Friday, June 20, 2008

Oh No, Not Again!

It's been a while since I posted a blog article. I'm sorry about that, but I'm so busy these days, it's hard to find the time. I want to mention something that happened the day after the events in my last post ("A Bit of Chivalry," April 30, 2008). To review, that article is about me helping a total stranger, on the way to Victoria Bus Station, in London.
On the following day, I was on my way back home, from Withernsea. It was raining and cold, so I decided to treat myself to a taxi ride home, from the Bracknell train station. When I walked out of the front of the station, all the taxis had pulled off with other passengers. There was one couple who'd missed the last taxi. For some strange reason, these two rocket scientists were standing at the end of the taxi rank, where they had just missed the last cab. They weren't moving to the front of the queue, so as to be in place when the next cab pulls up. This left me in a dilemma. Should I go stand with them, being that they were there ahead of me, or should I go stand at the front, where they should have moved?
After a brief few moments pondering this, one of life's profound questions, I decided to stand at the front, where they should have been. I figured that if they noticed me at the front, they might wake up and come there. If they did and said anything about being in queue first, I'd defer to them. On the other hand, if they were too stupid to cotton on and move to where they were supposed to be, and they didn't say anything, I'd take the first cab that comes.
Fortunately, the taxi rank is covered by the upper floors of the station building. This meant I was sheltered from the rain, while I waited. During the wait, I pondered the irony that the one time I wanted a cab, there were none there, available. That's quite unusual for Bracknell train station. There's usually plenty waiting when the trains arrive. All of the sudden, I noticed this tiny, little, old lady, who had walked up and stood to my right. The rocket scientists were still at the wrong end of the queue. This old lady had gotten in queue behind me, seeing that I was at the front. Like me, she'd left the idiots down the other end to fend for themselves. She was carrying a little bit of shopping and I started wondering if I should let her take the first cab, when it arrived. It's too bad we weren't going the same place, then we could share it and split the cost. As I stood there, my curiosity grew. Where was she headed? Was it to anywhere near my house?
Eventually, a taxi approached, returning empty from dropping of a previous customer. The old lady saw it at the same time I did. She looked up at me and said, "this is your cab."
For some unknown reason, I overcame indecision and my strong tendency not to speak to strangers. I asked her, "where are you headed to?" It turned out she was going to the same street as me. She lived about fifty houses up the road. So, I suggested that we share the cab between us.
"Are you sure?" she inquired, in response. I reassured her that I was certain. What a wonderful outcome. I was able to get her on her way, so she wouldn't have to stand there and wait longer, while at the same time, getting my own journey home for half price. The driver dropped her off first, then me. As I paid him, my sheer joy at saving half the fare was interrupted by a tiny, negative thought. This was the second time I had helped a total stranger, in two days. Was there something wrong with me? Was I ill? Had I lost my mind? If news of this gets out, what will happened to my reputation?

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