A night with Wayne & Esperanza & DC Taxis…

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I should be raving about the Wayne Shorter & Esperanza Spalding show I went to Thursday night at the Kennedy Center.  Well, I’m going to – but I’ve got to get there first.   When I left work I walked to a taxi rank located across the street from a hotel  – the first 2 drivers told me they were “not available”  and the 3rd taxi didn’t have a driver.  Why are they sitting in a taxi rank if they are “not available” ???    Surely that is the purpose of a taxi rank – to sit there and accommodate anyone who walks up to you.  I assume they sit there waiting for people to come out of the hotel with luggage and that they zip across into the hotel driveway before the concierge has put the whistle to his lips.  But how do they know that I wasn’t going to be a high fare – I never got the chance to say where I was going!

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Hand raised I hailed a cab the old fashioned way right beside the taxi rank!   The driver, from Sierra Leone, was super nice and all too happy to rail on about those drivers who give DC cabs a bad name.  There’s a lot of them!  The state of our taxis is atrocious – from the condition of the cars to the rudeness of the drivers to the whole meter and credit card situation.

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Between taxi rides was a wonderful intermission;  a get together with my friend and the show.  While I waited for her I walked the entire perimeter of the Kennedy Center –  I don’t think I’d realised how big it was, but of course it has to be as it has so many different halls and theaters inside.     View from one direction:IMG_1542View from another~.  IMG_1544

This show was an 80th Birthday celebration for Wayne Shorter, a tenor saxophonist, who turned 80 in August and who was onstage as headliner and guest of honor with his quartet (pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci & drummer Brian Blade) and the NSO Pops with jazz big-band leader Vince Mendoza as conductor.  They were joined by Esperanza Spalding who has a huge voice for such a small lady! (I should also mention that she was wearing a gorgeous dress).   We had fantastic seats in a partiere section where we felt we could just reach out and touch the stage and we both really enjoyed the show.

Photo taken before all the musicians were onstage as photography of artists is not allowed in the Kennedy Center and I’m a rule obeyer – which is really frustrating when you see many people with cell phones raised during the show!  IMG_1546
Still on a high after the show I joined the taxi queue to get home.  I gave my street name to the driver and added “it’s near where Major Street No 1 crosses Major Street No 2”.    His response was something garbled followed by “where’s that?”    Seriously? taxi problems going home too??    I say “It’s a mile north of Hospital”  .   There’s a bit of groaning & moaning from him as he turns his radio of dreadful music up very loudly and off we go.   He then manages to drive me in an arc so we end up a couple of miles north of my house!!   As I direct him back south I’m figuring out a measly tip and decide to have him drop me at the entrance to my street so he won’t know where I live.

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I had looked for the taxi license on the visors but it was missing.  Perhaps the licensed driver was sick in bed and this was his cousin!  Don’t drivers have to pass a test to show at least some rudimentary knowledge of DC’s main streets?   DC is only 68.3 square miles!   – we’re not talking about a lot of major streets.   I don’t expect anyone to know my little street and that’s why I always add the major cross roads near me.   Doesn’t everyone have GPS or a phone with it  (well, except me as I have neither a car nor a clever phone).

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The DC Taxi Commission apparently does nothing with complaints (hearsay) but I am going to report those lazy buggers in the taxi stand!   At least the night finished pleasantly with me going to bed imagining Esperanza Spalding, accompanied by Wayne Shorter,  singing at *my*  birthday party.  Wow – wouldn’t that be something.

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10 responses

  1. yes, licensed drivers *do* have to pass a test – the courses are given at UDC.

    sounds like it was a marvelous gig – so sorry about the cab driver!!! (I had more good than bad when I took cabs in D.C., which wasn’t all that often, but still, the bad ones were approaching NYC bad cabdriver status by the time I moved away.)

    Don’t get started about zones and fares and Congress, or I’ll be in it with you, ranting away!!!

  2. I’m sorry your taxi experience almost ruined your evening. Unfortunately, I think a number of cities suffer from the same kind of taxi service. NYC is truly bad—Amelie can tell you about the psychopath who drove us back to her hotel from downtown. He actually passed a line of cars in the left turn lane and flew into the intersection on a red light to turn left. When I heard about the taxi that jumped the curb in Times Square and ran into a young woman, severing her leg, I wondered if that was “our” driver from that night.

    My son and I also had to argue with a cab driver who took us to the wrong hotel in Seattle: when we told him so, he began claiming that was in fact the hotel we’d told him to drive to. I told the driver we wouldn’t pay him for the ride, and he swore at me. My son suddenly took over at that point and told the driver, “We’re getting out here, and we’re not paying. I’ll call the police if you want to make a scene.” and with that, brandished his cellphone. I was impressed. He had just turned 18 and it was as if he had become “man of the house” at that moment. The driver scowled but took off without another word. Since my son was twice his height, I think he realized he was outmatched in the physical department.

    • And that wasn’t even the first taxi driver who behaved like that – about half of them were terrible!

      Brings back good memories of the non-taxi moments, though. 🙂

  3. That sounds like a fun show! Isn’t it great being close to the stage? You can really see and hear all the details; the clothes, the method of playing. My boyfriend always insists on sitting in the center too so the sound is “just right”, LOL.

    I’m convinced some taxi cab drivers are sociopaths. Two companies I called in town never showed up even after they said they were “15 minutes away” during 7 separate phone conversations.

  4. “Doesn’t everyone have GPS or a phone with it (well, except me as I have neither a car nor a clever phone).” I know a lot of people with GPS installed in their super smartphones but the end user doesn’t have the patience to learn how it works…..
    You could have saved yourself some time if you showed him the display.

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