Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Psychological Profile Of Those Making Decisions For The American Taxi Industry

If it couldn't have gotten worse for Seattle and area cabbies, it has, with the Port of Seattle considering a Port Staff proposal to open up Sea-Tac Airport to TNC (Uber and Lyft) operators as soon as next Thursday, March 31st, 2016; and this even before any decision is made regarding the new Sea-Tac passenger service contract.  It is very bad news if true, as it appears to be, saying much about the prevailing attitude of Port of Seattle administrators and commissioners.   And as I will be outlining, the bias shown is not new but something shared amongst other regulators and governmental administrators located not only  in Seattle and King County but throughout the entire nation, a kind of privileged clan operating a invisible yet palpable cabal.  They know who to trust---people who look and act like them, the kind of person they see staring back in the mirror.  Of course the Uber founders are good and wise and kind.  How could they be otherwise?  Perish the thought!

If what I will be writing wasn't true, I know that the American taxi industry collectively would not be facing what is essentially unregulated, renegade competition given free reign at the total expense of what has been, and is, a century-old governmental regulated industry.  Who these people are and why they feel they have unbridled permission to damage the United States taxi industry is the nature of this examination.  It is important to know "who they are" and why they do what they do.  Demystification is important.  There is no point in walking (or driving) around puzzled.  There is an explanation however dispiriting it may be.  If you think someone is out to get you, you are not suddenly paranoid.  You are correct, Uber and friends doing everything they can to destroy you.  It is not your imagination.  It is undeniable reality.

I have in the past written about social classes in America, and here I am, mentioning it again, because classism is at the core of what we in the taxi industry are dealing with.  I understood it immediately in my first few months back in 1987 when police would stop me in my cab and issue me not one but two unjustified tickets. Ha Ha Ha they would literally laugh at me.  Yes, I got the message they were delivering as licensed agents of the ruling class:  we don't like you, we don't respect you, and if we could, we would immediately dispose of you. Anyone driving taxi over a month understands this.  To quote from Bob Dylan's song, "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues": "The cops don't need you and man they expect the same."  This is the song all cabbies hum beneath their breath whether they know the tune or not.

During my three years in "therapist school"---1974-77---I learned much about diagramming human personality, Transactional Analysis breaking down the human id into three predisposed ego states: adult, parent and child, a generalization proving more or less correct.  From my experience, most human behavior is usually a combination of two ego states, three simultaneous states much too much for the brain to handle.  If and when a single ego state is operational, it would not be very nuanced, either a whimper or a roar.  If you think Donald Trump looks silly making inane (and insane) pronouncements, then you see the potential of what I am talking about.

TA also liked to describe some kinds of human behavior as "games people play," as in psychological dialogue leading to tangible and describable behavior.  TA also finds, in a kind of mental geometry, triangles helpful when explaining behavior, as in the "rescue triangle," with people trading, exchanging positions, the rescuer being victimized, etc.

While at times helpful, I found TA better as a compass than indisputable fact, pointing one toward the potential exit while navigating through a confounding maze.  All therapeutic modalities, like the practitioners themselves, are flawed, part truth, part guesswork, propelling you down the road, a junker car backfiring but getting you to your destination, or at least close to it.  I was in that "world" for over 20 years.  I know it too well.

But coming back to my original thesis, and what kind of person is sitting upon individual thrones making multiple important decisions concerning subjects they know little about, I present my own hybrid version of just how people become upper-middle class elitists, even if they  view themselves as anointed (and self-appointed) messiahs. That of course is the problem, a life of prolonged special treatment creating both overestimation and unrealistic expectations, this sociological category knowing, like a Marvel Comics super-hero they can fly through the air, break through walls and conquer all ills and cultural maladies.  Again, someone like Mr. Trump fits this category well, coddled in comfort from his first breath. That I don't share his silk lining I guess goes without saying.  How can you be "rough and tumble" without a few knocks upon the head?  It isn't possible. Unfortunately I am still counting the many dents.

The " I am the best at everything" psychological formula exists something like this, an equation adding up sums resulting into the stratified "perfect"  human being.  You should also consider this as a kind of personality hard wiring that, in developmental psychology, roughly starts at birth and continues until about age five.  There is recent evidence that the child's mental formation actually begins in the womb, meaning your outside environment and mother's habits and nutrition hold profound implications.  I grew up in a  green 1952 Buick Roadmaster  roaring down the bumpy American roads, which is all the information I suppose you need to know about me and why I am who I am.

The "he/she is a gift" mathematical equation is as follows:

Healthy and safe birth plus

Good nutrition plus

Excellent heath maintenance & doctor care plus

24 a day parental devotion & support plus

Early educational opportunities plus

Complete comfort eliminating all hardships plus

Complete financial security plus

24 hour reinforcement that your social position is the correct one

adding up to the ready child put in the best schools K-12, daily receiving positive reinforcement through
music and language training, excelling in sports and education, Mr or Ms 4.0 prepared for the university launching pad where, supported financially, never having to work, they graduate and post-graduate to BAs & MAs and PHDs,  now fully equipped to do everything but nothing at all, having lived 22-26 years without ever leaving the nest.

They then embark upon management, government, law, medicine, fully confident they KNOW minus any evidence other than academic achievement that they, beyond all and everyone, as I said, can rule the world and all its various sectors, taxi being one.  It is not that they are bad.  Usually it is quite the opposite, life-long privilege creating a fairly benign human being, like the current Roman Catholic pontiff, Pope Francis, blessing the world and offering divine advice to the unwashed or even the partially bathed.

There you have it, the benevolent adult saying, "Uber, made in God's likeness, go forth and prosper!" and so they have, and so they will, overrunning Sea-Tac  and kicking all those cabbies' butts!  Good show, good show! Rudyard Kipling would say!  IF only, IF only, yes, IF only!

Fred, Rest in Peace

Fred Griffin, longtime Yellow Cab dispatcher, succumbed to a heart attack a few days ago.  All of us will miss the hardworking Fred, finding him ever supportive if always a bit stressed.  Blessings Fred, blessings!


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