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Friday, March 20, 2009

Taxi Cabs and the Twilight Zone

Ever take a taxi cab? If you have, I'll bet you'll be able to relate to today's Blog....

I don't care what city you're in, the minute you open the back door and get into a Taxi Cab, it's like entering the Twilight Zone. For me, the theme music starts, my vision begins to blur, my head starts to spin and I've quickly realized it's best just to stare out the passenger window and not look ahead. Then, just when I think the experience can't get worse, I realize the cab driver wants to chat! Chatting means they're not looking ahead...not good.

Why not look out the front you ask? Well, let me share a few of my cab experiences and you'll quickly see why I try really hard to melt into the seat and become invisible!

First, there was this cab ride in Chicago where the craziness of it's cab drivers is second only to New York.  We get in and as we're heading across the city to the museum, people are literally jumping out of our path so as not to be hit. We're so close to the cars around us that I have to practice focusing on my breathing so as not to hyperventilate. The weird part was that the city pedestrians & drivers were acting like this was just a normal day at the office.

Next, there's the infamous cab ride in Las Vegas. As my now husband and I are sitting in the back of the taxi van heading down the strip toward our romantic dinner destination while our NASCAR-wanna-be driver is FLYING at top speed and swerving in and out of traffic. We're flipping around in back like a hamster in a speeding ball and I'm looking to Dan with pleading eyes to save us. He's frozen in fear, or else he's hit his head a few too many times on the side windows to realize that our situation isn't normal. 

As we come upon a cross walk, there is an elderly gentleman making his way to the side walk in a turtle fashion.  Our cab driver, being the sensitive individual his is, not only speeds up and races toward him, but yells "Hurry up old man or I'll give you that hip replacement you've been whining about!"

I didn't actually see the gentleman jump out of the way as I was mesmerized by Dan's large saucer-like eyes and when he jerked to cover his face, I thought for sure I'd hear a thud. No thumping or thudding and I'm not sure how we missed the older man, but I swear somebody was practicing a planned movie stunt at our expense and one day we're going to see our faces on some B-rated TV comic reality show.

That brings me to today's cab ride. The club regretted that their normal hospitality person wasn't available and asked me to take a cab from the airport to the hotel. Visions of my prior cab experiences dashed through my head and I knew what I'm in for, but I plaster a smile on my face and hope for the best. The other thing that doesn't help is I once saw an NYPD show about a cab driver that would steal people using a cab cover and then kill them...So with visions of murder both in and outside the cab, I begin the trip.

The ride starts out quite enough, but midway through he asks me if I have directions to the hotel. Great. I have an address and a phone number, that's it. He says not to worry and off we go. Typical of the cab driver legacy, we're weaving in and out of traffic on the California highways, do a few quick stops and then a few fast lane changes to keep going. The icing on the cake is when my cabby puts on his driving glasses (you guessed it, he hadn't been wearing them previously) and I realize we're now doing 35 mph on the highway vs. the 70+ we'd been doing just a few minutes before. I can't help but wonder if he really knows where we're going and at that moment, he slams on the breaks and pulls onto the median. It appears the exit that was about 50 feet back is his destination so I just sit there staring out the passenger window, cowering in the seat and waiting for a rear end impact that luckily never comes.

After getting onto the desired off ramp safely, he laughs and apologizes. Of course I laugh as well, smile and say "no problem". What I'm really thinking inside is "You scared the cr*p out of me!" Somehow those words don't seem like a good idea since I'm not yet at my destination and he ultimately has control of the locks and windows (remember that NYPD show I told you about?).

Well, we do get to my hotel and I'm grateful I dyed my greys last week or I'm certain they'd be really, really silver for this weekend's show. But, I did make it safely and with yet another story from judging.

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