The taxi driver was in a horrible mood.
At the gas station, he honked his horn as though he was aiming for a new high score. He leaned out the window like a rabid dog and screamed at the car in front of us.
“Just calm down, son,” Grannie advised.
I almost laughed; the day this man calmed down would be the day we achieved world peace, solved world hunger, and Michael Jackson rose from the grave singing “Thriller”.
“It’s impossible to stay calm when everyone in this country has become an asshole,” the driver responded as he peeled out of the station and into oncoming traffic. We nearly collided head on with another car, on account of he was driving in the wrong freaking lane. “Isn’t he an asshole?!” the cabbie screeched.
“Absolutely,” my grandmother nodded solemnly in the passenger’s seat.
Meanwhile, I patted down the back seat for a seatbelt more thoroughly than a TSA agent before an American bound flight.
There. Were. No. Seatbelts.
As a Madison High School graduate, this went against every fiber of my being. We were taught to “Buckle Up, Bulldogs!” because the chances of dying in a car crash was 130% if you didn’t wear your seatbelt. There was even an entire sticker-and-sign-wielding club dedicated to getting the school to buckle their seatbelts.
Factor in the fact that this was Alexandria, Egypt and not sleepy South Dakota, and my current mortality rate was approximately 3000%. (People drive like cracked out chimpanzees in Egypt.) At this point, there were a few different options of how this cabbie would be the death of me:
- He crashes the car into a terribly mangled mess.
- The taxi driver would pick a fight, which would turn into a street brawl where he would be shanked and we would be collateral damage.
- In a fit of rage, the cabbie would murder us himself by tying us to the nearest railroad, cartoon-style, and running us over repeatedly.
- All of the above.
I didn’t survive turbulence on every single plane on the way here (there were three) so I could die in a taxi with no seatbelts. Really, I would like my death to make some sort of headlines, and a smashed taxi just isn’t going to do it. Unless circus animals and escaped convicts are involved.
When the taxi finally screeched to a halt by my grandparents’ apartment building, I all but leapt out, sank to my knees, and kissed the ground. Except I didn’t, because I’m pretty positive a clinically insane homeless man had peed on that very spot the day before.
The driver was right about one thing though: the world is full of assholes. He just didn’t realize he was Numero Uno.