Timely arrivals

“There is no such thing as early anymore,” a man said to his cellphone walking in the Financial District.

This morning, after turning off my alarm at 8 am, I suddenly woke up (again) to a jolt at 8:45 am.

I groaned in agony.

Eight. Forty-Five. AM. I had an appointment at 9 am downtown.

It burned in me. I hate being late. Handling time is one thing I can still control.

At 8:55 am, I waved at two taxis. The first taxi was across the street going the wrong way, but another taxi—a van arrived. I climbed in and said, “I’ll give you a $20 if you can get me to the Starlight Room by 9 am.”

The taxi driver must have scoffed silently because that was impossible. Then he lightened up, “Sir Francis Drake Hotel, eh? I’ll try my best”

I knew that he thought I was heading to an engagement or something fancy. But at that moment, the street names of that intersection escaped me. All I could remember was that the Starlight Room was across the street and I wanted Chris to take me one day.

“No just near the Starlight Room…ok, 9:05 then,” I mumbled and collapsed back silently trying to shake off my anxiety.

It was impossible because there was a car looking for parking at 22nd, a car slowly turning right on O’Farrell and then another taxi that wanted to squeeze in our lane on Van Ness. The taxi driver honked as a responsible taxi would, cursing at cars.

As time clicked by, I looked at my crumpled bills. How much would I pay for lost time? How much would I sacrifice myself to get something I wanted? I had just violated my no-taxi policy.

“Oh, just right here,” I said.

“I thought you’re going to Sir Francis Drake,” he responded.

“No…just near it,” I said and tossed him the fare plus tip.

“Do you need any change” he asked with slight guilt.

“Thanks, but I know you tried your best,” I got out and sprinted across the street with cars honking at me.

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