You’ll hear tales of this for years to come. Here’s the scoop straight from Josh’s (Searles) mouth:
Chapter 1 – The beginning
It’s Sunday afternoon, somewhere around the 4 or 5 hour. Myself, Henry, Paul, Rich, and Mott met in the lobby of the hotel, so we could ride to a Mexican joint for lunch. The door man at the hotel informed us that it was against the law for 5 people to ride together in a 4 passenger cab, so it was tough to find a cab to take us to the old town Mexican restaurant. Henry sat in the front, and from left to right in the rear, it was Paul, Me, Rich, and Mott. The cab ride there was uneventful, (other than my bony a$$ sitting on Paul’s right thigh) we ate, downed 2 pitchers of margarita’s, and realized that we no longer had a nice hotel doorman to find us a cabbie that was willing to break the law so that we could all ride together.
Chapter 2 – Hailing a cab
Somehow Paul was designated the official cab hailer, (he’s easier to spot with the big head). The first cab to pull over and offer us a lift was a smaller cab than the one that brought us here. Paul approached the driver’s side window, and informed the cabbie that there were 5 of us, the cabbie took one look at his potential cargo, and said no way. The second cab hailing was much like the first however this one left some rubber in the road when he saw the rag tag group of 5 that wanted a ride in his cab. After about 6 different cab drivers telling us that there was no way they could take all 5 of us, Paul made a phone call to a cab company, and asked them to send a cab that would haul 5 people…
Chapter 3 – The arrival
Standing on the sidewalk admiring all of the “scenery”, we waited patiently for the new cab to arrive. Soon an eager young man pulled up and after a little confusion, we determined that this was in fact the cab that Paul had called for. None of us are sure exactly what the cab drivers real name was (I think he’s related to Sean, or is possibly a follower), so henceforth, he will be known as Mario. We all piled into the caprice like taxi. We had the same seating arrangements as the arrival however for some reason, we couldn’t get the right rear door shut. It had something to do with Mike’s right butt cheek actually hanging out the door. After coaxing a passer by on the street to help us out, and convincing them that no one in the back seat would get hurt if he just slammed the door shut, he gave in, and our fate was sealed…
Chapter 4 – The insult
We were no more than 5 blocks from the restaurant where the evening’s bounty was consumed, when Henry leaned over and asked the cab driver, and I quote: “It stinks in here. What’s that smell?” With the silence in the cab that followed, we were all sure that Mario was offended. It was at least 2 minutes before anyone asked him if he was okay, and that Henry meant no offense, and we were sorry if he was offended. Mario took it in stride and let us know that if he was offended he would have told us. As we merged onto I-5 we told him that he was welcome to kick Henry out of the cab if he wanted (it would have made more room), at which point Henry opened his door and acted like he was going to jump out. We all laughed, and the conversation seemed to turn much more jovial, and the mood in the cab lightened. Mario was starting to like us. Then it happened….
