Was he sleepy? Or did he just shoot up?
And why oh why did I stay in his cab?
I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to any of those things, and it bugs me.
We were all in a great mood, having just experienced the Blue Man Group in Chicago. And it wasn’t all that late, maybe midnight, when we hailed the cabbie. I got the back middle seat, with my two guys on either side of me. My seat allowed me the prime (and only) position of having a view of the eyes of the cabbie. It wasn’t like I was focused on him at first. We were talking about the show, the uses of yards of toilet paper and how many marshmallows a human being can actually fit in his mouth (it’s a lot more than you think …), when our man behind the wheel kind of lurched his car down the road. It got my attention, but I brushed it off and went back to our conversation. But then he sort of sagged into another lane, and then he really got my attention when he closed his eyes and stopped the car at a green light. On a pretty busy street.
Sort of out of character for me, I reached through the open plexi between the front and back seat, touched his shoulder, and asked if he was alright. He perked up, mumbled something, and then both Anders and Hans were looking at me like I was a lunatic. They couldn’t understand why I had shook the guy. I thought perhaps he was dying, actually. And since he was the one at the controls of the car, it seemed a prudent move at the time.
And anyway, hadn’t they noticed how he was driving? Couldn’t they see his eyes kept closing?
Apparently not. Because it kept happening.
And instead of saying to them, “Holy crap, our driver keeps closing his eyes. I think we need to get the hell out of here!”, I gave Anders one of those googly-eyes that says, “Holy crap, something is very very wrong here!” but didn’t tell him what.
Because I thought it would embarrass the driver.
I mean, what is WRONG with me? Either he had just shot up with heroin in the moments before we got in his cab, and probably wouldn’t have given a flying fart what we thought of him, or he was working on his 19th hour of constant cab driving to try to pay for his ailing mother’s new hearing aid, and should have been appreciative of someone calling him out.
So there we were, weaving our way ever closer to our hotel, completely at the mercy of some dude clearly not completely with it. I was praying hard, “please please please let him stay in our lane please please please.”
It was a long few minutes, I’m telling you. And instead of engaging him at the hotel, I walked away with Hans as fast as I could as Anders paid the bill.
Was I wrong?