Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Believe They Call It 'Harrowing'

A "harrowing experience." Yes. I do my best not to take taxis because of the expense. My general weenyness and overall appalling lack of direction, however, have had me hailing a taxista on my way to work more often than not. I've always been able to make it home. From anywhere.
A poor decision from the weekend started it all. I neglected to apply sunscreen to my rapidly aging skin. A bad idea all around and just downright stupid when you're on a beach in the Caribbean. Sorry, Mom.
Come Monday, a taxi home to avoid walking in midday sun would be necessary. A concho to work (so as not to spend too much of my days' earnings getting there and back) was the plan.
An hour before class started, I walked out to the main road, stood at a busy corner and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Honk! Hooonk! Honk! A concho driver on the other side of the street was waving me toward him, pesos in his eyes.
"I'm going the opposite direction!" I yelled as a truck passed between us.
"Its okay, you'll get to where you're going," Eager-Driver promised, continuing to wave me into his concho.
This is where the movie pauses, me in mid-step across the street, and the narrator comes on, "This was her first mistake of the day."
Josh had told me about an alternate concho route I could take in the morning that would allow me to get close to the university without having to play Frogger on death highway. It was a bit of a round-about, but would be significantly safer. I thought, "Well, I guess I'll try it this morning," and hopped in behind Eager-Driver. Off we sped.
Ten minutes later, I made my next concho connection just fine. "Wow," I thought to myself, "I'm actually doing this!" I smiled, pleased that I was overcoming some serious fears. I sat next to several students and mentioned to the driver where I was going (since I had zero idea where I was supposed to get off nor what the campus looked like from that end since it comprises 300 acres). We drove. And drove. And drove some more. All the students got out of the car at a technology university which I knew was semi-close to the one I teach at. It couldn't be much farther, right? We continued driving. Picking up passengers. Dropping off passengers. At one point, quite a ways into the drive, a pregnant woman with a watch got in. As the driver continued picking up passengers, she scooted ever-closer to me.
I glanced down at her swollen wrist. Panic officially set in. Class started in 12 minutes. I didn't recognize anything. Dilapidated buildings were on my right; a cliff, river and mountains to my left. My university is nestled downtown. I breathed slowly for two minutes, gathering strength, then turned to Prego-TimeKeeper.
"Excuse me," I whispered, "Do you know where PUCMM is?"
She looked, eyes wide as if the panic had infected her as well, "Its waaaaaay back there!" she pointed.
"Driver," she shouted, "This young person needed to go to PUCMM!" (I'm always called "young person" here. I don't deny it.)
He pulled over and I got out on the side of the highway. "Take a concho the other direction," he yelled out the window as he drove off. Thanks.
The reel stops again, narrator man says, "Her next move was, by far, the most idiotic of the morning."
Despite plenty of time en route to reflect up to that point, I hadn't quite yet figured out how I'd gotten into this predicament. A concho pulled up, I got in and searched my pockets as we gathered speed. Empty.
"Driver, I don't have any pesos." Screech! I was back on the side of the road, practically with a boot print on my booty. I wouldn't know where to get off at from that concho route anyway.
Long story slightly shorter, I finally found a taxi who zig-zagged me all over the city so he could tell me when we finally arrived, "200 pesos." That, dear reader, is almost 40% more than I normally pay for a taxi ride.
"What?!" I looked at him, shocked at his brazenness. I was being taken advantage of. Perhaps my New Years resolution will be to actively work on my severe directional handicap.
Unswerving and unapologetic, he responded, "You were really far out there, Miss."

1 comment:

  1. But then, aren't you often really far out there?