Sit First, And Ask Questions Later

Sit First, And Ask Questions Later

Date sent: Thu, 09 Apr 1998
From: Tanja Mihalič

London. Theatres. Museums. Red buses. And always special LONDON TAXICABS. Black or maroon with a white license plate at the back, they all help you to move quickly and avoid pains in your legs. Help you to get to the hotel safely in the night. IF you know how to catch them!

February, 1998. After seeing the musical Les Miserables in the theatre at Shaftesbury Avenue, I hurried out of the theatre. I knew - only the first luckiest will be able to get a taxi. I was out when the first taxis arrived and stopped just in the front of the theatre. I ran to the first one.

Where are you going the taxi driver asked?
Corner Sussex Gardens and Edgware Road, I replied.
Sorry, I am not going this way. Take one at Piccadilly Circus. They go your way!
I didn't think much about what he said. I did go to the Piccadilly Circus. It took me 10 minutes to get there. And I stopped the second taxi. The same conversation repeated for the second time.

Where are you going the taxi driver asked? Sussex Gardens, I replied.
Sorry, I am not going this way. Take one around the corner!

I went mad. I saw one taxi parked in neighboring street. When I came closer I realized that the driver was waiting for someone. I talked to the driver. Why don't your colleagues want to give me a ride?
I don't know, he said politely. But - next time - get into the taxi FIRST and THEN tell the driver where you are going, he recommended.

So! That is what I was supposed to do! But! All the taxis had already been occupied. I was trying to hail one for more than half an hour, but they all had a yellow taxi sign on the roof switched on, signing that they were occupied. I had hard time trying to ignore a man who was offering me a ride in an ordinary car that had no white license plate on the back. He became so intrusive that I had to leave the street.

So I took the tube to Baker Street. I didn't want to walk from Edgware station to the hotel and the crossing Baker street - Marylebone road seemed to be offering more chances to catch a taxi. It was already midnight when I was on a street again. And it was about 20 minute walk to the hotel. And there - just in front of me, one taxi stopped to drop someone! What a luck, I thought. But I was wrong! I waited that the person paid and went to the driver. And. Oh, no! The same question again:

Where are you going the taxi driver asked?
But I had learned my lesson. So I replied: I will tell you in the taxi!
Oh, no he said! You will tell me FIRST!
So I told him and ... sorry, I am not going this way!!!

It was me who was sorry. I was sorry I didn't had a gun. So I couldn't shoot. But I did have my voice. So I could shout:

What is wrong with you, London taxis! You are the third one which is not going my way...
It did help. He gave me a ride. And I gave him a nice tip. And I don't know why.

Written by Tanja Mihalič

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