Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dear Mr. Cabbie



I’d like to thank you for the wonderful tour of D.C. There we were, meter ticking away, exploring addresses that I’d previously seen only in the Metro section scoresheet of who got shot by whom last night, with a healthy side helping of the Health Code Violation listings.

I knew I was in trouble when I plunked myself down in your taxi, and you told me you were unfamiliar with the area where you had picked me up. Hrm. Neat! So, how did you get here in the first place? And who hasn’t heard of Cleveland Park? Did you think you were perhaps in actual Ohio? Nevermind.

Here we go! Connecticut Avenue, headed north! Wait, why exactly are we going north? Well, that’s easily fixed by a mid-street U-turn, with brakes screeching and a chorus of honks from the other drivers.

So, Rock Creek Parkway really is lovely this time of year. And then, later, much much later, we grind to a halt. Ride over. Yay! I can go home to bed! Oh, hold on.

Could you please tell me why you believe I live inside the 7-11 on Barracks Row? I love Slurpees, sure, but we’re in the wrong quadrant entirely. I know this because I live in the only quadrant we haven’t visited tonight. You’ve tried the other three, so by process of elimination, there’s just one to go!

Of course you know which building is mine. I pointed it out to you from the freeway. Hrm. Please tell me again why we were on the freeway? Oh, that’s right, it gave us some conversation topics during that long slog across West Virginia. And that jaunt across Pennsylvania. And that little side trip to Kentucky. And I’m not talking about West Virginia Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, or Kentucky Avenue. I firmly believe we visited the actual states as part of the neverending cab odyssey.

OK, so, we’ve made it to my building. My home slice of rent-controlled tenement existence has never looked so beautiful. I love you. I love me. I love sleep. The meter says $20. Here’s some money for your trouble. I’m keeping some of the money for my trouble, mind you, but the fare would have been about $12. So that’s what I’ll pay.

Oh, cabbie, thank you, thank you muchly, for the worst cab ride of my life.

There was the cabbie in Sarajevo who relentlessly corrected my pronunciation. The one in Bogota that took me on an exciting side journey through a remote hilltop shantytown, all the while muttering about his allegiance to the FARC. Or the prosletyzing one in DC, who always says, “Why go to Eastern Market, when you can go to heaven?” I’ve landed in that Cab o’ Jesus more than once. But you’ve taken the cake of fabulously awesome Cab Rides From Hell.

Wow. Thanks again.

Love,

Your Fare Who Quite Possibly Knows Where She Lives

PS – I’m exaggerating, yes, but a 6.7 mile trip should never take more than 20-25 minutes in no traffic, and really, really shouldn’t ever take longer than an hour. For any reason. Yikes.

24 comments:

Dave B. said...

Maybe it's my inner Ted Kaczynski thinking out loud here, but this kind of thing is one reason I refuse to move to an overpopulated metropolis.

It's also one reason I refuse to purchase firearms.

Lemmonex said...

Perhaps maybe someone had had too much to drink and they were having a hard time directing said cabbie? Ahem...

Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shannon said...

Dave, you have fun in your little Montana shack, there.

Lem - I don't drink. Nope. I gave him my address when I first sat down in the cab. Address, cross street, quadrant. I live three blocks from a major DC landmark. Easy-peasy. At that point I should have been allowed to doze off in peace, not wonder why I'm at a 7-11across town.

lacochran's evil twin said...

So is the grass in Kentucky really blue? And is is better than Sensimilian?

No reason.

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

You should blog about the Bogota journey unless you already have, your lucky someone isn't you using you as a proof of life.

This is why I don't live in the city, I like my car.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

DC Cabbies are the worst. I've come out ahead (so far) with the new meter system, but it's mostly because I know how to get where I'm going.

"no, I'm not okay with you taking a 'short cut', we'll go this way...oh really? you've been a cabbie for 10 years and don't appreciate my accusatory tone when you're trying to help me out with your 'short cut' that would make google maps sh1t itself? well, I don't care, go the way I told you."

