Tuesday, August 29, 2006

You're alright



There was a weird vibe out there tonight. Maybe it was the rain these past few days, or the change of season, or the noticeably earlier sunset, who knows, but there was just some sort of odd mood happening. It should go without saying by now that business was slow. It's August. Everyone who can afford to be is out of town. And those that are left are not necessarily taking cabs.

I did get a little lucky out at LaGuardia this evening. I was flagged down by a hotel doorman on East 42nd Street and, as the trunk was being loaded up with luggage, another cabbie that was parked in front of the hotel came over and told me he was "giving" me this job because he would rather go to Kennedy than LaGuardia. Sucks for him, though, because I found out not long after that the Taxi Hold Lot at Kennedy was at like a thousand percent of capacity and moving slow.

I got to LaGuardia without any traffic hassles and waited in the US Air lot, which is next to the Delta terminal (seen above). It's always a gamble to pull into the airport, and then a further gamble deciding which lot to wait in. For the first time in months it seems, I made the right choice. The lot moved relatively quickly and I was on my way back to Manhattan with a passenger within 40 minutes.

Back in the city, though, the streets were tough. Competition was fierce and the regular "civilian" drivers were moving like zombies. I had one altercation that could've been bad, but ended up being a nice moment.

I was changing lanes at the same time as this Nissan Altima on the other side of Third Avenue. The problem was, we were both trying to get into the same lane at the same time but from opposite directions. I swerved back over just in time to avoid a collision, but not in time to avoid hearing the driver of the car, a young black man, call me a motherfucker. He sneered at me and I just shook my head and shrugged my shoulders, like, "Whatever."

As we approached the next light side by side, he took another look at me and said, "Oh, I thought you were a guy." His two passengers were now staring. I just nodded my head and looked away, not knowing what he was getting at and not really wanting to get into anything.

Five minutes later, we ended up next to each other again. Smiling this time, he called over and said, "You're alright, man. You're alright!"

I don't know what brought on this change of heart, but I didn't question it. All I knew was that, somehow, I went from being a "motherfucker" to "alright" in a matter of minutes. And it was certainly a better outcome than having him take his dick out at me.

If only it was always this easy.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey ... looks like the black man gave you some respect ... here in Pakistan no one really cares how other is driving .. cauz no one really knows how to drive :) ...

Greg said...

I took a cab earlier tonight for the first time in quite awhile. The cabbie didn't have his hack license displayed behind the partition. He seemed a decent enough sort, though. Maybe he just forgot to put it there at the start of his shift.

Oh, and happy first anniversary of your blog! (Thanks to Wil in Hawaii for pointing that out in the comments on your previous entry.)

wil said...

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!

NEW YORK HACK came into existence on August 29th, 2005.

Melissa, did you even dream of what windfalls were coming your way when your started all this?

Best of luck and best wishes!!

Aloha!!

Sicilian said...

NY Hack. . . I think the guy felt bad that he had cussed a woman. . .
Oh and Happy Anniversary. I enjoy your blog.
Ciao

Anonymous said...

I've only started reading this blog after it was discussed on a very popular national, daytime TV programmae in the UK, "Richard and Judy".
I really enjoy reading it - your life is amazingly different to life here! Happy Anniversary for your blog.

Sudha said...

hi there,
I am a long time reader and immensely enjoy your blog.
happy anniversary!

Anonymous said...

That picture of the Delta terminal made me think of those poor souls on the ill-fated Delta flight in Kentucky.

It's a reminder that travel, whether flying, driving, or even taking the S.I. ferry, can be a dangerous thing and we should all take a deep breath and ensure that we all get to our destinations safely.

Stay safe MP, and all the readers of this blog!

Steve State said...

That first photo juxtaposed with the first sentence of the post: wow...that's why I always come here NYH. So fine.... You can feel the atmosphere of the city...It's in everything you write and it's not just in what you write about, it's in the way that you write about it...
Steve State

Nicole said...

The cabbies are always so disappointed when I ask them to take me to my home in Queens from the airport. The last one (from Bangladesh, I think) told me what a great neighborhood I live in -- "very safe, good people" (i.e. full of people from Bangladesh), but that it would be bad news for him. I felt sorry for him, but I can't really ask him to take me to Manhattan if this is where I live!

