home . index . books

A Very Long Cab Ride to O'Hare

Nov. 30, 2005

< < previous | next > >

After an all-day meeting, we went to Nick's Fish Market for a quick drink. I was hungry, so instead of a cocktail I ordered a beer -- liquid bread -- and then another. Suddenly we realized we needed to jump into a cab to get out to O'Hare. We rushed out into the cold and flagged one down, but soon found ourselves sitting in stopped traffic. For a while, the driver kept us amused with stories of interesting fares, and his family -- his wife, his three nearly grown sons ... and a six-month old son, a surprise. "My wife is 46! Who could guess? I'm not touching her again!"

Eventually, though, even his stories couldn't distract me from the growing discomfort as my bladder began to complain. I shifted, clenched my teeth as his short cuts took us through city streets, every railroad crossing a burst of agony.

In the last mile of freeway, crawling glacially towards the airport lights, I contemplated asking him to pull over onto the shoulder -- and would have done so except for the fear that my two colleagues in the back would have repeated the story throughout my team, perhaps for years to come. I dug my nails into my palms and prayed for inner strength. As our cab slowed in front of the American terminal, I leaped out the passenger door, asking Allan to pay as I banged on the trunk. I grabbed my bags and ran, tight-kneed to the men's room, leaving my colleagues far behind.

Allan was laughing and shaking his head when I saw them later in the security line. He said, "I could have told you that would happen."