Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Taken for a Ride

Image courtesy of Damian Brandon/
The Big Named Car Service That Advertises on TV that I normally use recently doubled their price for a trip to the airport so I called The Small Local Neighborhood Car Service instead. Spoiler alert: It was a mistake.
The airport is only five minutes away from my house so I made a reservation for 11am for a 12:45pm flight. At 11:01am I called to find out where the car was and was told it would be to me in five minutes.  When I called again at 11:10am I was told it’d be one minute. At 11:15am a ramshackle hooptie pulled up to the house. It was so dilapidated that I wanted to check the inspection sticker. The Driver didn’t look much better. Shabby coat, hat pulled down to just above his eyes, and he was scrunched so low in the seat that the steering wheel had to be obstructing his view. Several thoughts crossed my mind:
“Did he just steal this car?” 

“Are we on our way to a robbery or coming from it?” 

“Am I a cover for the getaway?” 

“Am I seriously going to get in?” 

“This, this right here is how people disappear.”

[SOMBER VOICE OVER] “She got in the car and was never seen again.” [JUMP CUT TO]: Close-up on my last headshot looking fresh-faced and full of hope. Egads.

Although I really didn’t want to, I got in the car. The Driver confirmed the fare and asked me if I needed him to make change. I said no, because I sensed that answering yes would only lead to further disappointment. I did say that I needed a receipt. He said he didn’t have one.
“Business card?”


He said, “Why didn’t you tell the dispatcher you needed a receipt?”

“Because I thought I was dealing with a reputable business that would already have that.”

In case you’re wondering: yes that is exactly what I said. I know, I know. That’s how people disappear but I was too disgusted to hold my tongue. I went to Catholic School and certain lessons have been hard to shake; like the idea that being late AND unprepared are venal sins.

Perhaps in the ensuing silence my palpable dissatisfaction was deafening. I’ve been told I’m a loud pouter. So midway through our short car ride The Driver turned on the radio revealing that our tastes in music, and the volume at which to listen to it, couldn’t have been more divergent.

When we got to the airport The Driver got out and opened my door. A wonder. However, my hopes for a last minute burst of professionalism were dashed. He only opened my door because the childproof lock had been engaged and I wouldn’t have been able to open it myself.

And as if to make sure no faux paus was missed, he opened my door on the traffic side. When exiting a car it’s usually safer to get out curbside. Exiting into traffic can be dangerous. But if I were really concerned about my safety I wouldn’t have gotten into the car in the first place.

I gave The Driver exact change – no tip – and began thinking that maybe double the price of The Big Name Car Service That Advertises on TV may not be too much to pay after all. It’s either that or spend the money on the new headshots I might need in case I disappear on my next trip to the airport using The Local Neighborhood Car Service.

If this all sounds a bit elitist I won’t deny it. I’ve been watching the first season of Downton Abbey and imagining myself as Her Ladyship. Why wouldn’t I? I love tea and I look great in a hat. Now I just have to find the right person to bring the carriage ‘round.

The Urban Erma, the longest running column on, was created and written by stand-up comedian Leighann LordListen to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher RadioWatch the video edition on YouTube.comIf you enjoy The Urban Erma please leave a comment, Like it on Facebook, follow on Twitter, And share it with your friends. (Share it with people who are not your friends and maybe they will be.) Get her free e-books of The Great Spanx Experiment and Sometimes I Wish Facebook Had a Hate Button. 

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