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Sunday, April 22, 2007


Here's another one: A half mile of lard

Picture this:

First weekend of the month. Military payday, social security checks are out, welfare payments are being squandered. The bars are closing. The temperature is -30, and all the taxi companies in town are backed up for at least an hour. Bar patrons are waiting for cabs all over town.

This is Fairbanks, Alaska. We don't wince at -30. The mere fact that it is cold is no reason to stay home. In fact, at a mere -30 most bar goers only wear a light jacket.

I pulled up to a bar. Two groups of people were freezing their butts off waiting for cabs. They had been waiting outside for at least 30 minutes since the bar closed. None were dressed for the cold.

They all agreed to share a cab and piled in.

Eight passengers (nine including me) in a Crown Vic with bucket seats. At this point you are saying, "Tight fit. But it was cold. I can see eight passengers squeezing into a large car."

Let me add that at 6'1", and 300 lbs. I may have been the smallest person in the cab. (1.85 m., 136 kg.)

One group (a group of truck drivers) only had to go a half mile, but it was in a different direction than the other party (two Mexican couples) needed to go. The second party did not want to wait even 5 minutes for me to return. So, with the trunk dragging and me leaning heavily against my door we left.

It was extremely loud in the car, but as soon as we left everyone noticed I was taking an unusual route.

"Look people, we have over $1000 dollars worth of seatbelt violations in this cab, and we are a rather obvious target. I thought I would take the back streets."

The truck drivers laughed. They understood the ramifications of getting pulled over.

The fat Mexicans and their fat wives did not understand the wisdom of my maneuver and started accusing me of running up the meter. I offered to take them back to the bar. They refused.

The general hubbub in the car was not conducive to having a conversation to explain again why we were going the way we were going, and furthermore I didn't care to explain again. Fortunately a couple of the truck drivers told the Mexicans to shut the hell up.

The truck drivers got out and gave me a good tip. The Mexicans insisted we go back to the bar, reset the meter and start the trip over.


I told them I planned on giving them a break for agreeing to share the cab. They would not be mollified.

Whatever. They were insistent that they were not going to get ripped off.

We went back to the bar and reset the meter.

Just to tweak their noses I rolled down the windows and told them there would be an extra charge for heat.

These folks decidedly had no sense of humor. So after they rolled the windows up I rolled them down again and hit the window lock button.

"Let's just leave them down for a minute. Those truck drivers smelled pretty bad."

Turned out when I got them home that they didn't have enough money to cover the fare, and they were still accusing me of cheating them.

Luckily for them it was way too busy to argue over a couple dollars.

Next time I'm leaving the windows down.

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