Chapter 5 – 7 Red lights
For those of you who don’t know the layout of the San Diego Convention Center, there are 2 sets of Train/Trolly tracks that run parallel to the street that the convention center and hotel are on. We were two blocks away from the convention center, and one block away from crossing the railroad tracks, when the lights on the railroad crossing arms started to flash. Now, I’ve always been taught that the flashing red lights on the crossing arms were to warn you that there was a train coming. I learned this fateful Sunday however, that those flashing red lights are actually a warning that if you are riding in a cab, your cab driver is about to pass out toilet paper, so that you can clean yourself up after he’s done “outmaneuvering” the train. In the flash of a camera, our nice happy, laughing cab driver Mario turned into Satan’s official chauffer. Without breaking, in fact he was accelerating, he took the first left before the railroad tracks, and skidded to a stop at the red light one block away. He then informed us that the train was going to take 3 minutes to pass, and he was attempting to beat it. Mott was a little concerned at the first left turn, because as you may recall, we needed an innocent bystander to force the rear right door shut. When the cabbie jerked the wheel, screeched the tires and fishtailed around the first corner, the right rear door started to creak under the stress of 4 grown men sliding into it. Mario decided early on (even before he picked us up) that he had broken the law (only supposed to be 4 of us in the cab), so he apparently didn’t care how many other laws he broke. Our first red light. We went through it, and each one of us looked like the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading squad flashed us. Our eyes were the size of golf balls. We couldn’t believe it. The light hadn’t turned green, however Mario was accelerating through it as if it had (perhaps we all developed a sudden case of color blindness). Then weaving in and out of traffic driving away from the train at this point, Mario ran 3 more red lights. It’s difficult to explain them at this point, because after the second one we were all in scared for your life laughing mode. Yes, we had the midnight giggles because we all realized what was happening, and that we had absolutely no control over the situation. The 5th red light was another left turn onto a 4 lane road, and yes there was traffic coming. I saw a ford explorer to our right, and I did close my eyes, because I thought for sure it was going to smash Henry into oblivion, it was also this point when Mott decided that he no longer trusted the door, and begged me to hang onto his hand just in case the door flew open. Take a moment here and get a good picture in your mind: 4 grown men in the back seat laughing hysterically, holding hands, and sitting on each others laps while Henry is sitting comfortably in the front seat banging on the dashboard.
Chapter 6 – Road hazards
Our 6th red light was my favorite. Were on a 4 lane road, two way street, and there are two cars ahead of us (one in each lane) waiting patiently for the red light to change. Mario however at this point had no patience. He straddled the dotted white line inching up to the bumpers of the two cars, pressed his hand to the horn on the steering wheel, and screamed at the top of his lungs “Move FU#$ERS!” At which point the nice patient people parted ways to give us just enough room. A few more twists and turns, and we came to a stop sign, which we will consider our 7th red light. This was quite possibly the most surreal moment of the whole cab ride. About 3 minutes before we got to this particular intersection, there was a sweet old man who had decided to take his dog for a walk. I’m sure if he knew what his fate was about to become, he would have decided to stay home instead, but it was just too nice a day. We rounded our last turn onto the street with the stop sign, and it was at this particular moment that the elderly man’s best friend decided that it was time for a bowl movement. Yes we were racing to a stop sign that had an old man walking his dog, who had decided to take a $h!t in the middle of the road. Mario at least had the decency to honk his horn and warn the old man that we were coming through, and that he had no intention of stopping. After we cleared the 7th red light (actually a stop-sign) the railroad tracks were once again in sight. And much to our amazement, they lights were not flashing. We had done it (or rather Mario had done it) we had survived a trip through hell driven by Satan’s personal chauffer, and beaten the 30 minute train. There was much rejoicing! Cheers could be heard throughout the back and front seat, many high fives were given, and Mario’s head was rubbed in praise.
Chapter 7 – It didn’t have to be.
Our senses heightened from the moments of sheer terror that we had just experienced, someone spotted the train that we had raced, our rival, our arch enemy, the evil villain. None of us could believe it when we saw it, that monster of a train. The mother of all trains, the bane of our existence for the last 5 minutes, the 30 minute long train that we would have still been waiting for had Mario not decided to risk all of our lives. Yes we began to count the cars on the train. The first an engine, the second another engine, the 3rd a tanker, the 4th a tanker, the 5th a tanker, the 6th …. “There’s only 5 CARS!!” It was a 3 minute train! We had risked our lives, our manlyhood on a train that was only 3 minutes long. It took us longer to drive through 7 red lights in downtown San Diego than it would have taken us to sit patiently and wait for the train to run it’s course. Once again there was much laughter in the car, Henry once again started beating on the dashboard, and the cabbie had to ask him to stop for fear of deploying the passenger airbag. Fortunately we all arrived safely at our hotel, and made sure to get Mario’s business card…..