Sunday, July 26, 2020

Greetings From Cle Elum: What Will Occur When All The Cabbies Return? & 73 Taxi Days In A Row

Hello from Eastern Washington.  I'm sitting in Pioneer Coffee in Cle Elum specifically to write this post you are reading.  Yesterday I took the day off and camped in my longtime favorite desert country, the blandly named "Quincy Game Range," an amazing desert oasis of lakes, ponds, streams, sloughs and birds, birds, birds flying everywhere.  Last night, camped on Lake Quincy, I watched swifts and swallows dart and dash above the lake surface in an acrobatic insect feeding frenzy.  Dusk was incredibly beautiful, the orange sunset reflected off the lake, the background soundtrack provided by local coyotes.  I dipped multiple times in Lake Quincy's cooling water, and this morning took my customary stroll over to Burke lake for a morning swim.  Today was hot, in the mid-90s F.   My goal, besides leaving taxi behind for a day, was to finish my "To Age 13" chapter synopsis/outlines for my publisher submission package.  I accomplished that, and in about two weeks, I'll be ready to begin the process.  I hope it'll be faster than what happened to Robert Pirsig's 1970s bestseller, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," 213 attempts later before a publisher picked up the book.  Am I ready to get out of the cab permanently?  What do you think?

When All the Cabbies Return

Business appears to be slowing down, and that could be due to more drivers returning after their unemployment holiday.  I think it's inevitable that all of us will be screaming soon because our usual summer customers, all those tourists, cruise shippers and baseball fans are simply not here this year.  So far, our sustaining lifeblood has been our great account business but add more drivers and we will experience a huge dilution---business watered down to a weakened brew.  I hope I'm wrong but I don't think I will be.  What happened to the New York City cabbies and their profound loss of business is soon to visit us. If I'm wrong, I'll be the first to praise the taxi Gods, and even go to taxi church if one existed, religion suddenly my new hobby and occupation!

Seventy-three days in a row is insane!

I got back from New Mexico on May 13th and immediately got into the cab.  Yesterday, July 25th, was the first day I didn't work since coming back. Today, Sunday, I'm going to pick up the cab, enabling an early start tomorrow.  Did you know taxi is an insane business, and last week there went another $400.00 into two separate repairs.

Who is having fun?  Not me, not me, and it may be sunny but it isn't funny giving away all my blood and sweat hard earned money!  Enough said, Fred!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

My First COVID-19 Passenger Refusal: She Didn't Have A Mask So She Couldn't Get In & New Dennis Roberts Information

No Mask, No Ride

Yesterday I had forgotten my box of masks, and finally it happened, a customer minus a mask, meaning I had every legal right to refuse her service.  Where she was going I never asked and I didn't care, safety beyond anything else my first priority.  After that dismissal, I eventually made it back to my personal car and retrieved the forgotten masks.  Everyone, except for four previous passengers, have entered the cab wearing a mask.  Yesterday, a gentleman in Tumwater, Washington at a Fred Meyers store displayed a pistol upon being requested to wear a mask.  He is now in jail facing assault and resisting arrest charges, held under a $50,000 bail.  Has he not been paying attention, reading or listening to the news?

Yesterday, here in the USA, there was a new record set for confirmed novel coronavirus cases, 77,000.  Fairly dramatic when comparing those figures to the 11 cases President Trump mentioned way back when, saying that was it, the virus was going away.  He was just quoted as saying that the virus would once again, disappear, like magic, never to trouble us again.  How that can happen is confounding to the rational mind.  Magical thinking indeed!

Confirmed USA COVID-19 cases have reached 3.6 million, Through Friday July 17th, there was a five day running average of 65,790 confirmed cases.  In addition to the USA record set yesterday,  a worldwide single day record of 249,800 of confirmed cases was also set.  Globally the current death toll is almost 600,000.

Two COVID-19 doubters, the Governor of the State of Oklahoma and the President of Brazil have both contracted the virus.  The virus has no brain.  It will infect anyone.

Dennis Roberts Update

Tuesday I picked up Dennis Roberts ashes.  I was also given items left in his room.  His parents names were Roscoe Dolliver Roberts and Ruth (Gordore) Roberts.  They were married in Kodiak, Alaska.  His father was born in North Dakota.  Both the parents appear to be buried in the Woodlawn Public Cemetery, Flathead County, Montana.  They once owned a house in Columbia Falls, Montana.  They also had property in Gold Bar. Washington.  His father died in 1975.  In 1977, his mother was then residing in Kila, Montana.  I also have photos of his parent's gravestones.

