|photo by Ad Meskens|
He's not always reliable. Sometimes (as in waking life) he may not speak much English, and may spend much of the ride talking on his radio in a language unknown to me.
I met an interesting taxi driver just now. In my dream, I was trying to get back to my hotel from the airport because I remembered I had left clothes in the closet (blazer, trench coat) and had time to pick them up before my flight left. On the street, in a cold, northern American city, I realized I had no idea how to get to the hotel. I flagged a yellow cab and asked the driver for directions to the Brickman Hotel.
The driver was very friendly, but instead of responding directly, he started telling me a series of fantastic tales. He was a terrific storyteller, but I became increasingly frustrated that he wasn't giving me the simple directions I wanted. I missed a signal that we weren't in any regular situation: the cab driver was now riding with me, in my rental car (though I had returned this in an earlier scene). I became so annoyed with the talkative taxi driver that I left him at the side of the road on a quiet stretch of highway, missing the end of his last story, even though I noticed that it was well-turned, even of literary quality.
Waking, I notice not only that I missed one of those clues that can trigger lucidity (the switch when the taxi driver became the passenger) but that the part of me at the wheel may have missed something much more interesting. In his determination to follow a set itinerary, he missed the stories.
I wonder whether I can talk to that storytelling taxi driver again, maybe by setting my intention to return to the dream city (whose name may be Koenig) and picking him up from the side of the road where I left him, and making it up to him for my impatience. Or maybe, better, still, I'll just sit down and write more stories, and let the part of me that is the King City storyteller join in.
An older story, involving a more sinister kind of taxi driver, stirs from memory. In a dream from two decades ago, I found myself in the back of a yellow cab, being driven at crazy speed through broken streets. When I leaned forward to tell the driver to slow down, I noticed that he was a dead man yoked to the wheel by a rope. When the cab jolted to a stop, a recorded voice announced, New York style, "This is not a dream. You are in the Underworld." Hard to miss that kind of clue that you're not in ordinary reality any more. Now fully lucid, I entered a series of wild adventures in certain regions of the Underworld, but that is a story I'll tell somewhere else.