Friday, April 30, 2021

Back In The Seattle Saddle: Four-Day Old Brady's First Taxicab Ride & Questioning MV (First Transit) Dispatching & Labor Secretary Marty Walsh Says Gig Workers Are Misclassified

Back in the taxi stream, a cabbie fish I don't want to be.  The money is good but I am beginning not to care, it may not seem like it but I am pulling out my hair. 

Baby Brady's First Cab Ride

Dispatch lost track of the family waiting at Children's Hospital for a cab to the airport but no matter, luck had it that it was me answering the call, meaning they were going to make their flight despite damn heavy traffic and a quick stopover picking up packages at the Southcenter Target store. The wife had given birth to Brady four days pervious and they were now returning back home to Alaska. Brady was content, never a peep from the child.  That's what I like, a satisfied customer, along with $86.00!

MV or is it just Me?

MV is one of our (Yellow's) major accounts but I dread dealing with them when I have a no-show with one of their fares.  Why?  Because our normal process is short-circuited by us agreeing MV must confirm the no-show and not our ordinary dispatch call-takers.  I could detail blow-by-blow my interaction yesterday with a MV operator but I'd rather not, and I'd rather not be subjected to their mistakes because it was MV mis-scheduling the time-call, making me the one paying the cost for their error.   Better training would be helpful.  Or even better, more competent employees.  Wow, what a novel concept.

Another something that is happening is that MV/PSD have joined forces in a plan providing selected MV account qualified drivers with good MV fares during the night shift.  While understanding PSD is having problems covering the account fares at night, it still could be construed as good, old-fashioned "feeding," the term or lexicon we cabbie's use to describe preferential treatment.  That this isn't exactly that doesn't mean that this current practice shouldn't be examined because it should be, all our procedures hopefully following the "letter of taxi law."  At least I think they should as much as possible.  And yes, this wouldn't be happening if there were enough cabbies to cover the nighttime bells.  That I know is entirely true, not enough night-shift cabbies boo-hoo-hoo, what are we gonna do?  

The Feds are Eyeing Uber

The new Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh, stated this week that gig workers have been misclassified, and instead of being called independent operators, they should be treated and known as company employees.  This bit of news sent Uber and Lyft stocks down, down, and down, providing notice that Biden and Company will not be patting Uber upon the head, instead warning that a knock is more likely. 

Where is the cheapest gasoline?

The least expensive unleaded regular in Seattle and area is at the Shell Gas Station located at 7801 1st Ave. South at $2.89.9 per gallon.  Don't know where that is?  Drive southbound on West Marginal Way South and it will merge into that fractured section of 1st Ave. S.  In other words, the eastern boundary of West Seattle.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Adios San Lorenzo: 1938 TaxiCab & Trouble Brewing For Uber In Africa And Las Vegas, Nevada & Two Poems

Sorry to say I am leaving sunny New Mexico for the grind that is taxi.  Sleeping in has been great, along with my daily walks in the desert.  On Tuesday I headed to the Gila River and the Gila Wilderness to enjoy a little quiet and the vast open night sky.  I was lucky to find a free campsite located next to the flowing Gila, making my journey just that much better.  Wednesday I visited the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, established 1908, and later walked to the Lightfeather Hot Springs located on the middle-fork of the Gila.  While the pools were small, the water was great, a temperature at about 103-104 degrees F.  If there was a drawback, it was having to ford the river two times two, meaning Mister Lazy Me had to take off my shoes four times coming and going.  Since the water was fairly shallow, all I had to really contend with were the tenderfeet of a tenderfoot, stones and rocks reminding me that despite thinking I am "pure spirit' I indeed have a fragile body requiring care and consideration.  Tomorrow, Saturday, I fly out in the early evening. 

1938 Taxi; "Story Pictures of Our Neighbors" By John Y. Beaty

As much as possible I like to present original content, and I am guessing that this little book I found in my San Lorenzo house, book owned by my friend Marty, is something new to everyone reading this post.  The author and his wife were close family friends to Marty's great grandparents. The book is part of the "Primary Social Studies Series" published in 1938 by Beckley-Cardy out of Chicago.  The color plates are wonderful, and the photograph and text on page 99 immediately captured my attention.   The photo shows an uniformed cabbie opening the door of what I think is a new Yellow Checker Cab, for his customer.  The cab door swings opens from left to right as opposed to the now usual right to left.  

The page is entitled "Taxicabs"

"Taxicabs go very fast, too," said Jean.

"Yes," said Father.  They are for people who want to reach places quickly.  Taxis will take you wherever you want to go."

Lloyd asked, "Would you give the driver ten cents for each of us?"

Father laughed.  "More than that.  The longer the ride, the more you pay.  A taxi ride may cost a dollar or more."


