wine by the color

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

(Ed. Note – I flew into Dallas yesterday, which brought back memories of my first visit to the city, circa 2000. On that trip, I took a taxi from DFW to my hotel. That experience led to this classic from the Jersey Girl Archives. Back to live coverage tomorrow.)

Dallas, Texas - I step off the plane at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and hail a cab to get to the Mansion on Turtle Creek, site of my meeting.

Within moments of entering Ed Smith's taxi, I realize I have made a horrible error. Before he gets the car out of park, he asks if I am in town as part of the contingent scouting Dallas as a possible Summer Olympics site for 2012. He indicates the cab drivers have been told to expect 'a lot of pretty blondes,' so he has assumed I am part of this crowd. I assure him I am not. He says that in Texas, they're used to pretty blondes - they all grow up expecting to marry one. He did and they have a pretty blond daughter. I can tell you she's pretty because he yanks out his wallet and flips through miscellaneous paper and cards to find her picture, all the while maneuvering his car around a circular exit ramp out of the airport. Unfortunately, he will not be able to attend her high school graduation (she went to the same high school as Tameka Catchings of Tennessee women's hoops fame ... they were 40-0 her senior year) because he's going out of the country to get married. He does plan to sneak over to his ex-wife's (“I didn't want to divorce her, but she told me that if I didn't give her a divorce she'd kill the baby, and she had already tried to kill herself once while we were married, so what could I do,” he tells me. “Her daddy said she was crazy and she'd regret divorcing him, but she did so anyway.” He waited nine years for his ex-wife to change her mind, and has apparently given up on her) house to sneak a note into his daughter's car (“I saved and saved and I bought her a brand new Thunderbird, dealer-tinted windows [Ed. note - the list of options went on for five minutes, I can't possibly remember them all] and I pay $502 a month for that car.”) He has the spare key, so he plans to sneak a note into her trunk to tell her why he's missing graduation. She's a very good student, of course, only one B in her first nine years of school. She does not play basketball but was a manager for the girls' volleyball team. She will be going to college, which he expects will run him at least 14 grand a year.

At this point, I ask him one of the only two questions I can sneak in during the ride, "Where are you getting married?" Well. It seems that Ed is in love with this Vietnamese woman. She's wonderful. The first time he met her, he fell in love. However, she's hesitant to marry him, she's been alone for 47 years and isn't apparently very hip to changing her life at this point. (Ed note - I believe this woman just doesn't want THIS CRAZY WHITE MAN IN HER HOUSE). But, the family needs a favor and this could work out nicely Ed is flying to Vietnam in two weeks to marry her sister, so she can get into the country with her 22-year-old son, who has been raised to respect his elders. Then he plans to live with the sister for a while until the INS is satisfied, then he plans to marry his love. Ed is very busy learning to speak her native language, which he is doing by listening to Vietnamese music in ... his cab. So we listened to that, and he sang and made wide, sweeping gestures along with the music. He did me a great service by not only singing in Vietnamese, but then providing the translation into English.

At this point, I know a subject change is in order. Thankfully, as we approach the downtown area, I see something of note on the highway and throw out question #2 ..."Is that a new arena?" Why, yes it is. For the potential 2012 Olympics. To impress the people coming to scout the city. And then the Stars and Mavericks will play there. This turns into a listing of Ed's favorite sports teams...the Lakers, the Yankees, the Stars and of course, the Cowboys. Ed goes ON AND ON about how good the Cowboys are going to be this year. He tells me...”I'm a preacher and I can't bet, but I tell everyone I meet to bet on the Cowboys this year...they'll lose two games at most and go 16-2.” I interject here and indicate that they can only go 14 and 2 since they only play 16 regular season games but Ed is rolling and no blonde Northern girl is going to stop him now. He then tells me that the reason the 'Boys (who I simply abhor, which I want to share with him more and more with every word he speaks) will be so good is because they've got a lot of new talent, including Joey Galloway (a scumbag I covered in college) and ... Dimitrius Underwood. Now, according to Ed, Dimitrius did have a few problems and mentioned something about a hostage situation (something I wouldn't be surprised to learn Ed has been involved in during his past) but ASSURES me that the young man is now on medication and he has really got it together. Ed says that Troy Aikman is looking better than ever, been working out all winter, and what other quarterback does that (I indicate that I actually believe Tim Couch has been doing so but Ed does not care to hear about the Browns), blah, blah, blah...

Just as he's droning on about this team (did I mention that at the start of the ride he also asked if I was in town for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader tryouts? He did. I should have gotten out then) we are stopped at a traffic light. Every time someone would let him change lanes, or he stopped next to someone at a light, he would give them a big thumbs-up sign. He did so again here, and I figure, that's it. This man is truly certifiable. Just as I'm deciding on how to make an escape, we turn the corner and reach our destination. I’ll admit, I was a little shaken by this crazy little man, and annoyed with myself because I didn't rip the Cowboys like I wanted to. I give him $34 dollars, pray I haven't left anything in the back of the cab, and go running into the hotel.

(Ed. Note – I don’t know that I’ve been in a taxi, outside of NYC, since this adventure. Ed Smith truly scarred me.)


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