Friday, November 9, 2012

I Now Pronounce You

The wedding ceremony was called for 6:30. As the cab driver made a U-turn and headed back from where he started, I looked nervously at my cell phone. It told me that I should be unhappy, very unhappy. I was.

How, in this day and age, can a taxi not go directly to its proper destination? The era of guesswork in travel had seemingly gone the way of the dinosaur and the typewriter. Plug in your starting and ending points, and some omniscient being instructed as to each twist and turn from here to there.

We had been set to travel to Denver in the middle of the afternoon on Wednesday. United Airlines announced, nearly 24 hours prior to our departure, that virtually all of its flights were cancelled due to the nor'easter that was bearing down on the metropolitan area. After superstorm Sandy, it seemed like a very cruel joke. Somehow, our flight survived. My son's educated guess (and given his study of the airline industry, analysis was more accurate a description) was that we were spared as we were flying to a United hub. They wanted this plane, our plane to get out of where it was and to a place where it could be further dispatched. Money, as always, speaks.

Not that the journey was without its hiccups. As we pulled away from the gate at our allotted time, the snow pelted down. We would have to be de-iced before heading into the air. But, in a virtually deserted airport, with a runway seemingly begging us to get the hell out of there, it would be well over 2 hours before we left the firma of the terra. Mechanical issues, which would take but a few minutes to correct (is there ever one that is not announced as a minor problem?) quickly brought us back to point A and square one. But, finally, neither rain, nor sleet, snow nor broken part could keep us from our appointed rounds, and on to Denver we went.

The hotel was located in downtown Denver, chosen by the wedding planners for easy and quick access by the guests to the location where the wedding was transpiring. Less than a 10 minute ride, so the expert on this matter at the front desk advised. As the taxi pulled up, my cell phone told me we had time to spare.

The driver's response when informed of where we were headed should have tipped me off. It was framed more as a question than a declaratory statement. But, he was the one in charge, and this is what he did for a living. I ignored the hesitation in his reply when the site of the wedding was repeated. And he took off as though he was confident that he had a mental image of every left and right, every stoplight and pedestrian crossing. All was good.

The meter and the miles began to pile up. Uncertainty was evident in every twist and turn. When the car slowed, and made that very unceremonious u-turn, not the first of this meandering mess, the driver fessed up. Within seconds, my son took over. Talk about back seat driving. Left here, right there, another right, another left. It was 6:36 when the taxi went right past our destination. After one last error was corrected, we were where we were supposed to be. The meter read almost $19. I handed $10 to the cabbie, which he found to be fair wage, and off he went into the night.

While we were being driven to distraction, the words of beauty and wisdom had started. Fortunately we heard almost all of what was a very warm and genuine ceremony. The evening was a great success.

At the end of the night, one of our friends who had also made the trip to the mile high wedding, drove us back to the hotel. It took less than 5 minutes.


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