We enjoyed Santa Monica at night. Someday I would like to go back and spend the day there, but the night had its own romantic qualities that a sunshiney day on the beach can never hold.
We walked around downtown Santa Monica, then made our way over to the Santa Monica Pier where a one-hour play “Save the Pier” was being performed. It was a historical production of the 1972 grassroots fight to stop the demolition of the pier. Though it was a little over-acted, it was thought provoking to watch and wonder what the area would have been like had the demolition occurred.
Our cab ride home, however, was the most entertaining part of our night.
After we left the pier, we wandered to the taxi line where some cabbies were standing outside their cars and others, including the first cabby in the line, were asleep in their car.
Big Avi, as he introduced himself and as was written on his card, was the best cab driver of our entire trip. He told us when we woke him up he had been dreaming he won ten million dollars. For the entire ride we talked about and made reference to this fictional, dreamland ten million dollars. He told us that he was going to give us nine million of the winnings and only keep one million for himself, which we found quite generous.
He also didn’t start the meter right away. As we drove through the darkness of Santa Monica, he said he was giving us a discount–something he bet we hadn’t received from any other cab driver.
He was right.
At first, I wasn’t sure about him. You never know who you are encountering when you take a taxi or call for an Uber. You are at the mercy of whatever driver you get. Sometimes they are quiet and don’t want to talk at all. Sometimes they talk out of some kind of line of duty obligation. Sometimes they are simply excited for life and can do nothing but talk.
That was Big Avi.
Towards the end of our ride, he burst out with joy about just how happy he was to be alive.
We know we should be happy for each day we are given, but allow ourselves to get caught up in our own frustrations. Frustrations make us lose sight of the blessings right before us. Big Avi reminded me that life itself is a reason to be happy. Each day we are given is a new start, a fresh beginning and a reason to smile. No, we don’t know the future, and sometimes it looks grim, but the present, today, is a thing worthy of not only our thanks, but also, every ounce of joy within us.