My first experience with a gypsy cab was with my friend Angelique. She seems mad for a gypsy cab. We had at one time decided that gypsy cabs are not the answer, after repeated bad experiences with them. What is a gypsy cab, you ask? Gypsy cabs are found outside of national super-centers, and can be had for a fraction of the cost of a typical taxi in the city. The problem is that in taking such-said-cab, you are accepting a ride with a stranger...something that we are warned against in childhood. It has been in my experience that childhood warnings are typically given in the good sense of a parent who knows better. That being said, I have found myself in no less than three gypsy cabs.
The first time, I was fresh in the City of New Orleans. I needed to set up housekeeping and what better a place to start than (dare I speak it's name?) Wal-Mart. Angelique and I set out on a trip to Wally World via United Cab. I believe that $17 was the rate we were charged for the fare. Our shopping was done and we needed a ride back to our respective nieghborhoods. An old man approached us on our way out saying "Y'all could use a ride?" This was completely against anything that I would have considered, but Angelique assured me that it would be OK. "If anything goes down, we can take this old guy, right?" she said. In the spirit of adventure and New Orleans experience, I accepted. I will say that the gentleman's SUV was clean and comfortable. After Angie requested that the old man extinguish his smoking materials,(I recall it being a cigarillo) we were on our way. We arrived home safely to the tune of $12.
The next time a gypsy cab was taken, however, is a much different story. Again we were approached leaving the Wally-World, once more by a seemingly frail old fellow. This being the only qualification so far, we accept the lift. This time, the vehicle was seriously in question. We were escorted to a battered work truck complete with a lawn-mower, a weed-whacker and various tools in the bed of said truck. After our parcels were loaded into the bed, the front seat was lifted to expose a pile of soiled towels, to which Angelique responded, "This really isn't a seat." To which our driver responded, "Sure it is!" We exited the parking lot, and were on our way! This man drove down North Rampart at about 60. Needless to say, the driving quality of North Rampart leaves alot to be desired. On our journey, I hear Angelique exclaim, "Oh Fuck!!! There goes your toilet paper!" This being a 6-roll pack, I interjected my displeasure of having my Quilted Northern bounced out onto the street. The driver graciously made a turnabout, parked and reclaimed my toilet tissue. At this point Angelique said, "Never again." We were deposited home safely and later told the story to the great amusement of our friends.
Some people never learn...
About two months ago, we found ourselves in the same situation, which is, in fact, a way to save about $5 from a trip to WalMart. This time Angelique had a checklist:
Is your vehicle clean?
Is it used for your real job?
Is there room for all of our stuff?
How much? $20? No, I say $15. Ok.
We disembark. Before ever leaving the parking lot, Angie says to me, "Brandon. Look at this!" and gestures to a box in a plain brown wrapper. I quickly see that it is a box labled "CREMATED REMAINS". We laughed it off during the ride. It was pleasant enough, Antoine was a very good driver and played great music. He even scribbled his name and number on a cocktail napkin should I ever need a ride in the future.
Everyone that I have ever told that story to has asked me:
"Who was in the box?"
I will never be able to say...we will just chalk it up to New orleans experience.