As much as my high school self cringes to hear this, I really am a country girl. For the majority of my childhood we lived on acreage and in my teen years we had a horse, goats, chickens and a duck or two. I learned how to drive barefoot on curvy back roads. And hell, I lived in a neighborhood called “Backwoods Estates.” So, yeah I guess I’m a country girl. I never realized HOW MUCH of one I was until I moved to the city. Traffic absolutely blew my mind. How could so many people be on the road at the same time!? And why can NONE OF THEM DRIVE!? Sirens 24/7 took a long time to get used to. Even after five years, I still have an experience, every now and then, that makes me think “wow, I really don’t do well in the city.” Last night, I had my first taxi experience. And though brief, it was pretty humorous (to me), so I thought I’d share.
My flight was delayed (as usual) so I landed way later than the original 8:15pm. According to the website though, my hotel had a shuttle service until 11. I still had plenty of time so I made my way down and outside to the pick up area. After standing in terrible humidity and heat for 20 minutes, I called the hotel. “Oh our shuttle service ended at 9:50 tonight so you’ll have to take a cab.”
I panicked. A cab!? But don’t people get mugged in those things!? What if I get kidnapped!? Do they take credit cards? How expensive is this going to be!? How do I even go about calling a cab!? So I did what I normally do in a crisis situation; I called my mom. She laughed gently, and calmed me down and said that all cabs take credit cards, but usually have a set rate from the airport. There was a line of taxis at the curb and I asked my dad (a frequent traveler) if those were for anybody. He told me yes, get in one. So I hung up and asked the cabbie if he was waiting for someone. He said no, get in. So I did. And silently freaked out for the next 3 minutes.
“Am I supposed to buckle up? Well I’m not going to in case I have to bail out of this death trap. Fuck it’s freezing in here. How has the ticker gone up 50 cents already, we’re not even out of the airport yet!? This is gonna be expensive. Why is there no music playing? Am I supposed to be talking? I’m gonna buckle up, this seems wrong. No! What if he turns around with a gun and demands my money? If I’m buckled I won’t be able to escape! I should have listened to C and brought my gun! Oh my gosh we almost got hit! Was it his fault or the other drivers? Oh thank God there’s the hotel. $10.80 ok not too bad. Will he take my debit? Nevermind I’ll use my credit card to earn miles. How much of a tip should I leave? 10% maybe? Ok why is this taking forever, is my card not working? Oh they MAKE you leave a tip! 45%?! I don’t think so! 30%? Nah, I’ll chose 25% it wasn’t that long of a drive. Ugh that’s up to like $13-14 now. Oh well better than being stranded. Thanks have a good night! He sounded so angry when I shut the door. Was he mad about the tip? He probably thinks I’m another stingy American. But I’m not! I’m just broke, dude!”
My first taxi ride was literally 3-5 minutes long. But my brain is obviously an overachiever and can pack a whole bunch of anxiety into a small amount of time. I did not once feel worldly, or sophisticated or cool in the back of a taxi. I was a sweaty, panicky, lost little girl needing a damn drink.
Ah, city life. How glamorous!