Late Night Taxi Ride
It's 3 a.m. and I'm in the back seat of a taxi, cruising around Honolulu. Late at night the city looks very different than it does during the day -- mysterious and fantastic, like old Singapore or Shanghai in a Maugham short story. It's spookily quiet with almost no traffic. I like it.
The driver always asks "Where to?" and I always answer "Just drive toward the beach."
I do this occasionally if I can't sleep and there's nothing worth watching on cable TV. Public buses run this late, but a taxi ride is much cozier. Just me and the driver. I feel like a Roman senator in a chauffeured chariot.
Tonight the Simon and Garfunkel song "Mrs. Robinson" is playing on a radio station. The driver sings along, knowing every word of the lyrics. This surprises me because he looks suspiciously like a Republican, even though he is a working man: close-cropped hair, clean-shaven, neat clothes.
I wonder if he realizes how revolutionary that song was when it first came out in 1967 with the movie The Graduate. Probably not since he looks like he hadn't been born yet. I've got one word for him -- plastics.
Sometimes I stop at Honolulu Yacht Basin and watch the boats bob around in the water. I'm no sailor -- I can get sea sick in a boat tied to a dock -- but they're fun to look at for awhile. I try to imagine what is going on below deck if a yacht is all lit up. Floating debauchery. Scotch whisky, cocaine and depraved sex. Who knows what the rich and jaded do to spice up their desperate lives in the bowels of an expensive yacht?
This late night cruise in a taxi is one of the perks of early retirement. Freedom from work while I can still enjoy life, before they plant me in the ground for the long dirt nap. I can sleep all day if I like (tee-hee.)
When I return to my apartment, Lord Love A Duck is on Turner Classic Movies. A bizarre 60s comedy with gorgeous Tuesday Weld. She had turned down the lead role in Lolita, explaining: "Hell, I was Lolita."
Everything leads back to the 60s tonight. It was the best of times and the worst of times. Eat your heart out, Charles Dickens.
"The earth was made round so we can't see too far down the road and know what is coming." -- Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa