Friday, September 25, 2020

Greetings From Arcata, California: Heavy Smoke In Cave Junction, Oregon & Two Former Colleagues Away, Away From Taxi & Exhaustion Poem

 Fire in Southern Oregon

Hello from "hippie town" Arcata, nestled between towering redwoods to the north and south, Highway 101 being the "Redwoods Highway," more or less starting upon leaving Oregon on Route 199, the I-5 to 101 connector originating in Grants Pass.  The further southwest I drove, the heavier the smoke, telling me parts of Oregon were still burning.  I found one stretch of forest and roadway south of Cave Junction blackened by recent burns, scorched trees the leftover signature of a raging blaze.  Thankfully, rain is returning to parts of the Pacific Northwest, hopefully meaning an end to this year's fire season. Today the sun is shining in Arcata but Seattle and the entire state of Washington today is awash in what is described as an "atmospheric river" coming in from the Pacific. Maybe some of that moisture will propel more passengers into waiting cabs, us cabbies appreciating inclement weather's pushy assistance, the sheltered warmth of a dry interior.

No More Taxi for These Two

I recently contacted 2 fellows I know from the taxi roads, JS and KS, two cabbies, after tiring of sitting around not making during the initial Lyft/Uber aftermath, fleeingYellow Cab to our respective rivals, JS to Lyft and KS to Uber.   Both fellows are good drivers, road seasoned past reason and commonsense, and flourished in their new automotive homes, making a better living than during recent cabbie forays.  If anyone questions their decisions, understand, as I have ceaselessly pointed out over the years, the national and local taxi industries have viewed the working cabbies as little more than cannon fodder for the taxi wars, casualties in the mobile battlefield---the wounded and dead not their concern.  And living in Seattle requires real not theoretical money, Uber and Lyft initially a very good money maker but 28,000 drivers and one dire pandemic later, the situation is different for them, with many questions remaining. 

JS & Lyft

What I find amazing is how he has kept track of all of his rides, both Yellow and Lyft.  While currently sitting out since March 15th, from January 2017 to March, JS provided 17,452 Lyft rides, averaging 3 per hour.  When taxi business was good, I too averaged 3-4 fares an hour, about most you can physically do. 

In 20 years of driving Yellow Cab, JS complied 89,001 rides to a total of 143,999 passengers.  Those numbers are indicative of why I say the average cabbie meets everyone, a broad section of the world entering your cab. JS says he spent a total of 34,824 hours in a Yellow Cab; and driving 499,997 miles, or more or less to the moon or back, giving a new meaning to the term "moon struck."  Yes, driving taxi is sheer madness, and his astounding statistics proving that out.  Ya gotta be crazed to drive a cab, or once again referencing the moon, a lunatic.

KS & Uber

KS, a former "private detective" from Florida, and a Seattle cabbie from 1997 until his Uber defection, knows all too well life's underbelly, be it trailing cheating spouses to cab "drug runs" to snotty Uber techies taking a five block long ride, KS, an original iconoclast, finally leaving the "passenger carting around" business last November, returning to hometown Tampa to deal with his late parent's estate, glad to be out of his $2,300 a month Seattle apartment.  KS liked cab when it was good and left when it wasn't.  That he was able to survive working Seattle Yellow Cab Zones like the mostly residential 185 (the Eastlake) says how viable the industry once was and how it no longer is.  But KS is glad to out of it entirely, hating Uber, knowing what they are, and similar to taxi, not truly caring a "rat's ass" about its drivers.  The best anything KS got out of Uber was his Prius, before Uber, KS going carless unless in the cab.  Occasionally, I would give him a lift home. When I ever get to Tampa I'll say hello, knowing he'll put a "tail" on me as I leave town, never knowing what kind of trouble a cabbie can stir up, all of us talented that way, a God-given gift from the Devil himself, of course on Halloween at midnight in the scary gloom. 

Beat up by too much taxi poem

As any longtime reader have noticed, I make real attempts to keep all subject matter taxi related, this poem meeting that criteria because taxi is exhausting.  Try driving to the moon or circumnavigating the earth and you too will be ready for a long nap.

                                                       Yes, Too Much for Nothing at all


                                Stopping, I cannot move, exhaustion saying that's what I am,

                                but continuing on minus delay, a new energy prodding me to

                                nothing sustainable, I cannot keep going---broken health and death

                                my near horizon,  the sun 

                                                                          setting upon my poor head 

                                 and grievous brow, now gravestone grey coloring

                                                                                                      lips and eyes

                                speaking and seeing days tossed to the nettled roadside---weeds 

                                and thistle congregating in brownish and yellow yet green




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