Sunday, October 12, 2014

Being cheap can really cost you.

Traffic was moving blithely on the Grand Central going into the city. I noticed the 31st Street exit, the last exit in Queens was open and I quickly veered over to get off and drive the two miles through Astoria to the Queensboro Bridge, thereby saving the $7.50 they charge for crossing into Manhattan on the Triboro.

I turned left onto 31st Street and oddly enough I saw ahead of me virtually no cars and for about eight traffic lights ahead, nothing but green. 31st Street sits underneath the elevated Broadway Local, so to navigate it properly, you have to stay awake. At any moment a car can sneak out from between the ancient girders and merge suddenly into the one lane of traffic cutting you off abruptly.

That's exactly what happened to me, a grey Dodge Charger with a Hemi engine cut me off. In the accepted New York fashion, I leaned heavily on my horn with my right hand. Speaking of hands, my right one rose up automatically, as did my middle finger.

All at once a squat Puerto Rican hopped out of the Dodge.

"You want to fucking fight," he screamed.

My wife screamed, too.

"Back up. Back up."

"I'll take that finger and shove it up your ass."

I assessed the situation like I measure an advertising brief. He was no more than 5'7" or 8". I'm 6'2". Yes, I had 20 years on him, but I'm a mean sonofabitch when you get me riled.

My wife bid me say nothing.

I noticed there was another squat Puerto Rican in the passenger seat. He was also yelling at me. That only got my dander up.

All at once I wished my friend from blogging, the inimitable Rich Siegel were with me. It seems to me he'd be a nasty street-fighter with the moxie to help me tackle a scene out of "West Side Story." We might be two older Jewish men, but we're also decades-long survivors of the advertising game. I'd put money down on the two of us. I fairly think we would have mopped the asphalt with them

(BTW, the trick to fighting two guys or more at once, is fairly simple. Pick the smallest guy and twist his arm behind his back. Threaten to rip it off and demonstrate that you had the inclination to do so, and the other guys, his putative cohorts will quickly cave and abandon him. It helps if your adversaries think you're more than a little bit deranged.)

Somehow, I guess because my wife prevailed and I grudgingly said nothing, the Puerto Rican gentleman got back into his car and drove off. I'll admit, I thought better of pulling alongside him when we stopped at a light. No, I stayed safely behind.

And I felt like a coward.

Next time, maybe, I'll pay the toll.

It's cheaper that way.

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