A Very Long Cab Ride to O'Hare
Nov. 30, 2005
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After an all-day meeting, we went to Nick's Fish Market
for a quick drink. I was hungry, so instead of a cocktail
I ordered a beer -- liquid bread -- and then another. Suddenly
we realized we needed to jump into a cab to get out to O'Hare.
We rushed out into the cold and flagged one down, but soon found
ourselves sitting in stopped traffic.
For a while, the driver kept us amused
with stories of interesting fares, and his family --
his wife, his three nearly grown sons ... and
a six-month old son, a surprise. "My wife is 46! Who could guess?
I'm not touching her again!"
Eventually, though, even his stories couldn't distract me from the growing
discomfort as my bladder began to complain. I shifted, clenched
my teeth as his short cuts took us through city streets, every railroad
crossing a burst of agony.
In the last mile of freeway, crawling glacially towards the airport lights,
I contemplated asking him to pull over onto the shoulder -- and would have
done so except for the fear that my two colleagues in the back would
have repeated the story throughout my team, perhaps for years to come.
I dug my nails into my palms
and prayed for inner strength. As our cab slowed in front of the American terminal,
I leaped out the passenger door, asking Allan to pay as I banged on the trunk. I grabbed
my bags and ran, tight-kneed to the men's room, leaving my colleagues
Allan was laughing and shaking his head when I saw them later
in the security line. He said, "I could
have told you that would happen."