Monday, November 7, 2011

A Couple More Short Stories

One Eyed Willy

A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I decided to go have dinner and see some live music in a popular area of the island called Redhook.  The band we wanted to see didn’t start until 10:00 p.m., so after dinner we stopped at a few places for a drink before heading to our final destination, the Caribbean Saloon. 
When we decided it was time to make our way for the live show, we started walking down the street to the bar.  Even though it was a slow time of year, the street was hoppin’ with friendly patrons, taxi drivers and several lively bars.  As we approached the Saloon and started walking up the stairs to their entrance we heard someone behind us, also walking up the stairs, advertising his taxi services to us for when the show was over.  I knew we would need a cab to get home, so I turned around to get a glimpse of the cab driver. 
When I turned around, I saw a short, dread-headed man with only one eye.  Slightly disturbed but pretending not to be as to avoid offending this man, I immediately turned back around and proceeded to go up the stairs and into the bar.  As we sat down and waited for the band to start, the cab driver sat down next to us and proceeded to order a shot, and I believe he also ordered a drink before heading over to play some video poker.  I made a mental note of the situation and moved on toward the stage to watch the band when they started. 
We spent the rest of the night enjoying some decent hairband music, and I believe I even got up on the stage at one point for ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’.  In my defense, I wasn’t the only girl on stage. 
Towards the end of the night we had managed to fight through the crowd so we could be close to the stage.  When I looked over at the hyped-up fans next to us, I found my one-eyed friend by himself right in front of center stage.  He was completely hammered, dancing around and singing every word of the song being played at the top of his lungs.  For a minute, I thought this may have been the first time he had ever seen a concert, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he truly thought that this band was the real Motley Crue.
Willy in the teal collared shirt, connecting with the band.

When the show was over and the crowd piled out the doors and down the stairs, I could faintly hear this visually impaired, entrepreneur once again advertise his taxi cab services.  Seriously?  I thought.  This guy can hardly make it down the stairs with his one eye sober, let alone drunk.  Now he wanted to get behind the wheel and drive people home? 
As the crowd dispersed, so did the cab driver, and I can only imagine how the rest of that guy’s night ended up for him.    

The Freedom of Freeloading

While spending a day in St. John one Saturday, we decided to hop in a cab to make our way to the beach we wanted to go to.  Much to our surprise, we ended up on a safari taxi.  These are all over the islands and they are basically large pickup trucks with benches in the back that the cab drivers say can fit up to 14 people, but I’d argue that it’s more like 10.  Anyway, they are designed to take masses of tourists from one destination to another, and we were completely out of place. 
I tried to keep to myself as the tourists complained about the heat and pointed to the views.  However, I couldn’t help making a comment when the driver actually pulled over at one point for a photo opportunity for these people.  I looked at my boyfriend and said, ‘At this rate, we won’t get to the beach until 2:30.’  It was only noon and St. John is less than 20 square miles, so I’ll admit that I was being just as obnoxious as these tourists.  The only difference is that I was aware of how ridiculous I was being.  They were not. 
Luckily, our stop was the first beach on this taxi driver’s route.  We paid him an obscene $5 each, and hurriedly got off this crowded tourist trap. 
We then enjoyed several hours of baking in the sun, swimming and snorkeling. 
When we were ready to head back to the main town on the island, we realized that we were once again going to have to get on another safari taxi.  We sat outside next to the road, waiting for a taxi to come our way.  After several minutes of waiting without much luck, a friendly, older woman, pulled over in her rugged pickup truck to see where we were headed.  My boyfriend told her we were headed to town and she gestured for us to hop in the back of her truck for a ride. 

Now, I’m not going to try to fool you into thinking that I’m some beatnik, but this woman looked like the type of free-lovin', kind person that had likely been driving the same pickup truck back when she attended Woodstock in ‘69.  And, when faced with having to load onto another tourist crammed safari taxi, or riding in the back of a pickup truck next to this woman’s garbage…I chose the latter.  So, feeling like a dirty hippy, I jumped into the back of the truck and we took off on our way to town.  With the wind in my hair and a view of the islands surrounding me, I couldn’t help but realize how free I felt.           

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