The best days are often the ones with the unexpected in them, like the one I topped off with a trip to an unfamiliar corner of a town several towns away.
The best days are often the ones with the unexpected in them, like the one I topped off with a trip to an unfamiliar corner of a town several towns away. My tactic, because it was still the Time of the Early Dark: to leave my car at a Park ‘n’ Ride and catch a cab from there.
That first cabbie and I were chatting away when he suddenly started seeming really familiar to me. It’s not that he was wearing polyester and a mustache, anymore than I was in feathery Farrah Fawcett bangs and hip-huggers. It just felt to me as if I’d known him in the ‘70s.
So I asked him where he went to high school. Though we’d never met there, he had been a student at the same time as I had been a teacher in the high school of the one-of-a-kind City of Somerville, Mass., the second most densely populated municipality in the country.
I asked when he graduated.
“I didn’t, officially. They gave me a buncha bull, told me I couldn’t march with the class. ‘You can pick up your diploma the day AFTER graduation,’ they told me. Hey, I didn’t care about marchin’ in no procession; I just wanted to get my diploma and start workin’.”
Well, he was workin’ tonight. He took me straight as a dart to an address in a maze of narrow streets laid out in the 1700s and now filled with so many brand-new townhouses I couldn’t tell which one I belonged in -- until I heard spilling from one open window the tinkling whoops of upper-class delight.
It was a fundraising-related bonanza of food, with the live performance of a noted mezzo-soprano drizzled over all. I enjoyed a whole hour of it, inhaling a glass of fine wine, six jumbo shrimp and about 180 baby carrots before stepping out on the sidewalk again to call the cab company whose number I keep stored in my cell phone.
No one picked up, so I started walking. I dialed and walked, dialed and walked and finally called my daughter Annie for advice.
“You’re not far from Atwoods Tavern,” she said “and they’re all nice there. Whoever’s tending bar will call a cab for you, Mum.”
Going there and having them call a cab gave me my evening’s second surprise, in the form of this new cabbie’s response when I asked him to bring me to my Park ‘n’ Ride lot.
“Excuse me, but perhaps it is better I take you straight home.”
“Uh, beg pardon?”
“Perhaps I take you home rather, and you find your car tomorrow.” His eyes licked up to the rear-view mirror where he saw confusion on my nice old middle-aged face.
“Why?” was all I could say.
“It is just this: When the bar makes the phone call it means that the person cannot drive on account of having had much imbibing.”
“Ah!” I said and went on to explain my circumstances, which he quickly understood.
As he drove me to my lot he answered a phone call in French. When I asked him where he was from we spent the rest of the time discussing the superior public education available to all on the island of Haiti.
“The schoolchildren they study it all,” he said. “Two languages besides French. Also l’art, la politique, l’histoire. …”
It was as nice talking to him as it had been talking with my new pal from the ‘70s. He brought me safe to my faithful little car, which in turn took me straight home to my waiting PJs.
Write to Terry at email@example.com at www.VacationingInMyDriveway.com or care of Ravenscroft Press, Box 270 Winchester MA 01890.