Saturday, June 19, 2010

No Escape

We were held hostage. Joanne and I had no chance to escape, at least no rational chance. There was the fleeting thought of trying to jump out of a moving car, but the possibility of survival was small at the speed we were traveling. At least we knew it would all be over soon. With any luck, in less than an hour, our ordeal would be ended.

We were exhausted from taking a red-eye home from the West coast. Sleep had not come easily on the flight. We knew that a full day's work lay ahead. We would get into the cab that was awaiting our arrival, rest on the short trip, throw our bags down in our apartment and get into the office.

Our local cab company had proved a reliable companion to ferry us to and from our journeys over the past years. The drivers' stories of life, and their perceptions of humanity, were many times the centerpiece of our rides. We often heard colorful, sometimes unique perspectives on existence. This one would prove the most unique of all.

No sooner had we gotten into our seats then it began. It did not come slowly or gently. Within seconds, we were being told about the depraved condition of man and how the end of the world was upon us. We were carried back to Noah and his warnings to those around him, of the impending great flood. Dire projections were ignored and Noah was ridiculed. Those who did not share in the vision were signing their own death certificates. Next, we were informed of Abraham and the lessons to be learned from him.

All attempts to deflect, or ignore, were cast aside like bugs on a windshield. This was a force of nature in the front seat. Discussions about the traffic on the Van Wyck, the weather or anything other than the chosen sermon proved wholly inadequate against the tidal wave that was descending upon us. Jo and I glanced at one another briefly, but with no resolution in our eyes.

From the Van Wyck to the Grand Central and from there to the East Side Drive. Finally to the George Washington bridge and then into New Jersey. It never ended.

In retrospect, our mentor was not angry or cruel in his words. It was not his fault that he was preaching, but mine. I had allowed this to happen, even fostered it. By my politeness towards him, I had created an environment where he felt a freedom to espouse. I hold no ill will towards our captor. (Is this what they refer to as the Stockholm Syndrome?)

As we were finally released from custody at our destination, we thanked our transporter and wished him well. His parting words to me were to give me the website where I could go to be further indoctrinated, I mean informed, as to the core beliefs of his religion.

I thank the cab company for providing us with much more than just a ride to and from our destination. Next time, however, can you please make sure the driver is an atheist?

No comments: