Friday, January 23, 2009

5:15 am.

Victoria appears to have two, on a good day three, sections that feel like a big city.

Well, certain aspects of a big city. Definitely not the cosmopolitan - sky scraper- never sleeping excitement aspect. More the one level furniture rental stores- cramped apartments with yellowing windows-half lit neon aspect. East Vancouver before it was East Van. Northeast Winnipeg before it was... well, it still is Northeast Winnipeg.

Along with these certain aspects of big city livin', Quadra street also has a higher than average population of psychopathic, off-shift taxi drivers.

I believe that there should be a sense of comrade between humans when we are forced to rise before the sun. There is no need for cheery hellos, no need for comments on time, nor the weather. There is definitely no need for cheery hellos, no need for comments on time, nor the weather. There definitely no need for opportunistic cabbies to take this unholy hour as mating season. I'm not sure if its the sacks of bluish black beneath my eyes, or the obnoxious volume at which I'm talkin to myself, but it seems that I have just what it takes to drive these Bluebird Taxi Bloodhounds crazy.

It's important to note that Quadra village is not my usual domain, so it is only during walks of shame or strides of pride that I find myself stranded in the valley between Bay and Hillside.
We all know how easily dignity can be snatched during these types of heroic walks, how short the tether between holding it together and losing all touch with conscious thought. When the only cohesive thought pulsing through your brain is whether or not you put underwear in your pocket, number on the nightstand or vice versa.

In my naivety,one morning, I try to hail a taxi. The driver proceeds to screech to a stop, turn its headlights off and inch along beside me. "Where are you doing, WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU GOING?"
"Not with you man, just downtown, thanks"
The obvious response for cab 736 is to begin to do a series of u-turns, looping back and forth around the median. Rolling the window up and down six or seven times, he finally tilts his head ti scream through a half inch space at the top "I cant' take you there, I'm sorry! I can't take you there! I'm sorry!Is that ok? IS IT?!"
It was like all of the taxi-driver synapses were firing in his brain at once, twenty five years of driving around drunken college kids and grocery shopping senile seniors had finally taken its tole.
There is no way to decipher what this man would do next.
Do I call the cops? Do I begin shooting blindly?
Do I negotiate myself as a hostage, throw myself on the ground, and prepare to be hogtied?
Fallowing the road most travelled when I find myself in awkward situations, I fumble past the aforementioned underwear in my pocket and grab my package of cigarettes. I walk calmly behind a hedge, and stand there smoking. The whirr of his window closing and opening and his mutters "I'm sorry, I can't take you there" slowly fade away.

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