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“Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves." -- Marlene Dietrich

So long, Blogger, and thanks for all the fish

Monday, March 05, 2007
“But now we must pick up every piece
Of the life we used to love,
Just to keep ourselves,
At least, enough to carry on.”

-- Neutral Milk Hotel, “Holland, 1945”

The above lyrics might sound a bit too dramatic for some random blogger’s move from Blogger to Wordpress, but I love the song and have been looking for a reason to quote it.

In any case, I am moving to Arjewtino.com. Please update your bookmarks, links, and feeds. I will no longer be posting here.



Robert DeNiro wouldn’t have tried to screw me

Thursday, March 01, 2007
I took a taxi cab home last night from Adams Morgan. I live in Takoma Park and asked the cabbie to drop me off at the Takoma Metro, located in DC just a few yards shy of the Maryland border. I knew the fare would be problematic after the cabbie, immediately after picking me up, told me I would save time if I took the Metro home.

Yeah, right, that makes sense.

Sure enough, the following conversation took place when we arrived at the Takoma Metro.

Cabbie: That’ll be $13.

Arjewtino: There’s no way that’s $13, I’ve taken a taxi here before and it was $8 or $9.

Cabbie: No, $13. I drove you to Maryland. This is Maryland.

Arjewtino: Where we’re at right now? This is DC.

Cabbie: No, this is Maryland, the border’s Eastern Ave.

Arjewtino: Eastern Ave is further north and the border starts at the church up the street. This is DC.

Cabbie: No, Maryland.

Arjewtino: Trust me, I live here, I know where Maryland is.

Cabbie: I drive you three zones, look at the map.

He took out a map that looked more complicated than a control tower approach diagram.

Arjewtino: How is anyone supposed to make sense of the zone map? No one knows what this means. Besides, looks to me like that’s two zones.

Cabbie: $13.

Arjewtino: You’re just pissed that I asked you to drive me to the Takoma Metro.

Cabbie: Ok, ok, $11.

Arjewtino: All right, I’ll give you $11 and walk into the 7-11 here and ask them if we’re in Maryland or DC. If he says Maryland, I’ll give you a tip.


I walked into 7-11 and asked the employee if we were standing in a state or a non-voting rights District. He handed me an old receipt with the store’s address. Triumphantly, I walked out with the evidence to find the cabbie had driven away.

So how is anyone supposed to know where the zones start and end? Are we supposed to carry map printouts whenever we need a cab to take us across state line? Should I store the local taxi commission’s phone number in my cell for moments like this? What is one to do other than bitch about it on one’s blog?

Like most of life’s problems, this one was solved by the Internets.

According to this handy zone map, the drive from Adams Morgan to Takoma Metro crosses TWO zones, a fare of $8.80. Not finished there, I searched the DC city site and found a taxi fare calculator. It’s not working today (it’s more of an online abacus) so I can’t show you the calculation, but when I did it last night it determined that my fare should have cost $11.40.

No wonder taxi customers get confused.

I’m not going to go into how meters are better or that the zones are outdated because that’s up to a citizen’s panel to work out with the city. But I will suggest that the next time you go out and plan on taking a taxi home, you might want to take some documentation with you.

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