Yes, "Dick and Jane and Spot" kind of language but hey! it is a rare children's book that addresses taxi driving.  I looked up the car and if it isn't a 1938 model, it is certainly of that 1930s era.  Taxi ride for a dollar?  Not in Seattle.

Uber in Ghana, South Africa and Nevada

Uber drivers in Africa are expressing discontent since the British Supreme Court ruled that ride-share drivers in the UK are eligible for some basic benefits. Now many of Africa's over 150,000 Uber drivers want the same treatment as their UK colleagues.  Cases are heading to the courts.

In Las Vegas, Uber is only able to serve 50% of current ride requests. Why?  Even though many tourist are returning to Sin City, former Uber drivers are not.  One major reason is that the current governor of Nevada has put an order in place forbidding Uber's infamous "fare surging" from occurring, the good governor stopping Uber's thieving ways.  Uber is now telling all its drivers it has a bonus pool of 250 million from which it is willing to pay returning drivers.   Ain't that generous, Uber continuing to spend investor money!?  When will it end?

Two Poems

All I Hear

All I hear is the Gila River and nothing else.

Even the crows making roost are silent, only the Gila's voice talking 

to me and the trees and the surrounding hills,

a conversation soothing, embracing. 


Involved in a Silly Book, Reading John Buchan's "Mr Standfast"

WWI wasn't silly but Buchan's war spy romp through Scotland

and the Continent is---too much highly unlikely coincidence--- 

Buchan's characters suddenly reappearing from the ether marring 

a plot first published 1919 the year of my mother's birth,

and this edition reprinted 1953, the year I appeared wailing

"I want to read a book!"

and here I sit,  sixty-seven years later, 



Giving the author Buchan his due, after all the spy stuff concluded, I found I was reading a very accurate portrayal of WWI fighting in the trenches.  That alone is worth the book.  While the spy drama is fast moving, the last 30 or so pages take a life of their own.  Wilfred Owen would approve I am sure, Owen the great poet of WWI who died during the last month of the conflict, November 1918.  Check out his poetry.  It is very good!  Also, Robert Graves autobiography of his times in that war, "Goodbye to All That."

A Seattle/King County Taxi Question Answered

A reader asked if this is the last year for the Ford Crown Victorias to be used as taxis?  and I am glad to say no, they have been given one more year of life until June 2022 by the City of Seattle and King County. Of course that makes me happy because trusty YC 1092 is an afore  mentioned Crown Vic.  Keep on rollin', rolling', taxi rawhide.



Saturday, April 17, 2021

Greetings From San Lorenzo/Silver City: What Not Driving Cab Does For Me & Three Poems

I am writing to you while sitting in a Silver City bookstore, the "Silver City Bookshop" to be exact, the nice proprietor allowing me to use his wifi instead of sitting in a coffee shop listening to the annoying chitter-chatter of the generic masses.  As much as possible I am avoiding thinking about cab driving but taxi buddy Rick texted me Wednesday night to tell me 15 fares were waiting.  Us taxi veterans know exactly what that means, nothing good for those wanting a quick cab.  Oh well!

What being away from the toplight means I can leisurely think minus constraint and schedule, allowing  my mind to freely work at its own pace.  The past two days I have been wandering around the east side of the Rio Mimbres (River), crossing over to welcoming fields and hills.  The highlight was a black and white woodpecker searching for a late afternoon snack.  And I was pleased indeed to meet the creature, only a little bit sorry disturbing your mealtime pleasure.

Three Poems

What you have before you are the results of what I was just telling you, the time to mull over anything and everything roving in my brain.

                                                                Returning to Jane, page 261

                         Returning to Jane nearly five months later---have I missed you Jane?

                         missing your schoolgirl manner, your naive charm?

                         Remembering now from 1965 reading a comic book version---

                         your patience with Mister Rochester about to be disappointed,

                         his ghost from an unpleasant past about to make your acquaintance.


     Formation of language begins with the opening of a door, my door today leading to my desert                     yard, the large anthill to my left telling me words are working hard today, small mouths                               configuring consonants and vowels down, down to their linguistic factory propagating what we                   will be saying this summer before our tongues pronounce the results.


A neighbor's warning foretold what I found---

                 memories of a hasty last dinner now a month old gracing our table---encrusted plates, bowls, cups and silverware left for me,

                                                   (he knew I was coming)

and everywhere glass and plastic bottles and stacks of shoes, clothing and various important papers littering the couch and floor, 

                                       everywhere his distress clearly written: 

                                                         "I was waiting for you!"

                                                   "Don't you, don't you see me!?"



