At some point in time most of us have taken a ride in a taxicab. I’ve ridden in them periodically, with my last time being in a Prius in Chicago early last year.
Coincidentally, it was in Chicago I took my very first cab ride in the early 1980s. It was in a yellow Chevrolet Impala of this vintage; these were simply everywhere at the time. Thankfully the drivers I experienced were all good as they didn’t pull any shenanigans to make me remember them for all the wrong reasons.
Such cannot be said for a trip to Washington D.C. in the summer of 1989. With my parents and sister in the backseat, I was riding shotgun in the 1976 or 1977 Aspen wagon that was plying the streets of my nation’s capital.
We were staying at the L’enfant Plaza Hotel. The driver – who could barely see over the dashboard – was in the right lane of a nearby tunnel, the lane was about to terminate, and there was line of cars to our left, lead by a UPS truck. The driver tackled the throttle, giving us a spine tingling stereophonic concert of mechanical sounds only a Chrysler 318 can make, making the seams in the tiles along the walls become indistinguishable. My father later told me we had topped 100 mph in that tunnel to pass the lumbering UPS truck.
The driver had room to spare before the lane ended. Being sixteen at the time, I thought this ride was smoking hot groovy cool. If it happened now with my family I would strangle the driver.
Without a doubt my journey in that clapped out Aspen has been my most memorable taxi ride. What was yours? And what was the car?