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Cab #3834

Date Taken: 1/04/08
From: The Loop
To: Albany Park

The Cab: I'd been standing in the cold trying to get a cab for ten minutes. When a cab finally pulled up I was too relieved to notice which cab company it belonged to. It was a white car with a large red circle painted on the side. The Hinomaru taxi service? Whatever. Arigatou, pal.

The Reason: I couldn't carry a laptop and the two magnums of Champagne that arrived from California that morning. And let me offer you some advice: if you're single, don't take the Napa Valley wine tour by yourself. You're going to be the only unattached person in a tour bus full of newlyweds pinching each other and giggling. No one is going to talk to you and they'll make you sit in the "single" seat by the door. And when that door opens - a total of nine times during the tour - it's going to hit you in the knee. At the end of the day, at the sixth and final vineyard, you and your bruised knee will sit on the patio at the Chandon winery. And as the artificial mist settles over your sun-warmed skin every four and a half minutes and the breeze blows through the withered Pinot Meunier leaves you're going to get very depressed. You're going to wonder what you've done with your life. And a nice looking man in a tuxedo is going to keep filling your Champagne glass. After several glasses he's going to ask you to join a Champagne club - the Sparkling Circle - where you will receive shipments of fine Chandon champagne every few months which will allow you to drink yourself into a dream world where you've made far better life choices. And you're going to do it. Yes you are.

The Driving: Reckless.

The Ride: My driver didn't speak. The cab was clean and smelled familiar and slightly sweet, like a clean cotton shirt that had been warmed by someone's skin - someone nice. He changed lanes fitfully and cut off several drivers.

I took my mind off his driving by looking at my dual reflection in the double sheeted Plexiglas divider behind his head. The offset images of my face overlapped and created a faint halo around a new, thinner face that had the cheekbones I've always wanted. The lights turned my reflected skin white and my eyes and mouth into black smudges. I looked like a high contrast, soft focus film still of Theda Bara. My face was a hellish, sultry Rorschach inkblot. I didn't want my real face back.

I noticed a note taped to the passenger side Plexiglas. "I have a Bachelor's degree in environmental engineering and I am looking for a job. - Your Driver."

"Ever been to Napa Valley?" I asked.

"No."

"If you go, don't take the wine tour."

Overall Rating: Three extended arms.

- Bethany Lankin


*

There are more than 6,000 cabs in the city of Chicago. We intend to review every one of them.



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Posted on January 7, 2008


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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