Tuesday, August 29, 2006
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.