This new information has altered my plans.  I will be contacting the cemetery and see if its possible to bury his ashes next to his parents.  Expect the Seattle Times obituary in a few months. I also have another photograph of Dennis as a younger man.  I will be using that for his obituary.

Friday, July 10, 2020

50 Plus NYC Cabbies Dead From COVID-19 & July 4th Air Quality & Escaping Back to the Island of Saint Paul & Dennis Roberts Cremation

Tragedy in New York 

As of May 6th, these being the most current figures available, over fifty New York City cab drivers have succumbed to the new coronavirus.  I learned this by watching a Ted Koppel ABC News interview my sister Mary had saved from early May.  Later, I read all the articles I could find online concerning this and other pandemic news affecting NYC cabbies. Their business in March and April had mostly disappeared, the cabbies despairing, no way to pay their bills while working too many hours for nothing whatsoever.  Koppel also talked about how the City of New York tricked many cabbies, mostly immigrants, into buying taxi medallions at artificially inflated prices.  There are many reasons it would have been a bad idea to have nominated Michael Bloomberg to run for the American presidency, this being only one of them.  I have asked the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission for updated death figure but first I have to go through a formal request before receiving the information.  I will be doing that and sharing when I have what I am guessing will be further bad news.  That we only have one death so far in Seattle is a blessing.  Upon first hearing the NYC toll, I was shocked, and also surprised how little media coverage it has gotten.  Poor cabbies!  Kicked up, kicked down, having their bodies kicked into the ground!  Awful. And Koppel's report ended with photographs of the deceased cabbies.  Too sad, my friends and comrades, too sad.

July 4th Explosions

Isn't it grand, watching all that gun power blow up, coloring, lighting up the night sky?  Turns out it also poisons the air, local celebrants setting off personal fireworks causing more pollution that the usual civic displays.  Who knew but people must have their fun even if it ultimately ends up killing them. Yahoo! Hurray! Saluting the Red, White & Blue, cough! cough, boo hoo hoo!

Fleeing back to the Bering Sea

Picking up Becky this morning and taking her to the Indian Health Clinic, I fund out she was from the largest of the Pribilof Islands, Saint Paul, located directly 300 miles west of the Alaska mainland.  Here to assist her sister for three months while undergoing a liver transplant, I was surprised to get a call from her requesting I take her to Sea-Tac, Seattle too much for this tiny-island girl.  On the way, I pointed out Mount Rainer.  "Oh, they named Rainer beer after that mountain?" And yes, Becky, they, who ever they are, did.  Makes me miss San Lorenzo.

Expensive Cremation

This weekend Dennis Roberts' body will be cremated.  The cost was more than I expected, $1,038.00 dollars.  A last flurry of donations helped over the costs, with Puget Sound Dispatch's $200.00 assisting immensely.  Unfortunately, I will be short of having enough for the kind of obituary I feel Dennis deserved but sometime in the next few months, I will make up the difference and provide Mister Roberts with a good obituary.  I will keep everyone posted.

No Clipper

For all those looking forward to sitting at P-69 and waiting for the Victoria Clipper ferry, you will cry to know that service will not be resumed until April 2121. 

Friday, July 3, 2020

Referring to Donald Trump, She Said, "He Wants All Of Us To Die." & Last Weekend Push For Dennis Roberts

A Memorable Remark

Usually I am not surprised by what my passengers say, but when the woman from upper-state Michigan in her late 70s said she thought all President Trump wanted was for everyone to die, I couldn't believe it but it is true, it's exactly what she said, and why I repeat it here.  Yes, I have conversations, all kinds of conversations----politics, the weather, the coronavirus, taxi----you name it and its covered.  Sometimes it's truly remarkable what is said, and sometimes I remember, this time Sharon from the Midwest saying something I won't forget, speaking with an anger nearly knocking with off the road by its raw vehemence piercing the early morning air.

This is it folks, my last plea for Dennis Roberts

Okay, right now I have raised about $800.00, thank you, which will allow for a cremation but little else.  After Dennis is cremated, I will be taking his ashes up to Roslyn in the Cascades to locate an appropriate burial site.  I'm picking Roslyn because Dennis appeared as an extra in the television series, "Northern Exposure," and wasn't it filmed in part in Roslyn? 

And if Dennis is going to receive a proper Seattle times obituary, I need more or less $300.00 more. Please help.

His body will be taken to the Peoples Memorial on Capital Hill mid-week.