What $20 will get you

The first day of the conference was good, but I did a bunch of running around and interviewing, punctuated by a long lunch with a client who revealed that his first marriage ended because his wife was making it with the landscaper. He is not very happy that his second wife enjoys Desperate Housewives so much.

Unfortunately, that lunch ran over into an interview, so I had to reschedule. My subject was only free at 5pm, after the conference ended. We talked till about 5:45, and I headed out from there.

The taxi line was approximately 2 miles long. I took one look at the massive queue and said, “Screw this! I’m goin’ home!”

Unfortunately, the McCormick convention center is pretty remote, so this was not going to be achieved on foot, especially after a full day on a convention center floor.

So I started walking over to the hotel connected to the center. Unfortunately, plenty of people got that idea and were already on line for cabs.

I couldn’t find a shuttle bus, and thought I could be risking things by sneaking onto the bus for the Sanofi reception; after all, that event could’ve been located even further from my hotel. I kept walking.

Then I saw a trolley-bus. The driver was standing outside it, leaning against the door. Three guys in good suits were walking by it. One said, “How much to get us uptown?” His buddies laughed and they walked on.

I said, “I’ll give you twenty dollars right now to get me to the Embassy Suites.”

He said, “Okay!” and jumped into the bus. I ran on and shouted to the three guys to follow me. They did. The trolley took off and started maneuvering through the traffic.

At one point, the driver said, “I hope I don’t get in trouble for this.”

One of the suits (they were all business development/arbitrage guys for biotechs) said, “Don’t you remember? The cops told you to move your bus, because of the safety issues with the protesters! You had to get going, and now you’re stuck in traffic!”

“Man, you guys are smart!” he told us.

Twenty bucks later (about $5-8 more than a cab ride), I was home.

Here’s a pic of the convention center:

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