NS November 29th, 2011
Do you remember the stories I told you about the Guinness world book of car crashes, and the longest night a 19-year-old girl ever spent on a European misadventure? Well, in one of those stories I promised to tell you about the longest taxi ride ever and realised today that I had never got round to it. I figured I better rectify this toot suite, before all the Saturday nights I have spent watching X Factor turns my brain into a chocolate fondant-type pudding that, like Louis Walsh’s common sense, spills into a nonsensical puddle when prodded.
So, the taxi ride.
It began when I decided to be responsible and stop at 6 drinks instead of my usual 9. I fell out of the rowdy American blues bar where I’d been hanging out with my friends since we finished work. I staggered to the curb in my high heeled boots and flagged down a taxi almost straight away. As I slid open the mini van’s door, I realised there were already two gentlemen (I use that term loosely) inside.
“Sorry!” I said, and began to close it, but one of the men said they weren’t going far and so long as I didn’t mind the driver dropping them off first, I could share the taxi with them. Because my suspicion of humanity had not yet kicked in (I was only 23, and a happy drunk), I gladly agreed and hopped into the back seat. I sat beside one of the men, whose name now escapes me, and he introduced me to his brother Larry, who sat on the row of seats behind me. There was something odd about Larry that I couldn’t quite place so I resorted to squinting my eyes at him whenever we passed underneath a street light. It was a Wednesday, 2-for-1 on whiskey drinks, so this meant that squinting didn’t achieve much besides creating two blurry visions of Larry instead of one.
The man beside me (let’s call him Dick), asked what I’d been out celebrating.
“The invention of alcohol, mainly,” I chuckled. “How about you guys?”
“Oh, Larry here just got out of prison yesterday.”
“Ah, you don’t say! Fascinating.” Cue another nonchalant-but-desperate squint at Larry as we passed under a street light again. I was about to ask what he’d been inside for but the swastika tattoos that littered Larry’s neck like graffiti on a store-front shutter rendered this line of questioning irrelevant.
I turned back around and plastered a small, tight smile on my lips, trying not to freak out or panic. I didn’t have long to contemplate my next move because at that moment Larry chose to scoot forward in his seat, so that I could feel his breath on the side of my face, and proceeded to run his tongue, very slowly, all the way from the base of my neck to just behind my ear. I fought the urge to wipe his saliva off and moved away ever so slightly but kept the polite smile on my face, not wanting to provoke my Hitler-loving travel companion. For a woman who is used to having altercations with sexist assholes on a regular basis, and standing up to them, this required a huge dose of self-restraint.
It was at this point that I realised we’d been in the taxi an awfully long time for a ‘quick trip’ to drop them off and that we’d gone outside the city limits and were quickly approaching the flat, featureless countryside that exists everywhere along the edges of suburban and small-town Indiana. The taxi driver was getting fed up with Dick and Larry’s vague directions and mutterings about their destination being ‘just up here a little ways’ and demanded they either give him an exact address or get out. Twenty minutes later, the neo-Nazi neck lickers were standing outside the minivan shouting abuse at our Pakistani driver, telling him to go back where he came from while kicking the side of the vehicle and blocking it from turning around or moving forward. When I told them to stop and let us go, Dick lived up to his name and began hurling insults at me too.
This was not amusing anymore. I began to have visions of being marched out into the cornfield at gun point with my poor taxi driver, who looked so perplexed and kept repeating, as if for reassurance of his company’s policy, “I cannot carry passengers who refuse to give an address and who treat me in this manner.”
Finally, Dick and Larry grew bored of terrorising us and walked away into the pitch black night. I breathed a sigh of relief and looked forward to finally getting home. What should have been a 5 minute ride had taken the best part of an hour and had ruined my buzz. Fascist criminals with twisted world views will do that, I hear.
Unfortunately, the taxi driver couldn’t find his way out of a wet paper bag (this was pre-GPS days) and so we drove around in Nowheresville for another half hour before we found a rural gas station at which we could get directions back to the city. Finally, over 2 hours after I stepped into that ill-fated taxi, I arrived home, less than 2 miles away from the bar I’d walked out of earlier in the evening. I mumbled a brief outline of the situation to Noble Husband, washed my neck several times, and then went to sleep.
The moral of this story is: sometimes it is bloody well safer to walk home (even drunk and alone, at night) than to get a taxi. Oh, and always check fellow passengers for prison tats that may indicate a propensity for douchebaggery.