Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You talkin' to ME? Well, I'm the only one here.

Earlier this week I did what I think may be a rite of passage for New Yorkers. I argued with a cab driver. And it felt goooood. Actually, it wasn't a cab driver so much as a private car driver.. and I feel a little ungrateful complaining about a free private car ride home, but, damnit, I had to wait an hour on the corner of 5th and 52nd and I was annoyed!

You see, when an event goes later than about 8pm at work they will give us poor bastards who live in Jersey or some other god-forsaken outer-borough a voucher for a car ride home so we don't have to worry about taking the train. I have done this several times now and had no problems in the past. I call, they tell me what number car will be picking me up, I wait in front of the building, and in a few minutes the car comes, I get in, say "Home, James" and in about 45 minutes I am delivered home without ever having to associate with the common folk.

Yes, sometimes the drivers smell (true story!), or ask me about what I think of the desktop computer they plan to buy at Costco (on sale!), or refuse to use their GPS and insist on asking me for step-by-step directions (like I know where the hell I'm going!), but these are only minor annoyances one must endure for a free ride home. But Tuesday night I knew I was in bigger trouble when I got a call from the car dispatcher telling me that my driver said he couldn't wait in front of my building and wanted me to wait on the aforementioned corner.. about a half block away.
Now, I had no problem going to this corner (above is the view from the corner), but I did not quite believe the story I was being told because: A) The driver would not have had to "wait" in front of my building.. I was there waiting for him, all he had to do was pull up and unlock the door, and B) I had just witnessed one of my coworkers being picked up by her car right in front of the building not two minutes before I got this call. Nevertheless, I walked to the corner and did not see any car waiting for me. I waited a good ten minutes before calling dispatch, who informed me, rather rudely, that the driver was circling and would be there in three minutes. OK. I waited. I waited another good ten minutes before calling again and talking to a different dispatcher. "Where is the car?" "He'll be there in three minutes." "That was ten minutes ago." "Oh. Let me call the driver." "Great." So, he calls the driver and tells me that the driver is waiting at the corner. I tell him that I am waiting at the corner and have been for 30 minutes.. there is no car here. He confirms I am on the right corner, says he doesn't understand either, and he will have the driver call me directly.

The driver calls, all pissed off, asking me where I am. I say I am where he told me to be.. where is he?! He now changes his story and says he is circling and will be back in 15 minutes. Ugh.. whatever. So, I wait, and I pace, and I mutter all manner of profanities under my breath as I watch every one of a hundred or so cars drive by, none of them MY car. If I had just taken the train I would have been home by now! 20 minutes later, the car finally pulls up and I get in, all pissed off.

There is about 20 seconds of silence after I shut the door... we are both figuring out how exactly we wanted to yell at each other. I finally ask what the problem was and he tells me 52nd street had been closed the whole time and was just now opened and that he had just wasted an hour because of me! I said I just wasted an hour too... standing on a very open 52nd street watching hundreds of cars go by! He insists that it was closed until just now and I must not have been standing there. I assure him I was and that I don't really want to argue with him but, "Where did all those cars come from if the street was closed?!"

He didn't say another word the entire ride home. The tension was thick in that Towne Car as we passed a million tourists in Rockefeller Center and Times Square, and got caught in a major backup on the Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel. I didn't get home till 11:30... I had left work at 9:00. I was annoyed and tired.

Yet, at this point, as I said, I was actually kind of exhilarated by arguing with the guy. I felt like I could take on all comers... I wasn't gonna take shit from anybody! I was lean and mean (and not bogged down by any man purses). Bring it on, assholes, I'm a fuckin' New Yorker.

Here are more pictures from this week. So many tourists near Radio City that they bring out the horse cops... I like horses, they're so pretty. Wait, I forgot I'm a tough guy now... Horses aren't pretty, they're stupid and should all be sent to the glue factory. Yeah, I told them...

(Forgive me horses... I didn't mean it... I still love you!)

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