Taxi trapped: Unfortunate cab rides
When you think about it, riding in the back of a taxicab is quite an intimate experience. There aren’t all that many people we know with whom we would trust our lives or choose to be locked in a room—and yet that’s exactly what we do with cab drivers. Perhaps this explains the amount of familiarity that often makes for interesting conversations between cabbie and passenger. Scene writers have had every imaginable experience in the back of a cab, from being accosted by attempted fellow passengers to nearly being killed to having a cabbie tell one of us that she should write a book about her life because he would love to read it. Buckle up because here comes a series of recollections on the wildest rides that we’ve been on.
I was at the airport coming back to school, and I got in the cab and told the driver I wanted to go to the Washington University Clocktower. He looked me right in the face and said, “You’re crazy if you think I’m driving you to D.C. right now. I have better things to do.” When I asked him how long he’s lived in St. Louis, he said 15 years. I then proceeded to give him step-by-step instructions on how to get to Wash. U.
As I crossed the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge during a taxi ride home from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, the driver mentioned that he has a fear of bridges. At first, I thought he must have been joking as crossing bridges is inevitable for a taxi driver in New York. And for a taxi that services the airports, nearly every trip will contain a journey over a bridge into Manhattan or the Bronx. I found myself confused by his choice of profession, but as we traversed out of Queens and back onto the mainland, the driver’s tensions were clearly reduced as he overcame his gephyrophobia yet again.
After leaving the Lumineers concert at Chaifetz Arena earlier this fall, I sat trapped in a cab with a driver who was clearly looking to open up. I expressed my sympathies after she told me she had a migraine, but as she began to open up about the frustrations that had led to her throbbing head, I found myself wishing I had remained silent. Evidently, she had recently hit menopause and was experiencing some severe symptoms. But, as she explained, it was actually the best thing that had ever happened to her. Confused, my friend and I inquired—a mistake. She then explained to us how stopping birth control had really kicked up her libido: it was like “letting a tiger out of a cage.” Not that I would ever want to hear anyone say this phrase, but I found it particularly unsettling from a 47-year-old woman in whose vehicle I was locked. The rest of the ride back, she continued to share freely, covering topics from having her tubes tied to drama with her ex-husband. Needless to say, I’ve never been so happy to reach Wash. U. as I was that night when we returned.
Once, when I was taking a cab from the airport back to campus after winter break, I rode with a driver who was about 50 years old and who would not stop staring at me in the rearview mirror. I tried to make small talk with him, thinking it would make the ride less awkward. He proceeded to ask me all about my “exotic race” (I’m half Asian and half Caucasian) and then told me I was beautiful and asked for my number. I told him that I had a boyfriend and couldn’t give it to him, then practically ran away when we pulled up to campus.
I was on my way back from an event with some friends when two guys, who we assumed also went to Wash. U., pushed their way into our cab and asked to share it with us. We were surprised, but we felt like it would be rude not to accept. However, they then demanded to be taken to their apartment on the Delmar Loop, which we found a bit odd, but we agreed that since we would be going out of our way to drop them off, they would pay for a higher percentage of the taxi fee. When we reached the Loop, the two guys quickly jumped out of the car without paying. So, my friends and I split up the fee that it cost to go to the Loop and decided we would walk home from there. Unfortunately, the taxi driver was very unhappy with this. After taking our money, he suddenly asked for more to cover some kind of “special charge.” After we refused to pay him more, he got out of the cab and started to walk up to each of us individually, saying, “You. $15” and intruding too far into our personal space. Then he tried to get us to sit back down in his cab, even opening the door. Creeped out, my friends and I started running and didn’t stop until we were back on campus.