Yesterday I had a day's work in lower Manhattan. I was off from my usual temporary gig and had secured an even more temporary one.
In a way, working one day at a time is like writing a :15. You get in and you get out. There's no room for bull-crap. I rather like it.
I left the office around 7:45 and quickly hailed a cab. I gave the driver my address.
"How you want to go?"
"Whatever's quickest," I said using my standard answer.
"We'll cut over on Houston and head up Second," he said confidently.
I checked the number of his hack license. The lower the number, the longer they've been driving. A new driver, these days has a number around 560,000. His number was in the low-3's. Meaning he'd been a cabbie for more than 40 years.
"Second goes downtown," I reminded him.
"I've been driving long enough so I get a pass," he said again, confidently. "It's something Bloomberg put in at the end of his term for us old-timers. We can go anyway we want on any street."
Sure enough, he turned left onto Second and started heading uptown against the grain. The downtown traffic magically cleared out of the way for him. Naturally, there were no lights and no other cars to interfere with our trip.
"There aren't many of us left. I've been driving six days a week since the Mets won the World Series in 1969. Forty-five years. We also get to pay for gas at 1969 prices. It costs me just 33 cents a gallon."
He took a right, again against the traffic and headed down my block, dropping me right in front of my building. I handed him a $20, the usual fare from downtown.
"That'll be $2.75," he said to me.
I gave him a five.
"Keep the change," I said.
He sped off, against traffic, into the night.