If you’ve traveled frequently for work, you’ve probably spent a lot of time in the back seats of cabs.
More time than you’d care to think, I’d wager. If, at the moment you depart for that Great Airline Terminal in the Sky, you added up all the time spent in cabs over your working life — all those 45-minute trips from the airport to your hotel, all those crosstown rides through hopelessly snarled traffic when the UN is in town, all those half-awake dashes to catch an early bird flight — you might have spent a week or maybe even two in the back seat of a cab.
We tend not to focus on our “cab time.” This is a good thing, because cab time sucks. When you are in the back seat of a taxi, you’re checking your flight information, catching up on your email, or groggily wondering whether you’re overdue to experience some form of travel hell. You don’t focus on the cabbie’s driving, and you especially don’t pay much attention to where you’re sitting. God forbid! If you did think about such things, you’d ask some unsettling questions, and you’d start carrying a can of Lysol and a plastic sheet on every road trip. How old is this cab, anyway? What’s that smell? Hey, is that a stain on the floor? Just who were the passengers before me? Were they doing something unsavory? Were they suffering from some debilitating communicable disease?
I’m in a cab right now, trying not to think any of these disquieting thoughts. It’s time to play Spider Solitaire on the iPhone, zone out, and trust the unknown professional behind the wheel to get me to the airport on time.