Fist-clinched, arms crossed, and flat out ready to fight. That’s how one would describe my body language as I sat fuming in the back seat of my Orlando taxicab. At first glance one would think that someone talk bad about my momma. If you would’ve caught me 20 minutes earlier the scene couldn’t have been any more different.
There I was, joyously dishing out hugs, putting the finishing touches on what was an loving 4-day vacation with the family; appropriately ending with a seat-rocking, hand-waving, gospel extravaganza– little did I know how soon my faith would be tested.
It all started in the hotel lobby, with me looking for a ride to the airport. I inquired with a bellhop about the shuttle service and he informed me that I narrowly missed the cut off. He told me to visit the concierge’s desk to call for transportation. Developing a mild sense of irritation, but still riding the great vacation vibes, I obliged the help and made a quick pit-stop to the ATM to take out 40 bucks. I knew it was $40 because I had taken this trek a few times before and was aware of the price. When arriving at the desk I asked the concierge dude if he could summon me a cab. Rather courteously he accommodated the request and told me the cab should be in the lobby in about 5 minutes. The man was rather nice, and it was Sunday, so I engaged the man, exchanging sports banter and a few laughs.
Everything was running smoothly but for some odd reason I felt the need to ask how much the cab was. I knew it was around 45 bucks, which I thought was a little steep for 16 miles, but hey this is America. So in the middle of a laughing exchange I asked approximately how much the cab was going to run me. His response instantaneously soiled the moment and soured all the good vibrations.
To better illustrate my tone toward this young man think back to when you were a child for a moment. Remember when your favorite auntie or uncle was over, and your mother let you stay up past your bedtime to continue the goodtime, but in a temporary moment of insanity you spoke out of turn and your mother gave you this “I’m about to knock your teeth out” look?—Poor concierge.
The playful, perhaps even familiar rapport that I quickly built with the man was all but lost; in fact I was looking at this man like I’d never seen him before in my life. He was once the cool concierge, now he came off as a goofy hotel worker. “Uhhhh come again?” I responded in my mother’s serious voice. Noticing the swift mood change he sheepishly responded “65 dollars”.
In that moment everything slowed down, and a recognizable chill came over my body. The chill was familiar to me, so much so that I came up with a name for—I appropriately named this experience the “Money Chill”. You see the money chill comes over me whenever I’m in irrationally expensive situations and the odds are stacked up against me. You know the feeling. Standing in line at the club only to find out its $100 to get in? Money chill. Sitting down at a restaurant recommended to you by your date and realizing everything is “market” price? (meaning nothing on the menu is under $75) Money chill. And lastly, having absolutely no where to park your car except the $50 lot that sits directly next to your destination? Money chill.
So I took a step back and took a long look at the man, then looked at my watch. Understanding that I was short on time I began to come to grips with the fact that I was going to have to come up out my pockets. My cab pulled up in the midst of my money chill. I rudely walked away from the concierge without saying goodbye. As the driver hopped out and attempted to take my roll-away I defensively pulled the piece of luggage close to me and sternly responded “I got it”. With the big vein pounding out of my forehead, I angrily popped the car door, took a seat, and began to reflect.