Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A taxi driver dictates

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman is legendary for his ability to deduce all important facts about a country from the taxi-ride from the airport to his luxury hotel in whatever city he is in. But of course for that time-honoured pundit trick to work, you have to be able to get a taxi. This would be the only logical explanation of Friedman's otherwise bizarre first-person anecdote of being in London on the day of the Haymarket attempted bomb (subs. req'd) --

I knew something was up when I couldn't get a cab. There were sirens and helicopters whirring overhead. I stopped a passerby to ask what was going on. He said something about a car bomb outside a disco six blocks from my hotel. A few hours later, I finally found a taxi. The driver warned me that it was nearly impossible to get across town.

So in a city with slow -- and expensive -- surface transport at the best of times, he waited hours for a taxi, even though it wasn't clear it would be able to take him anywhere? Unless the journey was the destination with a column deadline rapidly approaching.

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