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!
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.
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:View from another~.
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!
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.
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).
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.