Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Taxi !

I have made no secret of the fact that I have been spending more time in Philly than in Fort Worth. One obvious difference between the two cities is population and traffic density, and wherever you have density, you have taxis, and in Philadelphia, they are everywhere.

Now, I'm fortunate to be able to walk to work. And I walk in the evening. If you walk a lot, you see people waving down a taxi day and night. After a while you group together, in your mind, the more interesting approaches. Here's a short list of the folks I see, and their method:
  1. The Business man hail is performed with a slight briefcase rise while looking at the cab and then his watch. It's the least pretentious, most common, and the least enjoyable to watch.
  2. The Girls Night Out hail is a fun one. Several ladies stroll out of a club in the evening in their inimitably, giggly-girl way. One is the fun-loving but take charge type who waves down the taxi like waving to a sailor going off to sea. Lots of arm movement with a high pitched "Yoohoooo." No concern for machismo coolness, just bring that sucker to mama.
  3. Similarly, there is the Three Guys Strolling out of bar in their, "I think she wanted me kind of way," and all three want to do the hailing. If the first guy hails and fails, he's in trouble. Then guy two steps up and says, "step aside bonehead, let me show you how it's done." If he fails, and the third guy gets the cab, his success makes him top dog until the next competition. We can't help it that's just the way we are.
  4. Then there's the tourist, "Is this how you hail a cab?" arm wave. They always look surprised, but especially pleased when one stops.
  5. There are two annoying approaches. First is the "Girl picks up Guy" hail outside the bar. As the girl drags her prey to the curb, she gives a jerky wave to a taxi after saying, "I'll get the cab." Poor sucker, I think, get out while you can. The other annoying one is the overly stuck on himself guy who hails the cab and gets annoyed when cabs are full and don't respond. I've been tempted to body check his macho ass to the curb as I pass, but I don't. I see a lot of these two.
  6. My favorite for observation is the guy with New date hail. The lovebirds step out of a restaurant and guy hails cab like James Bond stepping out of a casino in Monte Carlo. I love to watch this one if the girl responds with "Oh, James" admiration. If the guy doesn't act too much like, "the world responds to my command," but instead acts humbly, and even a little self-deprecating, he scores major points with the girl. I'll often stop walking to finish watching this one.
If you have never hailed a cab on a busy city street, add it to your list of simple pleasures to enjoy before full retirement. My wife and I need a taxi every month or so, and I have to admit that it is a particularly satisfying feeling to step outside one's apartment, raise one's hand in hail fashion and within 10 seconds have a car pull up and a driver who says, "where to?"
"The airport, please" I say, as I open the door for my wife. . . unfortunately, she doesn't seem that impressed.


she who must be obeyed said...

ok I will try to show how impressed I am next time.But after you hailed a cop on our first date to take us to McDonalds the taxi hail is a bit weak.

Becca said...

I would also suggest adding trying to hail a taxi in a city where you don't speak the language very well to the list. One it's a fun adventure to see if you can do it, and two trying to explain where you want to go is hoot.