In my last post, I was heading out on the road with Oswald and Ruffus, a potentially sinister duo of hobbit style man and dog man. And in what I remember as being extremely typical, I’m still waiting – there’s been no word from the moderator who’s writing the other half of the thread. I completely understand this of course – people have lives beyond their weird fake internet lives. The classic trick that Aelyrian’s get drawn into is feeling too impatient to wait for just one or two threads, so you start up another one, and then another one, which all works fine on that day – and then a week later, you suddenly have seven people to reply to, all at once, which is basically the equivalent of writing seven short stories a night, and then you way too stressed and quit. Or at least that’s what I did.
Anyway, this waiting has actually been a fairly successful narrative device, it’s drawing out the suspense, making me wonder what’s going to happen. I’m 100% convinced they’re going to pull me into a copse of trees and stab me and steal my identity.
It reminds me of when me and my partner went to Vietnam a while ago. Everyone gave me the same tip – when you get off the plane, make sure you go to the correct taxi rank, because there’s a lot of dodgy taxis out there. So when we get off the plane, all bleary and tired and young, what did we do? We let ourselves get drawn away and shoved into a random car, and as we drove off, another dude just jumped into the front seat. It took me a while to realise it, but we’d done exactly the wrong thing.
It all seemed to go fine for about fifteen minutes, until suddenly we pulled off from the road, into what can best be described as a shanty town. Then, the guy in the passenger seat turned around and began yelling at us to give them ‘bridge tax’. Luckily, I’d been expecting this, and had shoved the couple of hundred US dollars I had in my wallet into my shoe, and just played really clueless and dumb, which I was, until they were happy with a few twenties. The guy then got out of the car, and the original driver drove us to our hostel, which was the weirdest part of our taxi heist.
I was mostly just glad that we hadn’t been stabbed and left in a gutter, but I was also a bit sore about paying around fifty US dollars more than we should have. I felt like I’d failed the ONLY thing about travelling that I was actually prepared for. This was mollified, however, when I discovered a big burly US college student in our hostel had paid FIVE HUNDRED US DOLLARS to his taxi.
And, I must have learnt my lesson, because in New York a guy came up to me and said ‘taxi? and then started leading me into an underground carpark’ and suddenly I thought ‘wait a moment, this is that thing I don’t want to happen’ and I said ‘oh wait, I forgot, my mum is picking me up’ and I ran off and caught a real taxi.
This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016.