I hope that business picks up for you in the last few days of August!

Drunken Master said...

Looks like the man's mother taught him well.

Happy anniversary!

Matt Chalmers said...

"Looks like the man's mother taught him well."

What? Going around yelling "Motherfucker" at people?

christy said...

Well yes I guess there is a double standard. While it is okay to call a man a motherfucker, it is not okay to call a woman a motherfucker. Not that I want to be called a motherfucker but it would be too funny if someone did. Those words don't mean anything anymore. They are as arbitrary as calling someone a meanie or doody head. The city is just one large ill-adjusted playground.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog every now and then, and I have to say, I really enjoy it. I always kind of hope that when I take a taxi, I'll get you, but so far, no luck...maybe one of these days!

Dana said...

Hello MP, First off Happy Anniversary! How very cool! Looks like the guy had a change of heart...nice change. I got into a cursing and flippin off match with this guy on the road, we went back and forth for a ridiculous amount of time then i decided to flash him a peace sign when it was my turn and we both ended up laughing at our silliness and waved on to a good day.
Looking forward to book and be safe out there

Peace

nobich said...

Happy Anniversary!!
Love reading about you/ stay safe.

Chez Bez said...

Great post as always.

Be safe out there.

The Anecdotal Life said...

I don't know how you do it. I am a single female divorcee trying to learn to pilot a large boat and I am failing miserably. You may not think you're tough, but you are!Thanks for being who you are. The "G I Jane" of the taxi world. You are more than all right. j

Anonymous said...

I'm leaving the profession after 5 years and some good memories. I really believe that there are too many cabs out there. Cabs should not be empty 1/2 the time. Maybe this is still the job for some of you, and good luck to all of you that do it the right, respectable way, but it is not right for me anymore.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary! I don't know how you do it day after day. I was in NYC visiting my son in law and could not believe how rude pedistrians and bicycle riders were. Don't one way streets and don't walk signs mean anything. Anyway, congrats on a great year and keep up the good job. I'll be looking for you at W11th and 5th next time I return to the city.

Noah said...

Congrats on your first anniversary. Nice to hear that you didn't have to wait long at the Delta lot at LGA. I had a pick-up at Delta at 2:20pm out of Miami and I saw the line was pretty long. I couldn't believe how many 'vultures' were waiting at the end of the line asking the people if they needed a cab to the city instead of waiting. I hate those fuckers! Anyway, with the grace of God the flight I was waiting for actually landed a bit earlier than scheduled. Its amazing how quickly LGA can fall apart regarding flight delays if a little rain is falling. Needless to say I was on the Whitestone Expy to the Cross Isle by 2:40 just ahead of the afternoon rush.

EverJack1 said...

Maybe the guy suddenly realized who you were, and he wanted to show you that his attitude wasn't as bad as he previously showed.

Happy anniversary, Melissa. :o)

EverJack1

george the atheist said...

Cabbies et al., do you all remember the old Bob Grant radio show? ("Get off my phone, you creep!") Well two of his most famous callers, John of Staten Island and, hold on, sit tight, VINTAGE Frank of Queens, have their own current show and archives on www.therightperspective.com. Check it out while waiting at JFK or LaGuardia.

BAF said...

Hey MP well done...one year and look how far up the road you are both literally and metaphorically! See you at the top!From downunder!

Anonymous said...

happy birthday to you,
you drive in a zoo,
you pick up some monkeys
and they flash at you too...

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary MP; I hope to continue reading about your adventures & thank you
very much for all your entertainment. Have a great day/night & happy driving.

Janelle Ryleigh

annmary said...

Don't matter that black Guy, be only yourself;i'm always enjoying reading your blog and wish you don't stop telling us more about cabs and their adventures

annmary said...

don't matter the insults of others whatever they are be only yourself; i'm always enjoying your blog and i hope you never stop telling us the cabs adventures

CharterJames said...

