Monday, February 11, 2008

Esophagus Soup

Eleven degrees and atramental at six am. Taxi murmurs motionless at a red. I gaze at the 192 flagless poles of the UN headquarters. A discreet duo of corporate pigeons abruptly pop open the back door and shove their shivering bodies into my clement cacoon of a cab. "61st Street, the L.A. sports club, please driver." Gyms are good places to thaw out your bones.

A few fares later I pick up an 'easy come, easy go' Boriqua woman, who explains her role as 'medical biller' for much of the ride from Hamilton Heights to the hospital in Lenox Hill. Clerical and quite boring. Just as she boasts being in charge of the cardiovascular division, two people call in, directly to her cell, that they're unable to emerge from under warm blankets and are opting for a sick day. Her sighs are of understanding though, as we careen down Amsterdam Avenue.

One fare melts into another as this scruffy dude from Ukraine, in Carhartt overalls, has me take him to the district of galleries. Then the man who steps out of an animal clinic and says his hometown of RI is a mafia state, while holding a dog who's soon having adrenocortical carcinoma removed. Right beside us a white lady cop pulls over a white lady in a compact car for not wearing her seat belt. Rare combination.

A couple miles further up an agent from Department of Transportation pulls alongside some Con Edison trucks on Avenue of the Americas that are stationed on the middle two lanes, clotting up the flow of traffic with uncovered 'manholes' and orange cones. I watch as the agent snaps harshly at their perpetual cigarette break. They snap back with union rhetoric. All in a good NYC day shift.