My energy was torn between just letting go and relaxing in the moment, or should I shout at the driver from the middle-back seat of his taxi-van
"please close the windows!"? As we rushed down the freeway, I envisioned he was punishing us for having airline vouchers, and I tried to move the window button next to me, but it didn't work. The people behind me must have been just as tired as I, simply unable to care.
The driver had a permanent frown on his face, eyes never looking into yours, but off somewhere in the distance. Standing there at the Dallas airport around midnight, he gruffly stated that he doesn't take vouchers in the same instant that he quickly grabbed them from our hands. He spoke in a dull, angry tone, with an accent I could not place.
He dropped off the other passengers first, and then turned around to find my Super-8 Hotel, tucked away behind endless construction zones on the torn-up, feeder road. The driver claimed all of Dallas is like this. I suddenly felt even happier to live in Houston. The room was courtesy of the airline for canceling my flight and changing it a few times over, leaving me no choice but to stay in this forsaken place a few short hours till early the next morning.
I don't know what came over me as I asked the driver if he could come back to get me at 5:30, and he sternly said that he would if I promise to be standing out front of the hotel exactly at that time. Perhaps I thought the wind on my face would be good the next morning… especially the messy hair part. Of course, when that time came, he was nowhere to be found, and lucky for me a free airport shuttle happened to be picking up another 8 sleepy travelers at this same time. I had a slight feeling of guilt as we pulled away… what if he shows up?
I hardly ever fly, but it seems my adventure is more common than I realized. After speaking with a few friends, they all have had their recent and oddly similar stories of jet travel with cancelled flights, delays, technical problems and unplanned, overnight stays. But it was the taxi drive that left an impression… the air I first resisted that seemed to want to cleanse me, help me to let go of control - to let go of stress, or perhaps to be reminded of the winds of change, and how much easier it is, even if a bit tangled and messy, to simply let go.