One of the many things I love about New York are its cab drivers. Regardless of their generalized reputation of being crazy, or at least having a loose bolt, most of the guys (and cab drivers in New York are almost exclusively men) are decent, hard working human beings with an interesting take on life.
I took a cab this morning and right-away we got off on the wrong foot. First off, there was a race between two drivers up York Avenue to answer my outstretched arm. My guy, a Ford Crown Victoria, had the inside lane and though the other guy, a Nissan Altima, hit 83rd Street first, the Crown Vic won out and my wife and I hopped in the car.
Like I said, the driver and I immediately butted heads.
"We have two stops this morning," I began.
He snorted with disdain. Two stops sucks if you're a cabbie. You miss a flip of the meter.
"42 and 3rd and 18th and 7th. Why don't you head down Second or Lex?"
"No." Cabbies are supposed to follow your instructions but he was adamant. "We'll take the Drive. Second Avenue is a parking lot."
We took the Drive instead. Also, of course at 7:30 AM, a parking lot. But in any event, we got off on 38th Street in just 10 minutes or so.
"I'd head across on 39th," I suggested.
"No. 39th is stopped up. We'll head across on 42nd."
Seconds later, we were headed down 39th, which was moving quite well. We dropped my wife on 39th and 3rd--the far corner, mind you, and then headed over to Park to head downtown.
"That is your wife, or girl friend," he asked as we were making our way south.
"My wife." I answered.
"She is a beautiful woman. A beautiful woman. You have children?"
"Yes. Two grown daughters. One's studying in Boston. The other is taking a semester in New Zealand."
"I have three. A boy 13. A boy 12. And a girl 4. We wanted a girl. Beautiful. Beautiful."
At this point we had hit 18th and 7th.
I gave him a big tip. And was ten minutes early for my 8:30 call.