I would, if possible, give my cab driver from this morning a permanent high-paying position as my personal drvier. It’s the day before Christmas, and LAX is completely snarled, the line of cars extending far oout into civilian space, like I’ve never seen. People are getting anxious, people are getting mad, people are gettng out and walking. Glancing over his shoulder the cabbie says in accented English, “Mind if I try something?” “Go for it,” I reply.

In a few quick maneuvers, we’ve somehow squeezed teh yellow cab through a dozen of the ubiquitous SUV’s and are in clear road again. The car heads down a side street that appears to go to the airport mechanics’s parking lot, but instead ends up right in front of the checkpoint in under 5 turns. “Nice!” I exclaim. “Much faster, yes?” is his answer.

Excited now, conspiratory, brotherly, he suggests taking me down to Arrivals instead. Glancing at the endless sea of brake lights snaking into Arrivals, I quickly agree. There are red curves everywhere in Arrivals, and security guards waving all cars off of the inner curbs. The driver looks at me in the rearview mirror and bites his lip in a concerned expression. “Go for it,” I say to his look, and he quickly stops the car and pops the trunk from the inside. Throwing him the fare and a huge tip, I’m thinking, “Merry Christmas, brother, friend, saviour, compatriot”

And that’s the story of getting to the airport in 15 minutes instead of 60.

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