On Friday night, we decided to go out. We called a cab and told the driver to take us to Oblivion, a wine bar that the volunteers frequent. Everything started out fine, until we realized that it was taking much too long and that we were driving around in circles. We were a little nervous, because we were driving down narrow streets in pitch dark in an area we didn’t know. Katie, who is good at directions, tried to help the cabbie from the backseat. Leslie was getting a little agitated, and suggested that the driver call base and ask for directions. Thirty rand later, he acquiesced. He got the address from dispatch, but evidently still did not know how to get to that particular street. Instead of risking looking stupid by calling back, he chose to waste more of our time and money, and was getting frustrated. He slowed down and started following a teenage girl, who was walking on the sidewalk, and yelled at her for directions. She did what any smart girl would do: shrugged, picked up the pace and ignored him. "Your mother's a puss!" he shouted at her angrily. Things were getting tense, and Leslie would. not. shut. up. She was spewing contempt, and getting hysterical about our rapidly increasing fare. Katie and I kept shooting each other looks, wide-eyed. I was saying stupid shit like, "It's probably right up here," in an attempt to de-escalate the situation so we wouldn't end up on Dateline. Eventually, the crazy cabbie actually hit another car. Not hard - it was more like a scrape - but he just kept going. He drove to a little store, put the car in park and hopped out to go in and ask for directions. In doing this, he committed a cardinal sin. He left three females sitting in an unlocked, running car with an open door, in South Africa. He was probably praying that someone would jack it and put him out of his misery.
By some miracle, we eventually got to Oblivion. Thanks to Leslie, I am pretty sure that we only paid half the amount that was displayed on the meter. We ended up meeting a couple of guys that night, one of which was the son of a reverend. Leslie made out with him, and for the next few weeks we would frequently burst into, “The only one who could ever reach me, was the son of a preacher man!” Katie got a little drunk and grilled the other guy on race relations, which was pretty entertaining.
The next night, following an afternoon of watching rugby, the three of us hit the town again. We ended up at the Dubliner, and within minutes, Leslie found a couple guys to make conversation with. We got a table with them, and shortly thereafter she disappeared for a few hours. Katie and I got drunk, but I got a little crazy. I danced with the cute guy that we were talking to, which turned into me making an Annie sandwich between him, a slice of white, and some other guy, a slice of rye. This made Ralph, the white South African guy, pretty uncomfortable. Ha! Those white South African boys need to loosen up! Later, I decided that the waiters at the Dubliner were cute and put my hand in Fifi’s pocket. To this day, I swear I was just looking for gum. He told me his name was Mike, so at the end of the night when I went to find him, I asked the other waiters where Mike was. They called over a bartender that I hadn’t seen before, and he smiled a gorgeous smile at me. I was not having it. “That is not him,” I said, shaking my head. “He had braids…” I started trying to describe Fifi to them. Mike took his hat off to reveal his braids. Finally, no thanks to my brilliant description, they figured it out. Mike took me back to the poker room, which consists of a continuous velvet booth around all three walls (one of which is adorned with a painting of the American Revolution for some reason that I will never understand), surrounding a poker table. A curtain can be pulled for privacy, and, unbeknownst to me then, I would end up spending quite a bit of time in this place later, and would bestow upon it the nickname of “the boom-boom room.” When it was time to go home, I backed my ass up on another dude outside when a song came on that I liked. I ended up embracing him while we verbalized our attraction to each other’s contrasting features, and I kissed him while Leslie and her new friend, Tom, watched in amusement. I think that was the night I got friendly with our cabbie, too.