Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I don't like taxis

The kind taxi driver exited his car, stowed my suitcase in the trunk, opened my door and then closed it once I was settled. "Where to?" he asked as he plopped in the driver's seat. "The Upper West Side," I instantly replied, and we were on our way. The first 20 minutes we zipped down Grand Central Parkway making good time as the clock inched closer to rush hour. My hopes were high as I started to think this might not be the hour and half ride that it usually takes to go 20 miles from JFK Airport to home. Once we reached the bumper-to-bumper traffic across the Triborough Bridge (recently renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge), however, my hopes were shattered.

As we started the crawl across the bridge the driver's cell phone started to ring. My eyes immediately glanced at the "Taxicab Rider Bill of Rights" posted so clearly on the back of his seat. As a passenger in a taxi you are entitled to, "A driver who does not use a cell phone while driving (hand-held or hands free)." He started into his long unrecognizable foreign language conversation as my body instantly resorted to its usual taxi-riding state: nausea.

As he jabbered away on his phone I tried to distract my mind from what my body was now feeling. The TV in the back seat only added to my car sickness. Thirty minutes later I finally figured out how to turn off its flashing lights and noise. We finally emerged to the familiar streets of Manhattan and started the brutal game of Red Light, Green Light. I rested my head on the glass, trying to cool down my now trembling body as I sat anxiously in the stuffy, stale-aired cab. At every intersection the cell phone chatting driver punched the gas pedal down the crosstown street and seconds later slammed on the brakes as we neared the red light of the next intersection. Amsterdam and Broadway have never felt further away. Nearing the end of our journey, the driver finally ended his conversation.

"Which building, Miss?" he politely asked. "220," I silently muttered hoping that was the only thing to escape my lips. The car screeched to a stop. I opened the door as my legs weakly felt the ground. He grabbed my bag as I reached for my wallet. Coming from Las Vegas where the ATMs dispense $100 bills rather than $20s, I handed over Ben Franklin to cover the $55 fare. The driver pulled out a wad of money and returned my change with one ten, two fives, and twenty-five ones. At least Redken was covering the fare, and the bonus is I now have wash money.

Sidenote: We NEVER take a taxi. Instead we opt for public transportation and ride the subway everywhere we go. In our eight months of living in the city we have taken a cab twice, and both were extremely good excuses: 1) moving five pieces of heavy luggage from our temporary Queens apartment to our Manhattan apartment and 2) coming home from a red eye flight. The fare for a taxi isn't worth it, and as you can see, every time we take a taxi I get sick.

I dizzily made my way into the apartment building, lugged my suitcase up three flights of stairs (the elevator is currently out of service) and hurried to open the apartment door. I threw my bags on the floor, turned on the light and walked into a crystal-clean apartment. A welcome home note attached to beautiful bouquet of flowers sat atop the dining room table. How did Jonathan know this was exactly what I needed after six days away at the Redken Symposium (business meeting) in Las Vegas topped off with a stomach-churning cab ride home from the airport?


Brittoni said...

what else can be said other than he's a keeper!

Karene said...

Yup, first thing I do in a cab is turn off the damn TV. It makes me sick just thinking about it!

Autumn said...

What a sweet husband... he must have known somehow that is what you needed. What a great guy you have!!