My friend Alex and I grabbed a cab last night. We were on our way to another friend, Ronnie's photography exhibit. He was one of the runners up in a contest and we were going to the event. She says "the cab will get us there in a couple minutes." We were running late and I agreed it was a good idea.
It took us a minute, but one finally pulled over for us. I can't understand a word he's saying because my Spanish experiment still hasn't grown wings like I'd hoped, but I'm trying. So I'm listening for any words I can pick out and a generel sense of what he's saying. Alex seamlessly weaves back and forth between Spanish for him, and English for me.
The driver seems like a nice guy, but after a few minutes, I see he's having trouble finding where we're going. In the endless pretzel of streets that exist in Madrid, it's easy to have that happen. It doesn't matter how long you live here. He's got this green book. It looks 30 years old. And he's looking up the street names. At one point, we know we're close, and Alex says he can let us out and we'll find it.
He looks back at us, turns off the meter, and says "no!" Then something else in spanish, and bangs on the seat next to him with his fist and smiles. The gist? I'm going to find this place for you guys if it kills me. He rolls down the window and asks about the street name. No luck. We drive around the block, working our way in and out of different bits of the neighborhood. No luck. He rolls down the window again, and this guy says it's a block over.
Another 5 or 10 minutes pass, and we finally realize we're on the street. Right out front of the gallery. The whole ride costs us 5 euros. We probably paid for half the time we were in the cab. All 3 of us were laughing most of the time.
He's a cab driver. He helps people get to where they need to go. He wasn't comfortable just letting us off and taking the fare. He wanted to get us there. He apologized for taking so much of our time. He reaches back and shakes my hand. A good firm handshake and looks me in the eye.
That was one of the greatest cab rides ever. I work like that driver in a lot of ways. I do things I don't "need" to do. But it makes a difference to me at the end of the day. I can relate to this guy a alot, even though I couldn't understand a word he said.