Hi Melissa,

Congrats on your anniversary! No small feat sustaining this for a year as well as writing your book. I have found that I can do a little blogging and that is about it. There is little energy for much else. I was pleased to meet you at your reading. Sorry I couldn't chat with you. Your reading sounds great, looking forward to the book. -Jim

Anonymous said...

help! someone stole my name!

Alex said...

Sounds to me like the dude was higher than keith richards on new year's

Anonymous said...

i was in manhattan yesterday with out of town visitors. the rain made their desire to see 5th avenue and the Hello Kitty store on 42nd within an hour difficult. we caught a cab at the time warner building. what a lovely man. he said it was slow, he'd gone 20 minutes without a fare. he gave my visitors the lowdown on how hard it is to make money. we got to where we were going and by then realized we both go to the same college. my new best friend. i love cabbies.

george the atheist said...

Did the black guy say "Alright" or "All Right"? [William Safire please chime in.] According to my dictionary's (American Heritage, 3rd edition) Usage Note: "All right" usually pronounced as if it were a single word, probably should have followed the same orthographic development as "already" and "altogether". But despite its use by a number of reputable authors, the spelling "alright" has never been accepted as a standard variant, and the writer who chooses to risk that spelling had best be confident that readers will acknowledge it as a token of willful unconventionality rather than as a mark of ignorance."

WAS THE BLACK GUY UNCONVENTIONAL OR IGNORANT?

george the atheist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Adrenaline. It kicked in the Fight or Flight response.

He came to his senses after his body flushed it out of his system.

Those mirror image merges happens all the time on the LIE.

And George, the only people that speak English in NYC are the tourists. :)

Jaelithe said...

I bet his Momma raised him not to disrespect the ladies. And when he realized you were a lady, he had a sudden vision of her looming over him with a threatening hairbrush.

G.S. said...

Interesting to read about your strategy at LaGuardia... I also had a fare deep into Queens last night at about the same time and cruised the terminals at LaG to decide whether or not to enter one of the waiting lots. Delta looked busy but the lot was full so I passed it by and wound up driving back to Manhattan empty. There's always that moment of truth at the airports - go into a lot or do not go into a lot. This time I should have gone in.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. I've never been to NYC, but it sounds exciting

Elizabeth said...

Unfortunately, "motherfucker" has lost some of it's zip. It's just a word, just a word!

Happy One Year....love the Blog!

R2K said...

Are you also a hacker?

jo said...

Whether, he was black, yellow, brown, pink, white or green and whether you were a man, woman or other, why did he feel he had to say 'motherfucker' at all!

Life would be so much easier if we counted to 10 before the insults came out of our mouths.

A happy, healthy and 'nice' anniversary to you. xx

Monkling said...

Happy Anniversary!

Now I will always feel guilty whenever I catch a cab at LGA since I live about as far east into Queens as you can get & still be in Queens. But, hey, at least I tip well.

Helen said...

Enjoyable read as always. Happy anniversary!

Holly Hodder said...

Bet he wasn't from Jersey. Not like that fellow with the Montclair tags who apparently felt the need to unzip and expose.

mariasoledad said...

¡¡ Jelou, Jelou ! !

Happy anniversary MP.

I hope you enjoy it.

Be safe!

Penny said...

Yeah, there has been a bit of a mood. I've felt it. The weather was a bit glum and uninspirational! Oh well, good to see the sun is back again.

Anonymous said...

that first picture looks familair how ORIGINAL

STAG said...

Yeah, I have to agree...it is the adrenaline. I have had it happen to me that I get into a close call or even a fender bender, yell like crazy and curse a blue streak, then suddenly, its out of the system, and I am apologizing for flying off the handle. If the other dude was actually in the wrong, the apology is accepted. Usually. We just exchange insurance numbers and carry on. Once in a while though...grin! THEN we gets us a blog entry!

Matt said...

You touched him (instead of the other way around). That's a nice story.

knight online hack said...

"here in Pakistan no one really cares how other is driving .. cauz no one really knows how to drive :)"

haha, so true!

Anonymous said...

How about calling your book "These Three Rabbis Get into a Cab....." That is a line from one of your early posts. If not that, read all of your earlier posts and a line from one of them will jump out at you. Good luck.