The Manhattan 500
“Yo!” I shouted as I walked closer to the curb and raised my hand in the direction of building tops. I had just had a few drinks with friends and it was time to call it a night. I thought about taking the subway, there was a stop only a block away. It’s always cheaper, and sometimes faster than taking a cab in the city. However, it was late, I was tired, and so badly wanted to be magically wisped away landing directly in my bed.
I see a cab coming north on Layfayette, his light on, heading my way. He must have seen my extended arm because he swerved across 3 damn lanes of traffic, nearly causing a town car to take me out. The driver of the all too popular and black Town Car laid on his horn. I’m not talking about a quick beep either…I’m talking about the noise that comes from movies after a bad guy is caught in a high speed chase – the car crashes and his head is laying on the steering wheel causing the horn to hold a long, never ending monotone note.
Ok, I’ve seen that happen a million times before. No worries on my part. There’s nothing wrong with an aggressive cabbie. The only thing that means is that tmy fare will be less than say, if Miss Daisy was driving the cab. I opened the back door, slid across the seats and gave him the address. “I’m sorry, do you know how to get there, I’m new.” Now, it’s not like I live in the West Village and the streets have names not numbers. I live in Murray Hill. I even gave him cross streets too.
I told him to just head north and it he would need to make a right in about 20 blocks. At our first light, a cabbie pulled next to him and said “you’re trouble light is on” and I can only assume he was talking about his hazard lights. Well that sent my guy into a big panic. “I’m just going to pull over for a minute.” “No you’re not buddy, not with that meter running you’re not!” It was evident at this point in our journey together this guy was really, really new. Not to mention the cab smelled like dirty curry diaper.
So in a matter of seconds this guy was on his phone. His hands free phone of course because having a cell phone to your ear in New York is grounds for a ticket. I think they give these drivers hands free phones instead of a state issued driver’s licenses. So I start to think that this guy is probably not just new to a cab, and is maybe new to the country, because he seems to be avoiding all major driving rules and regulations. After another near miss with yet another black Town Car, and telling him to STOP four blocks short of my place out of the love I have for my own life and the intense hate I have for bodily harm…I was home.
Thanks for listening.