Shannon said...

LaTwin, by the time we got to Kentucky, it was far too late at night to see what color the grass was.

Zipcode - I may have blogged it, try searching "bogota shantytown." If no, then I can always put it up later.

Shannon said...

Ninja - ha! Really, I should have gotten right out of the cab when the driver told me he didn't know where he was. Like, if you don't know where you are, how did you get here in the first place?

restaurantrefugee said...

For shame, you know better than to be out that late on a school night.

Shannon said...

Refugee, I would have gotten home at a perfectly reasonable hour, had my cabbie NOT taken me on a tour of DC.

Puuuurfwectly rissonable hooour. Puuurfwectlyyy....oof. Owie.

maryjanejeff said...

At least the cabbie last August in Baltimore that didn't know where the Metro Subway was told me that ahead of time. Feigning being lost is the cabbie version of panhadling in DC with the new meter system.

Emily said...

This is why I usually come armed with printed out directions from gmaps. More than half the cabbies I've ridden with have needed them to get me to my destinations. Why don't they spring for GPS's or something? It'd make a lot of people's lives easier. Then again, that might take another order from Fenty or something, cab strikes, etc. So maybe not...

Shannon said...

MJJ, the thing was, he didn't argue with me when I said I wasn't paying the full fare. I truly believe he was lost...or, possibly, we were so sick of each other at that point we would have agreed to anything.

Shannon said...

Emily - I was picked up in Cleveland Park, and I live three blocks from a major landmark. Any cabbie worth his salt should have gotten there in 20 minutes, gmaps or no. Maybe we ought to test cabbies for The Knowledge, like in London.

Mike said...

I hate cabbies. Hate them. I would rather walk a mile and a half than ride in a cab. I was coerced by a coworker into taking a cab this morning and we were almost sideswiped by an ambulance because the cabbie ignored the blaring siren and went on through the intersection.

Hate them.

maryjanejeff said...

At least he didn't bitch about the low $$$, Shannon. I usually take whatever I can get from a deal with a cabbie. The ones in Fairfax County always try to hit you with $1-2 above the meter at the last second. So they suck too and get $1-2 less of a tip as a result.

Best cabbies to deal with in the Metro area by far, Old Town!!! They always know where they're going, I just have to tell them first right after you cross the river. A lot of the time I'll just walk back King to Metro than walk home from Metro though.

LivitLuvit said...

I would definitely advocate the introduction of something like The Knowledge here in DC... I'm with you, when I finally collapse into a cab at the end of the night, the LAST thing I want to do is direct you to my apartment ON MASS AVE. I will be the one snoring in the back, kthxbye.

Shannon said...

Mike, I usually love cabbies! They usually have lots of good stories.

MJJ - yeah, the cabbie didn't argue with me one bit. I think I was possibly a little bit intimidating by that point. What I lack in height, I make up for in hostility.

LivitLuvit, EXACTLY. Like, it should be a bit harder to get a hack license...at the very least, you should UNDERSTAND THE QUADRANT SYSTEM.

brandonsavage said...

This city isn't that big! It's a big-ass box grid with diagonal lines! The only tricky parts are knowing NW from SE and knowing that the streets ascend going away from the capital. This isn't hard, people!

I've gotten myself lost more than once. But as long as I'm in NW somewhere I can find my way home. And so can you, Mr. "I'm going to run up my meter because I'm an asshat."

Shannon said...

Brandon, ha! Considering the cabbie agreed when I knocked down the fare, I think he genuinely was very lost.

maryjanejeff said...

One of my first ever visits to DC, the cabbie who brought me from Georgetown (please don't ban me from the blogosphere, I was with a group of 20+ who wanted to go there for some reason) to the hotel in Crystal City wanted to move to St. John's, Newfoundland. I thought that was as cool as hell because my ancestors settled there for coming to what would become the US.

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