I got into the taxi to Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight” and said “classic” to the Italian to which he jacked up the sound and off we went into traffic! By the time we reached “Cocaine,” the driver was so jonsed that we were both howling the chorus line “She don’t lie; she don’t lie; she don’t lie; cocaine” and that is when I met a traveler’s worst nightmare – traffic gridlock and under 2 hrs to get on an international flight.
The Italian’s character took over as he tried to penetrate all exits to the airport while gesturing F-You to the fly-like vespas and 4 feet long boxed cars that were trying to cut us off. By now, Clapton’s “Cream” has already turned and we were back to “Wonderful Tonight.” I asked if I should take the train or bus to the airport. The Italian looked at me as if to remind me that I was really out of my element as the clueless visitor to Rome. So, I sat deeply back into the passenger’s seat with a set of knuckles in my mouth and another set turning white on that measly car handle.
Then after a series of “mamma mia,” the Italian sprung into action and drove right past the gentile guard waving in visitors into the Vatican City. This triggered a police chase. By now, I was certain the Italian character would land my character in jail. I pulled out all the business cards that I had collected and thought “oh shit!” I did not have a single card from a criminal lawyer. They were all intellectual property lawyers!
Then a miracle happened. The police car went into a different direction which prompted the Italian to stop the taxi, get out and make several cross signs in piety. No doubt, God, came in the form of an Italian character who jumped back into the taxi in good timing to “Cocaine.”
We finally made it to the airport with 50 minutes left to get on an international flight. I gave the tattooed long necked Italian taxi driver all the euros I had as he said “arrivederci, Miss” with a look of approval at what I took to be his admiration for my sense of adventure. In that brief glance, I knew that he knew that he had become a character. I shot towards the airport entrance and the tattooed long necked Italian taxi driver shot towards the airport exit.