Thursday, August 25, 2005

I read something the other day reminding me that it can be, from time to time, a hassle to catch a cab. Now, I'm not a big city boy by any stretch of the imagination, but I had experiences on my last two trips to the Big City (different cities, BTW) that might be helpful.

1. It's five o'clock, I'm in midtown Manhattan, and I need to catch a cab to the airport. They're legally obligated to take every fare, as I understand it, but they're apparently not legally obligated to see you if you're obviously carrying luggage, and it's a time of day when all the money's to be made in midtown. Luckily, I was only in town for a couple of days, and my bag was small enough to be invisible when I swung it behind my back. I'm not saying the cabbies were trying to avoid an airport trip, but I got picked up almost immediately after I hid my luggage.

2. It's ten a.m., I'm just finishing up a business brunch in downtown Boston, and I've got just over an hour to get to the airport to get outta town. This is the first time I've ever travelled on my own to a big city, and I haven't got the first clue how to hail a cab in this town, and even if I did, I'm not seeing any. Not only that, but it's January, and the windchill makes standing still outside a frostbite risk. And I have to pee. (Aside: the scarcity of public restrooms is one of the reasons I hate big cities.) Luckily, I spot the familiar Hilton logo just down the block. I pop in the side door and head toward the elevators, then sidetrack to the restroom. When my business there is completed, I pop out the front door, where the doorman waves his magic wand and summons me a cab out of the previously empty air. Twenty terrified minutes later, I'm at Logan Airport, waiting for my flight.

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