One never lives too long to go unsurprised and this morning’s bout with taxi cabs proves the point to me once again. My plan for the day included a morning trip to the community of Tantallon, which is not pronounced with an accent on the first syllable, but rather like calling your Aunt Ellen by her name with a French sobriquet….

Having not acquired a car since yesterday’s posting, and having determined that bus service to that area is commute only, with the last outgoing bus at 7 am and the first inbound at 4, I knew I’d be cabbing it.

I like cabs. I appreciate (most) cab drivers. I’ve had some flakey ones—the flakiest before today had been the young man who was driving me from Los Angeles Union Station to Burbank and worried the whole way (aloud) that we wouldn’t arrive. But he had a map and he persevered.

Unlike this morning’s first driver. I called the cab and was told one would be at Alderney Gate to collect me pronto (okay, words to that effect). I went down and outside and waited in the beautiful blue-skied cold. At the point my feet froze, I was delighted to see the cab pull up. I entered it and recited both the address and the general area in which I was headed.

“Oh, god,” the young man groaned. “I’m too tired to understand how to get anywhere.”

He pulled away from the curb (with me onboard) and we drove around Dartmouth for 15 minutes while he fretted, made calls to his dispatcher, and was forthright that he couldn’t “understand what he’s telling me cuz he’s saying road names and I don’t know any road names.”

I have never been driven by anyone anywhere before in my life who knew no road names. Wow.

“I can’t do this,” he repeated. “I can either drop you off here and maybe you can get another taxi or just take you back where we started.”

Since the current “here” at which he was offering to drop me was a freight rail yard, I opted for a return to Alderney Gate.

His largesse at that point was overflowing: “I could call another cab for you. But they might not answer.”

I climbed over a small snow bank and went inside and called myself, trying to keep the starch out of my voice. Back outside I waited another 15 minutes.

And then Wilbur showed up. Wilbur was the angel to the first guy’s devil. It was a fine blue day and the road was clear and he was going to make a bundle on this long trip so he chatted and told stories and was a total delight.

“I could just sit and watch kids skating on a day like this. I love watching them skate, with their scarves flying out.”


“Too bad we can’t find a place along here that has some good beans and brown bread and make a real winter morning of it.”

He told me about winter camping trips he’d made as a young man (which included stirring cups of rum with icicles “and it shouldn’t have made it taste different but it did”) and comparative prices on turkey in Canada and the US (Canadian turkeys seem to be priced at about 10 times the going rate of American fowl).

By the time I got to Tantallon, I was in a right jolly mood.

The day went smoothly and the ride back was completely uneventful—until we pulled up to the curb at Alderney Gate….behind the fire truck. And this time when I climbed over the snow bank, it was to join the huge crowd of the building’s entire occupancy….


2 Responses to “Taxi!”

  1. caroleleita Says:

    Arghhh! A cliff hanger!! Alicia and I shared a pumpkin bar at Peet’s yesterday. She said to tell you it was as good as poutain! The coffee was great.

  2. Cabbie and more IHC « To Halifax and Gone Weblog Says:

    […] and more IHC Although I’ve taken several cab rides since the early December episode reported here, I’ve not had another reason to do so related to work until today. It was with […]

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