Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Monday Night is Still Monday

Yesterday wasn't exactly what one would call a "happy" day in Cara's World, for reasons already blogged. When the time came for me to leave work, I really just wanted to go home, change into warm, fuzzy pajamas, curl up with my warm, fuzzy kitty cats, and pretend the outside world didn't exist. Unfortunately, I couldn't do that. I had a meeting to go to, which I couldn't skip, since I had the meeting agendas and was expected to lead this meeting.

So, being the little trooper that I am, I got myself onto the train at the right time, and got off to wait for the one bus that would take me to where I was going. By this time, it had gotten very cold and had started to snow. The bus didn't seem to be coming. I went back inside the train station and asked the guy inside the little booth if that particular bus still stopped there. "Yep," he replied cheerfully. "Should be here in a few minutes. Be sure to flag it down."

I went back outside into the cold and wet and, sure enough, in a few minutes I see the bus. I started flagging the bus. I was probably pretty visible, wearing a bright purple hat and bright red mittens. The bus didn't stop. I flagged with extra vigor. The bus driver turned his head and looked right at me as he went sailing by.

I chased the bus. For a full city block, in 4-inch heels. I almost caught it, too. The bus was stopped at a red light. When I was almost close enough to touch the bus, the light changed. And the bus driver hit the gas and drove on once again.

I called the transit authority, and was told that my only way to get to my meeting was to wait in the cold and wet for another 45 minutes for the next bus. If I hadn't been required to go to that meeting, I would have gotten right back on the train, gone home, and cried. I was cold, wet, miserable and angry at the anonymous bus driver. Instead, after making a few phone calls, I stood on a corner in the cold and wet (by this time, my hair is covered with so much snow that I probably resembled a Christmas tree), and waited for a taxi.

After about 10 minutes, a taxi saw me, but didn't have a change to stop. So he, too, looked at me and went sailing by. I felt like crying. Unbeknownst to me, however, this taxi driver felt sorry for the woman standing in the cold and wet, and circled around two blocks to come back and pick me up. When he realized that he was going in the opposite direction from my destination, he circled those two blocks again. Without turning on the meter until he was going in the right direction, on the right street. And when he dropped me off, he gave me his phone number, told me to call him if I didn't have a way to get home from the meeting, and promised to come get me.

Yesterday was still a miserable day. But the simple friendliness and courtesy of Neil the Taxi Driver made it possible for me both to get to and get through my meeting.

Thanks, Neil. Wherever you are.

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