Had the traffic down Pennsylvania Avenue been lighter I would have punched the cab driver in the mouth.
I was in D.C. last week on business and decided to head to Georgetown for a bite to eat. Generally it's easy to head places when you're on the East Coast. Unlike the West Coast, where mass transportation consists of diamond lanes and trolleys, the East Coast knows how to move people from Point A to Point B.
But it was raining when I popped out of the Metro tunnel, so I hailed a cab.
"Where are you heading?" the cab driver said in broken English.
"To Georgetown," I said. "I'm looking for some good food and good beer."
"Bedy good," said the cab driver, raising his meter flag and zooming off down the avenue.
"What you tink about all dis politics stuff?" the cab driver wondered. After all, we were driving smack through the soul of this great nation and without a president-elect nearly a month and counting.
"I don't know, what do you think?" I responded, trying to get a local's perspective on "tings."
"I tink it is all bedy funny," said the cab driver, chuckling in his rear-view mirror. "You don't have president and da one you hab is habing sex wit some odder woman because his wife is not home."
"Is that what you think?" I asked the funny cab driver. "You think all of this is very funny?"
"Oh, yes," he laughed. "It is bedy, bedy funny to me."
"Well," I said, wondering if it was just my empty stomach or jet lag that was getting me worked up. "May I ask where you are from?"
"Cairo," he said. "Dat is in Egypt."
"I know where Cairo is," I said. "It's in the desert and if you weren't here driving a cab you'd be there riding a camel."
"A camel?" he cried. "Oh, you are bedy funny man. I be driving camel. Now dat is bedy funny."
"No," I seethed. "That's not funny. But I'll tell you what is." I was beginning to feel my patriotic oats and I knew there were other cabs where this one came from. "I'll tell you what is funny," I continued. "Funny is you driving this cab past the White House while ripping our political process and our president. Now that is funny."
"You tink dis president isn't funny?" the former Cairo resident wondered. "You tink all dis stuff in Florida is not funny?"
"Not at all," I replied. "I'm not laughing. Do you hear me laughing? To be honest with you I tink it is downright disgusting. I also tink you ought to shut up and drive before I remind you of a few funny tings about Egypt."
"Oooh," the Egyptian moaned. "You do not sound bedy happy. No. Not at all. But I would like to know what you tink is so funny about Egypt."
"You really want me to go there?" I asked, hoping we'd hit Georgetown before it got to knives and swords.
"Yes," he replied. "Tell me someting dat is more funny den your politics."
"Cairo cab drivers," I replied. "The cabs don't have meters and the drivers are bandits." I had never been to Cairo, but I'd heard about the cab drivers there.
"Dat not true!" Mister bad-mouth-America Cairo shouted.
"OK," I continued. "How about the mummy tummy? Are you going to sit there and tell me you don't get diarrhea 10 minutes after stepping foot in Cairo?"
By this time the cab driver was no longer laughing at our politics. In fact, he was looking for a place to pull over so he could either throw me out or cut my throat.
"Dis as far as I go," he stammered. "You owe me $10.42."
"Here," I said, handing him a 10 and a five. "Keep the change and start a fund for your trip back to Cairo. I heard they cut your legs off there for wearing shorts."
He sped off before I could tell him my Saddat joke, so I headed for the nearest tavern.
"What do you tink about all dis politics stuff?" the bartender from who knows where wanted to know.
"Notting," I said. "I don't tink notting."
Jeff Ackerman is publisher and editor of the Nevada Appeal.