  Answering in the affirmative, off we go, a pleasant conversation ensues, becoming one of those fares where, if wanting to take it further, the possibility appeared to be there.  Anyway, it was a good fare and a nice interaction, Strangeville now far behind in the rear view mirror.  But why did she not get into the first cab?  I think I know the answer.  Wherever that cabbie was heading, it was to Strangeville and no place else. God help him!

And that, my friends, is a destination I wouldn't wish upon anyone, even an Uber driver!   Who need the heartbreak and anguish?  Not anyone I know, that 's for sure!

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