Saturday, June 7, 2008


Far away from ever being the victim of an existential crisis. That's you. The dawnielitic beings have arrived in a grease capsule to work on a vegetable farm in Virginia. If you could reclaim the freedom you once knew, you'd be there in a pulse throb. Farming is one of those dharmic human doings worth having your ignorance deplored about. But here you are in the city without a way out, for now. So into the taxicab we go for another hundred mile cacophony of scribbles on the street map of your life.

A pair of 'Ash the Berber' types, but Irish, tip selflessly for a smooth ride from the Bowery to West Fourteenth. A humorous old man travels crosstown to the diagnostic imaging place. One of his jokes: "...a cabdriver speeds up and runs a red light. speeds up again and runs another red. does it a third time. then approaching a green light, he outright sits on the brakes. why'd you stop here of all places? because you never know when there might be another cabdriver running the red light." Don't know about you, but that had me laughing hard. In enters another old man, but in a sharp suit and with no signs of decrepitness, he requests a ride up to Spanish Harlem. As you drop him off in front of the GoSo office, he gets awfully hubristic about his role in reducing recidivism among young men.

A wise young lady who reminds you of Daina Thomas just has to go a few blocks along E 72nd. Says she likes to interview cabbies and asks for your feelings over the credit card machines. She's collecting a rainbow of hackney responses for a letter she'll be writing the mayor. It's a tradition she has kept up ever since Mr. Dinkins himself actually wrote her back in 1990. You get political with your next passenger, a slick Egyptian buck, over the unethical behavior of most governments for the sake of monetary comfort and complacency.

One thing in particular is strongly agreed upon: "rather be homeless on the streets than to know someone died because of me." And the next fare is an Asian-California girl who just spent months touring the country to organize rallies for the Hillary campaign and is a bit bummed about it being over. And then a Jersey couple whose family is visiting from India try real hard to negotiate a flat rate to Niagara Falls and back, which is impossible to do in a dozen hours, and they wouldn't want to embark at 4:30 am anyhow. But there's no getting through to them.

An engineer who just returned from erecting a skyscraper in Dubai catches a ride from the Flower District to his one night crib while boasting the fact that Antarctica is the only place he hasn't been. It could have been a fascinating chat, but instead you drown in his vainglorious hypnotism. You yell something at someone through the window just to break up the stale monotony of his voice. You head back downtown vacant and available until an elder Italian Jew and his alert little granddaughter step in, bound for the salute-to-Israel parade. He tells his tale of driving a retired 1970s NYC Caprice yellow cab through 24,000 miles of Latin America and beyond.

Next in is a modest guy who looks like the helicopter pilot on Airwolf, the 1980s TV series that was among a handful of afternoon anesthetics your mom was clever enough not to let you watch too much of when you'd come home from school. He said he'd look up the resemblance on You Tube. Side note: If a Benz or BMW driver gets angry when you cut him off with your yellow cab, tell them "hey, I've got to earn my swanky beamer too. Ya know?" (ya right).

To get home and hear your sister recalling her great day at the summer internship makes each grueling shift worthwhile. You accidently hooked her up with this spot while being the random yellow cab that stopped when the fashion wizard's business partner hailed his hand up high a few weeks ago. It's going to look so good on her resume.

Synchronicities happen often enough to keep you ceaselessly humble, but only if you're outside the mental bubble enough to intercept them. I leave you with 2 outstanding photographs a Viennese friend took while riding in the cab.


  1. why did i just get this post as an e-mail?

  2. Ana- because you are very lucky.
    Gil- I have pics from my trip in Dec- I'll email you!


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