Since I discovered Via, a car-sharing service, about two years ago, I’ve had fewer conversations with cab drivers than I used to have. Car-sharing saves you money—a ride costs just $5.44—but since there are usually others in the car, chatting is discouraged.
Last night, however, it was just me and a Puerto Rican driver about my age named Enrique.
He started talking about driving in New York: the bad roads, the crazy drivers, the guys who stop in the middle of the road and seem to have all the time in the world—who cares if they’re blocking the street and a row of cars behind them?
He swerved to avoid a pothole the size of Donald Trump’s toupee.
“I hit a pothole on 95 in the Bronx,” I began “near Conner Avenue. It was so deep I had a bottle of soda in my cupholder and it flew out.”
“It flew out?” He laughed.
“Another time,” I said “also in the Bronx, on the Bruckner, I blew out a tire.”
“You don’t want to change a tire in that neighborhood,” he advised.
“I have run-flats. I was able to get home.”
Then we did what New Yorkers, perhaps especially New Yorkers of a certain age do so well.
“I hate to top you, man. But I gotta tell you this.”
We were nearing my apartment and I was hoping he’d get his story out before I had to exit his SUV.
“I was driving out in Yackson Heights, Horge” He had a heavy New York-Spanish accent. “And I hit a big one. The madre of all potholes.
“My false teeth flew out and hit the front windshield then landed in my lap. Horge!” he laughed, “My false teeth went like this.” He made broad sweeping motions with his right hand like he was swatting at flies.
We reached my corner.
“It was good talking to you, Enrique.”
“You too, Horge. We ride again sometime soon.”
“Keep your mouth closed,” I said, slamming the door.
I saw him laughing as he drove away.