Note:  The spacing in "Ants" is not intentional but due to software.  My attempt at remedy failed but the gaps remind me of tunnels in the anthill, so it seems the ants are in control and not me.  Anyone dealing with ants in your kitchen know how true that is, ants my favorite "robotic" insect, never stopping, always moving, and in the poem, always writing.   

And of course the Jane I am referring to is Jane of the novel "Jane Eyre," something I will always have a connection to due to Carol Anne walking with me in Haworth, England, Summer 2001, with her telling me she was one of the Bronte sisters.  If I hadn't known already, her pronouncement explained everything that happened between us. "Oh My (English) God!"


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Greetings From Grants, New Mexico & Pasco, Washington Trifecta---Another Trip To The Near East & Richard (Dick) Hirschberg And "Fish" Dead In 2018---I just Found Out

Hello from the town I spent my very eventful 7th grade year.  It was all kinda crazy, my father suddenly deciding to end our intended immigration to Canada, moving us many thousands miles south to this "rough and tumble" Mexican town located on then Route 66.  Tomorrow I intend on nosing about since this is my first time back since 1967.  A guy in a local store says it has changed much since then but I don't think so, the feel of this place even now still a "broken, jagged razor preparing to cut your throat."  But driving out of town you will find Mount Taylor, the highest peak in the state awaiting your awe and pleasure. 

Part of my mission during this two week escape from all things taxi is bringing my late brother Steve's ashes for burial in the cemetery above the house in San Lorenzo.  A poignant thought driving here from Albuquerque was that I was returning Steve to Grants one last time,  Steve visiting us here when on leave from the US Army, having been caught up by the Selective Service System a few months earlier.  After his leave, Steve shipped off to West Germany, an experience he never recovered from.  Hate to think if my brother, he of the Army sniper metal, had been sent to South Vietnam and that outcome.   My brother was a great shot, bringing home many a duck and goose during his one year stay with us in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta.  Me,  our second year there I quit the 6th grade and instead read book after book, the school library my substitute teacher.  

Anyway, memories, memories, too many memories bringing me back to the madness that was my childhood and all the harm done to me and my three siblings.  Did my mother want to be in Grants?  No but where?  Probably back with her family in Toledo, Ohio, having returned in 1957 but leaving a short two years later.  Where did we go after that?  Egnar, Colorado in the beautiful but barren juniper highlands in the Four Corners region, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico meeting together in an unusual territorial, elevated country kiss. 

Once, Twice, Three Times Pasco

This time last Saturday I was returning from yet another Hopelink fare to Pasco, Washington, making it the third time and twice recently I've had the good fortune to go there.  A 215 mile drive taking I- 90, I-82 then I-182, its a fast 3 hour drive.  

Coming back, I took a state highway directly north through sagebrush steppe, an isolated road traversing the desolate high desert.  The highlight of the entire journey was stopping at a rest stop adjacent to the mighty Columbia, poking my way through a barbed wire fence and encountering three deer with the biggest ears down by the riverside.  They didn't like me but I liked them, apologizing for my intrusion. 

I got $624.90 for my effort but someone the same week had a $793.00 Hopelink, which is astonishing though wonderful for the driver getting such a big fare.  I can't remember this many large fares coming through seemingly daily, Hopelink and the State of Washington on some kind of mad spending spree.  Keep it going, is all I can and will say.  

Dick & Fish, RIP

Tuesday morning I was told that both of them left us for Taxi Heaven sometime in 2018.  Those of us long in the taxi tooth knew both of them,  Dick a longtime multiple cab owner, and Fish part of the  BYG Co-op office hierarchy. What was Fish's real name?  I was never told.  They were great characters, total taxi and forever to be missed by all who came to know them.  A belated "so long guys, its been good to know ya!" 


Waking Up to John Ashbery

How can I continue nothing, nothing?

How can I say I am something when I am not?

Outside my window glitters Bitter Lake, tannic acid once the flavor 

of the day---Baskin-Robbins meeting Pacific Northwest sawmill.

And while seeming trivial, it isn't this all everything twenty-first century 

tumbling down upon my head eleven oh two on an April eighth morning

knowing how necessary it is to not waste  minutes never to be retrieved 

unless I stop, stand, shout---this can't be my final statement disappearing 

down the shower drain!?


note: this double spacing is not my doing but my computer software saying, "hey you, you writing a poem? well, this is how you are going to do it, ha ha ha!"   My computer is haunted, or more to the truth, I don't know how to make the software behave. 

Want to really know what the Holocaust was like?

Read the book I am in the middle of, "The Ravine--A Family, A Photograph, A Holocaust Massacre Revealed," by Wendy Lower, published 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 

The detail is sickening. Awful. Terrible. Tragic. A sin against all humanity!