Glory be, GOSCON starts at 8:40am, and my chain-o'-planes
to SGP starts with a 7am flight on Friday. Good thing I don't sleep. Random thought kicking around that I've been meaning to write down before I forget it, because it's a good reminder that some things we take for granted are still things that hold others in awe.
Taking a taxi was one of those things for me. I hailed my first taxi running down the streets of Manhattan when I was 21. Didn't really know how to do it, but I'd seen other people in the city stick out their hand, so I did, and was somewhat awed when a taxi actually stopped, and stunned when the response to "I'm trying to get to such-and-such a place" was "yeah, get in, I'll take you there" (that's it?). I grinned madly throughout the entire ride. wait I hailed a taxi I actually figured this out and did it all by myself and I'm going to the proper place and yay!
So when Katie, Arjun, and Jason, three high school students from Illinois, visited Boston this January and we were shuttling between the hostel they were staying in and wherever they needed to go, I stepped out into the street to hail a taxi (which had become second nature to me at that point) and then remembered. "Y'all ever hailed a taxi before?" They shook their heads. "You're going to do it now. You step out on the street and hold your hand out like this, and then when the driver stops, you tell him where you want to go. Here's the address. And you pay the fare at the end. Here's $20." They looked at me for a little while, blinking. "C'mon, go on. Here, you go first, and then the next ride you, and next you."
And one by one, on our three next taxi rides, they stepped out into the street and hailed a taxi. And told the driver where we were going (with a lot of little anxious "am I doing this right?" glances). And paid at the end. And grinned madly throughout the entire ride. wait I hailed a taxi... (And you know the best part? Once the first one gets it, they start teaching the others, and you just sit back and watch the streets whiz by.)
"That's it?" one of them asked me afterwards.
"That's it," I said.
Being able - and trusted - to do the smallest little things makes a big difference sometimes. When you find out something you didn't know how to do is actually very, very easy - it's a lovely feeling. Magically, I have this superpower too - and I can teach it to others! Watching their faces in those moments are some of my happiest times.