Tuesday, August 2, 2011


After leaving the convent I worked in Dayton at a publishing house. Two and a half years later, I traveled north to study at the University of Minnesota. The following spring, the vice-president of the Dayton firm came to the Twin Cities for a conference.
            He called and we agreed to meet. He’d hired me and shepherded me, a na├»ve ex-nun, through the intricacies of re-entry into what the convent had called “the world.” While doing so, he’d become a friend.  
            We met that evening in his motel room and shared a pizza. For three hours we enjoyably exchanged stories about his wife and children and about my studies. Little did I know that the evening would end with a revelation. Here’s how the scene played out.
            Around eleven pm, my former employer walks me down to the lobby and out the door to where a line of cabs waits. We say goodbye next to the closest one. The driver drums his fingers on the steering wheel, his windows open.
            My friend and I hug one another. Then he slips me $20—enough at that time for the cab and for several cafeteria meals. I thank him and get in the taxi.
            As he pulls out into traffic, the cabbie mutters, “What’d you do for that?”
            I stare at him, puzzled.
            He stops for a red light, looks back over his shoulder, and comments, “Looks like he gave you a couple of tens. Not bad for a quickie.”
            I have no idea what he’s talking about, so I say nothing.
            “Looked like one satisfied customer,” the man adds.
            The light dawns. My thoughts giggle. He thinks I’m a prostitute. This is wonderful. I’ve always admired women who do what they have to do to survive.
            On my daily walks in Dayton, I’d met a prostitute. Knowing her pragmatism and sardonic wit, I let my imagination soar and decide to take on the role he’s assigned me.
            The light turns green. As we cross the intersection, the cabbie repeats himself. “Yeah, one satisfied customer.”
            “I certainly hope so. I aim to please.”
            “You enjoy strangers?”
            “You could say that.”
            “Tell me about it.”
            “No giving away trade secrets.”
            He smoothes back his hair. “How about my getting in that back seat with you?”
            “Sorry,” I say. “My friend tired me out.”
            We’ve arrived at the Victorian house in which I rent a room. He stops, looks over his shoulder again, and says, “The fare’s $7.50, but we could work something out.” He leers knowingly.
            Opening the door, I alight from the cab. I hand him the two tens I’d been holding since we left the motel. He looks puzzled and starts to hand me back one bill.
            “No. You keep it,” I say.
            He looks up at me, clearly perplexed, seeking enlightenment.
            “Easy come. Easy go,” I murmur with just a suggestion of a smile.
            He stares at me. Slack-jawed.
            I want to sashay up the steps and toss him a kiss, but I choose not to play into his prejudgment. So I simply stride up the walk, enter the house, climb to my third-story room, and settle down to ponder.
            From this Minneapolis cabbie, I encounter a stunning truth—I can be almost anything I set my mind to. Life is replete with possibilities. We need only open our minds and hearts and spirits. In them exists the hope of discovery—about ourselves and others.


  1. Oh boy! I can just picture this scene playing out! I love the sentence, "Life is replete with possibilities." We just need to be open to them. There is always a way out, or a way through, whatever it is that we are faced with. Thank you for a fun story! You are a born story teller!

    Also, thanks so much for your encouraging comments on my posts!

  2. I don't know how I just found you, but I like it ..... I'm not seeking enlightenment, but a good meditating position would do.

  3. Great story with an interesting outcome...

  4. Thanks for another wonderful story, another example of how, in life, we are always and at once both teacher and pupil. I wonder if the cabbie learned anything? Doubtful, but we readers are reminded to keep perpetually open "our minds and hearts and spirits." For life truly is "replete with possibilities."

    Salute to discovery!

  5. OH now that was a good chuckle! Most people would have stammered and beat the man half to death. Bravo my friend! Well done. As for your advice on my blog today. I'm still debating but so far the vote seems to lean towards yes. Very nervous about this adventure I won't lie. Had never really crossed my mind. I started blogging just as a writing exercise. How fun though! I'm so glad you commented today. I have been trying to find your blog and couldn't remember the name of it.

  6. I love this! I love that you played along and didn't allow yourself to be defined by what someone else believed about you. What a fun story.

  7. What a wonderful story! I love your open mind and heart, and I love reading your words.

  8. I sooo needed to read this today. That last paragraph really spoke to me. It's been a long day already and it's only 7am here LOL! I've decided to shut down my clothing business, so I can pursue other things. Thanks for the timely post.

    Oh and it made me laugh so hard. I LOVE your spunk ;)

  9. I am probably too much of a sceptic or too cautious by nature. Although I enjoyed your story, it is not anything I would have played along with, lest the cabbie decided to push his luck further than mere suggestion. I would have smartly put him in his place right at the outset. Just shows how different we all are and how differently we view experiences.

  10. It's sobering to realize that how one is perceived often has nothing to do with who we really are... and also of the likelihood that we are probably unlikely to even know what those perceptions are. But I love the story and the way you tell it!