The past few days have been cooler than the average from the week before. last night as I wandered about city streets in search of a little bit of food to tide me over until going home, a warm, sweet-smelling breeze washed over my face, reminding me of summers gone by.

I remember long summer evenings in Brussels quite fondly -- grateful for the extra hours of play time as the sun put off going to bed until, eight, then nine and finally ten. Dirty feet, smiling sticky faces and smudged clothing are the evidence of many an evening romp through the last yard in the pages of the family photo albums.

Summer in the city has always been something of a different challenge. The contrasts of heat and cold, the warmth generated by cars and buses, stinking up the avenues, the odor of hot tar being poured as work crews resurface the roads, blasts of cold air from the doorways of icy offices and at the lasts of the buildings the blasts of warm exhaust from the air conditioners constantly working overtime to exchange warm muzzy air with cold, stale air.

It also means throngs of tourists, jamming up the subway with their baby strollers and cluelessness, intractable children and poor fashion choices. Rush hour becomes meaningless as hordes of people descend upon the trains throughout the day and the actual rush hour becomes close to un-navigable as the pack of bodies in the cars increases beyond proportion.

I knew there was a reason I avoid working normal hours during the summer. The commute is just so darn unpleasant. I suppose that's the only silver lining to my recent state of inertia, depression and insomnia: it helps me avoid the tourists.

Today the heat is back, shimmering lightly on the horizon, making it hard to breathe. And it's only going to get warmer throughout the rest of the week, to range between 90 and 95 next week. Oh joy.

I heard that forecast on the radio in the cab I took to work today. Yet another adventure in cab driving. Most of the time I am very happy with the services provided by Red Top. The drivers are usually friendly, courteous, knowledgable and get me where I'm going on time. Nevertheless, from time to time, I get a dud driver. Such was the case today.

I should have known when I saw him miss the entrance to our complex that he was going to be a dud. I should have clued in when he came back and nearly missed the turn in coming the other way. And then when he missed our row of buildings and drove up and around to the rear of the complex. Generally, these guys get to you in about 10 minutes or less. With all the getting lost, this guy took 25 minutes. I was steaming, but he gave a cheery hello when I climbed in, so I thought it would go okay from there.

His A/C was on really low, the windows were closed and I quickly got over-warm. I pondered opening the window, but from the way he kept pounding his feet on the floor every time we got to a red light, I wasn't so sure I wanted to bother him.

Then, of course, before I had time to say anything,instead of taking 23rd all the way up to the circle next to K St. where I work, he turned down F St. to come back at my office because the street is divided over and underpass. We wound up stuck behind a bus in the narrow streets around the GW campus adding onto the already more than usual delay.

By the time we got to my office, it was 1:20pm, almost a full hour after I'd called for the cab. Ordinarily this ride only takes 15 minutes and the total travel time from the time I call is 30 minutes, about 20 minutes less than the metro ride.

The last straw was when I pulled out my credit card to pay and he cried out, "A credit card? It don't say credit card on here!" (his dispatch terminal). To which all I could say was that I'd clearly told the dispatcher that I would be paying via credit card. He sat there grumbling and mumbling to enter the information and ran the card through the imprinter.

I grudgingly gave him a cash tip and was out of there as fast as my little legs could carry me.

I should have just taken the damn train today. I didn't wind up making up for lost time with the cab today anyway.

On the journaling front, Xeney is back, as I found out from Viv yesterday, and most welcome back is she indeed. The cackling and spewing of beverages on my keyboard first thing in the day, can resume now.

I've also signed up to help organize journalcon, time to brush up on those con-organizing skills from doing 5con, some years ago. Wanna help out? The discussion is still ongoing:)

7.13.99 | narrative | mail | 7.26.99

little owl