Recently I caught a taxi to the airport at 5.20 am. A woman greeted me when I jumped in and my first thought was not charitable. You’d better get me there on time.
She dithered over the direction, there was fog, and she went around every corner as if a dragon was waiting just out of sight.
“Do you live out here?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“Do you work in town?”
“Yes,” I said, even faster and shorter than the previous yes.
“You drive all this way every morning?”
I closed my eyes. She just needed to do her job and get me there on time. I was not in the mood for chit chat.
When we reached a turn off she paused in the middle of the road, unsure which direction. “Straight, keep going straight!” I yelled. “Don’t you have your GPS on?”
She didn’t yell. “I know the way once I get out of this part.”
I sighed heavily making sure she heard that sigh. Which part, exactly, was the part she had any idea about. Frustrated and anxious, I kicked myself for not booking that guy I had last time, the one whose wife had been in the shark accident. He talked a lot but he was fast and knew where he was going.
Imagining what would happen if I missed that flight I could feel my stress boil. Leaning forward I repeated, in a clipped tone, exactly what time I needed to be at the airport.
Sitting back I tried to calm myself and on cue, the moment I tried to think of nothing I thought of something. James Altucher’s post on feeling hopeless typed itself into my brain. Do one kind thing a day.
I told James to get out of my mind. I was mediating. Couldn’t he tell? Plus I didn’t feel like being kind as I wanted to be grumpy in the back seat because I got up at 5.20 AM goddammit.
Do one kind thing a day hung, like heavy fog, in my mind.
It was early.
I was paying for the taxi ride.
I didn’t want to make small talk and be nice to a stranger.
You know you will feel better if you stop being a bitch.
Sighing, I leaned forward, dragging myself out of my mood and asked, “Do you live near here?”
She told me where she lived and how she migrated to New Zealand when her youngest child was four. We both knew ALL about shifting countries with young ones and had quite a lot to say about that. She got up at 3 am to do airport runs. Every morning. 3 AM! That made my 5.20 seem like a sleep in. She had three daughters, one with a PHD, another about to get married, and a third who spoke 7 languages. Seven! Can you imagine? She loved her son-in-laws and all three daughters were marrying their first loves and she was quite relieved about that because that’s what she did and she was still with her husband 30 years later. And still in love except when he was being annoying. We had quite a bit to say about husbands too.
“Love is what works,” she told me, with a nod of her head.
Next minute we were outside the terminal with five minutes to spare and I hadn’t even noticed her driving me there. Curious, I wanted to know if she liked her job. She told me she did.
“But sometimes, when people get in the car they give me a funny look.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I am a woman.”