After a beautiful evening with friends, Sam and I climbed into our taxi…only to be greeted by cheap perfume and fishnet stockings. In a flurry of French and English our driver pulled away into the suddenly topsy-turvy night.
Once I grasped that our cabbie fully understood English, I gently reminded him that the meter was already at 14 Euros and climbing steadily. “Uh, sir? You didn’t reset the meter.”
“No need. No need.” He smiled happily and waved his cigarette around wildly in the air like an angry bee. “Where are you from? What do you do?” He swiveled in his seat and we switched lanes haphazardly. Why not? Who needs traffic laws?
Sam and I mumbled something and hurriedly strapped into our seatbelts. Our driver also had an interesting knack for unpredictably speeding up and then abruptly slowing down.
We took a turn (on purpose or accidental I’m still unsure) and narrowly issed a bicycler. As we slid to the left, I finally got a good look at the frizzy haired and rhinestone bracelet-loving woman sitting before me. Now normally I’d be more taken aback to have climbed into a cab with a patron already sitting in the front, but on our way to the airport in Los Angeles, Sam and I had already encountered this same new trend. The man who picked us up had a passenger already in the front who turned out to be, we found out quickly, another cab driver in training. So when I climbed into the cab and saw the woman in the front seat, my first thought wasn’t, ‘Ah-ha, she’s a whore.’
“Who’s this?” I asked our happy-go-lucky driver. Once again he turned in his seat to look at me and I wished I’d kept quiet. Going into a roundabout wasn’t the most optimal time for our driver to take his eyes from the road.
He smiled mischievously and I saw that his eyes were getting glassier. “My girlfriend.” he said while dropping our speed to almost nothing. “I would not have picked you guys up but that she is blond and you are blonde like she.” This made him pleased and as we put-put-putted down another boulevard, he shared some more juicy morsels from his life. Oh lucky, lucky us.
He translated a word here and there for his friend, who seemed to understand what he was lamenting about, although she said nothing. First he told us of his side career as a scriptwriter and filmmaker. Then he shared some very confusing horror stories about the construction in his new apartment. Tonight would be his first night sleeping there.
“Pah.” The woman in the front seat snorted. It was a loud noise, like a dragon blowing its nose, and I took it to mean that she cared nothing for construction. I clutched Sam’s hand and waited on pins and needles to see what else she would add, but this sound of derision turned out to be words enough.
Our cabbie understood all the implications of this nose snort and continued without pause. “I have wanted when I was younger to become English teacher. Then I made the movies in their original form. I am something of an artist, you know?”
Sam and I murmured our appreciation of his art…and hers too so it seemed as we watched her lean slightly to the left to begin sensually stroking his thigh. He made a gargling noise in the back of his throat and waved his cigarette more energetically than ever before. I was reminded of a symphony conductor and quickly decided that I didn’t want to hear or see the ending to this particular musical.
“This is good enough, right Sam?” I elbowed him in the side.
“Yes, right here.” My sweet, prostitute-free boyfriend agreed.
“Good, good.” The cabbie chortled and I couldn’t tell if was talking to us or her. “That will be 10 Euros.”
I blinked at the automated screen, which had gone from 14 Euros when we first climbed in, to only almost 20 Euros. I began to dispute the math when Sam shook his head and pushed me out. I surrendered the extra 4 Euros and scrambled towards the open door.
At least we got close to where we had asked him to take us.
4 Euros is probably a good deal for a prostitute when you think about it.
Photos from the day BP (before prostitute)