Friday, March 15, 2013


I booked my flights for Toronto yesterday {last minute, I know; it's how I do everything} and spent a good little chunk of the day figuring out logistics. I'm going there as media next week for a big music festival, to write about it and take pictures and interview bands and stuff, so, of course, there was a lot of comparing and filling out and looking into and that. By this morning, everything was mostly figured out...except for one nagging, foreboding, ominous, looming thing: TAXIS.

Taxis are stupid. Getting into a car with a gross old stranger and telling him where I live seems like almost the worst idea in the whole world. Walking around in the middle of the night waving a fist full of tens at random yellow cars, also: bad idea.

I grew up on a farm where the closest thing we had to a taxi was a cow. My last experience with a real-life taxi was in Scotland last year: Our train was delayed due to something going wrong {as is usually the case in these matters} and we got to our hotel at midnight to find out that they'd accidentally lost our reservation and someone was in our room and "here are your suitcases, sorry about that" and the cash machine was out of order and we got to the bus stop an hour's walk down the street lugging two weeks' worth of luggage only to find out it'd shut down for the night a half hour earlier and when we called the only taxi service we had a number for, they hung up on us because we couldn't provide them with a home address. {Which was ok, because we only had ten pounds on us anyway and that wasn't enough to get us anywhere near a bed.} By the time we found a house with an address on it not covered in vines or obscured by darkness and tricky shadows, figured out what street we were on, took a sketchy taxi as far as we possibly could for ten pounds, and found our way to a place to sleep, the night was almost over and we were soaked because it'd been raining the whole time. And I really thought the taxi guy was going to kill us. He had a lot of spookiness about him.

Anyway. It was awfully funny, and it was horribly unfunny, and it was fine, because we were together. But by myself? I would probably die.

How do you do it? People on movies do it. They do it effortlessly. They do it all the time. They float out of a high-rise building in a big, bustling city, they gracefully extend one delicate bunch of fingers, a car comes along just at that exact moment, also floating, and slows gently to a complete and perfect stop at the movie star's feet. There is happiness and flashing of teeth, and the cab driver is friendly and clean, and everything is well-lit, and there is maybe a handsome stranger in the back seat for the star to share a cab with, fall in love with, and marry at the end of the movie. Clearly, I don't want or need for there to be a handsome stranger in the back seat; I'd just love to figure out the magical hand motions that will somehow summon a safe sedan to get me home without anything treacherous happening.

For the most part on this trip, I'll be able to rely on the subway. But what happens at 3 in the morning after a show when I find myself in downtown Toronto by myself and need to get home some way, and remember how Liz made me promise not to ride the subway by myself at 3 in the morning? What then? The only conceivable answer: TAXIS.

So you can imagine my complete and total excitement upon discovering a free app for my iPhone that solves every single problem I currently have, besides the ones that don't have anything to do with taxis: HAILO.

You need a taxi? You push the yellow button. Then you stand there and wait. You can wait inside, because HAILO will tell you when your taxi is out front. It will tell you how far away your taxi is and it will tell you how long your taxi will take to get to you and it will tell your taxi driver where you are so you don't even have to know and it will tell you your driver's name and show you his picture so that you can feel as though a friend is coming to pick you up. Then, when you get home, you can pay your fare using the app.
 photo hailo_zps090dd0b5.jpg So. I guess I am ready to go to Toronto now. Have any of you ever used this app, or have any other good travel-type apps I need to download?