Not so long ago, I, my wife and my mother-in-law went to a restaurant in the center of Wroclaw, Poland. We ate at an Indian restaurant where the dishes are bland enough to satisfy the German tourists, but which nevertheless, my wife believes is a good restaurant. I find this puzzling, because both my wife and I are big fans of flavor.
We ate our meals. I drank two beers to counteract my disappointment. We left the restaurant. Outside was a taxi rank and three taxis sat idle. My mother-in-law had walked too much that day, so she wanted to take a taxi home. I too wanted to take a taxi – I would not survive the twenty minute walk to the apartment without needing to pee. We approached the first taxi and asked the driver to take us to—
“I’m on a break. Try the taxi behind.”
We tried the taxi behind.
The driver looked at me and my wife and my mother-in-law. “Where are you going?”
We stated our address.
“No,” he said and rolled up the window.
We tried the third and last taxi.
“Sure, get in.”
We wanted to ask the driver why the other taxi drivers had been rude, but he was so happy to have customers who were not horny that he volunteered everything we wanted to know and more besides.
“You see that night club over there?”
We looked over there. There was a night club.
“Well, it’s not a night club but a strip club.”
We looked again. On second glance, it looked more like a strip club than a night club.
“The taxi companies have a deal with the strip club. You see, a lot of young men go there to see the women strip, and they get turned on, but the strip club has a ‘no touching’ policy.”
We nodded. We had all seen the movies where a customer’s busy hands land him in trouble with the establishment.
“So, the men get horny but they can’t do anything, and they come out here and the taxis then take them to a brothel.”
“Okay, but can’t they take people to other places too?”
“The night club always wants there to be a taxi available for them. Think about it. If you’re horny, everything is much more urgent. You need to get some release fast. If there’s no taxi, they might go somewhere else.”
We thought about it. He was right. I felt the seat belt press on my bladder and thought about getting some release.
“Also,” he said, “the taxis charge a premium for the brothels, so they only want those customers.”
I began to wonder if the driver was taking us to a brothel.
“The whole thing disgusts me,” he said. “So I take regular customers too.”
Traveling along the bumpy, city streets, the driver elaborated on all the things that disgust and disappoint him, which included the way the driver in front was driving, the weather for this time of year, the disrespect pedestrians show to drivers and the disrespect drivers show to pedestrians. Nothing was what it used to be and everything was getting worse. Trying to ignore the imminent crisis in my bladder, I drifted into my own thoughts and recalled the second taxi driver.
I was puzzled by how he had looked at each of us in turn and then asked us where we wanted to go. Did he think that a young man with a young woman and her mother would wish to visit a brothel? Had he seen this trio before and been himself surprised by their carnal desires? What could the carnal desires of such a combination be? I wanted to go back and ask him, but our taxi had transported us home under a barrage of disappointed nostalgia, and I felt sad, and I needed to pee. My bladder is not what it used to be.