Thursday, January 28, 2021

Greetings From Ocean Shores, Washington: Wishing Upon A Seattle Taxi Star & Dismal Business Report From Sea-Tac International Airport

Hello from Ocean Shores

I'm writing to you from a part of the state of Washington I've never been before, a small tourist town on the western coast, and I'm here because submitting my new book is all important, and remaining in Seattle means I am forever shallowed alive by taxi, doing little except eat, sleep and drive cab.  I chose Ocean Shores because the off-season lodging is cheap and I can walk the beach when taking much needed breaks.  Friday, I will be driving north to Kalaloch, and time permitting, hike in the local rain forests, taking me back to 1976 when I worked trail crew for the National Park system.  

This entire part of Washington is special, sometimes making me wonder why I traverse around our planet when, right here, some of the most amazing landscape exists free for view and enjoyment, and if I'm interested in eating smoked salmon, the Makah Indian Reservation up in the Northwest corner is the place to find it.  When talking to"she-who-can't-be-named" over the telephone, I told her that while these short breaks from taxi are helpful, it's only like refilling a slowly leaking tire that's bound to flatten entirely if not repaired.  

And the truth, this taxi tire needs a permanent repair, meaning getting the heck out of this business as soon as I can, which is again why I am here, doing what I need to do obtaining the correct publishing deal instead of repeating past errors, tossing my last book to the publishing wolves.  I won't do that again, in that case, no one caring about the book's fate one way or the other, prematurely burying the book alive.  Not funny.  No, not at all.  

Regardless of all that, Ocean Shores is worth the time to visit, particularly the southern section which encompasses the north side of Grays Harbor.  Even if that sounds confusing, check out the area called the North Jetty, clambering over the huge rocks and enjoy the giant, crashing waves from a safe distance.  And since this is the winter season, rooms are relatively inexpensive, certainly cheaper than Seattle where a crack-motel room will cost you over $70.00 including tax.  Check out the various hotel booking services like Priceline and enjoy some of Washington State's natural splendors.  Far more fun than sitting in that cab staring at the computer waiting for the next miracle fare.  They do sometimes happen but ultimately, who cares?

Dysfunction is the wrong Compunction 

Yes, wishing, wishing upon a distant guiding star, hoping beyond hope that relief and sanity will embrace Puget Sound Dispatch/Seattle Yellow Cab minus open communication and hard work will be only that, wishful thinking directed not toward the sky but the nearest drain pipe.  As said last week, I am requesting  we take our problems seriously because they will not diminish by themselves, negative and unproductive behaviors too entrenched to vanish quickly into the ether.  As I see it, we have two major issues.  

The first, involving the single owner operators, is the attitude that it's simply okay to do whatever comes to mind relating to customer service, however bad or good not mattering, one's own interpretation in that instantaneous moment your only directive regardless of whether it's sane, insane, kind, unkind, cruel etc.  That is what is happening, meaning anything can and will occur when the cabbie believes any and all whimsical response is okay, previous rules and limitations literally thrown out the taxi window.  Of course this isn't proper, of course it's totally nuts but that's the real and prevalent behavior we are witnessing. 

The second barrier to resolution is the unfortunate and longstanding taxi company/association tradition of poor and opaque communication with single owners and lease drivers.  To once again quote Mister Bob Dylan, "And there are no truths outside the Gates of Eden,"  PSD mandates somehow taking on the authority of the "spoken words of God," not to be questioned or even understood but must be forever  obeyed.  That this style of governance doesn't make for nuanced communication is obvious, only encouraging open rebellion amongst the riotous masses.   

And where does all this take us?   Recalcitrant drivers versus offended management in an endless circle going round and round to nowhere whatsoever.  What we require instead are plausible guidelines, open and frank discussion minus threats and the kind of intervention that will firmly instill sustainable values serving everyone in a just and equal way, finally restoring sanity to an insane situation.  If we all recognize that there are problems requiring good and fair solutions, we can and will be a much better company and association.  If respect is the first word, all the other necessary words will follow, binding sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into whole pages, the pages becoming our completed story.   

And all will be happy and content, if they decide to be. 

A Sea-Tac Airport Cabbie called me

He called me to ask some questions about the late Dennis Roberts, not having the full story surrounding his death.  After answering his queries, I asked about how business was at the airport, with his response not reassuring, saying his routine is 48 hours on, with 24 hours off, this due to Sea-Tac scheduling of cabs.  He said it usually takes four hours to go through the cab line to get a fare.  Is he making any money?  No, not really, only barely surviving.  A dismal description indeed, taking the Sea-Tac cabbies nowhere but to an early taxi grave. Not good.


Poetry, or at least something pretending to be, as been in the national news.  Also, in last Sunday's Seattle Times Pacific NW magazine, there was a cover feature concerning the writer/poet Theodore Roethke, someone long associated with the University of Washington, dying in 1963.  He is worth reading.  

                                                               When Writing

                          When writing poetry you must have something to write about, 

                          something already there not placed nor decided by you, life's

                          circumstances good and bad involuntarily imprinting your 

                         subjects, you the inmate sentenced to write whatever they might be, 

                          choice having nothing to do with this predetermination you find  

                          yourself reciting, memory your ghostwriter and not always friendly 



Other than when it's intentional, like Ogden Nash or Lewis Carroll, writing poetry is a serious business that shouldn't be trivialized.   And of course Nash and Carroll, even when silly, were totally serious.

I'll leave you with a haiku composed after walking to and from the beach in a raging gale.  

5      Wind, rain, snow beating

7      my back, blowing me to the

5      spumy, angry sea. 


1 comment:

  1. Roethke Mews is the name of the alleyway next to the Blue Moon.