It seems appropriate that I place this write up here under my travel section. Not a lot of people read this blog/site - and for that, I understand. But for one day, I think it safe to say - that my battered and beaten cab was the most famous car in the world. Okay, maybe not the most famous car, more like famous Crown Victoria - but of all the cars in this world - and I mean ALL the cars in this world, mine graced page A12 of the New York Times on November 28, 2014 - in full color. And not only that, it was summarized on Page 1. And I owe it all to one person: Corey Kilgannon.
The New York Times.
I don't speak or write *too* much about my cab or this website to my friends or family, because I know it doesn't speak to everyone. In fact, I think it suffice to say that on a more genuine level - they couldn't care less. Yes, I'm affable. Yes, I can take a few rights and lefts to my chin. Yes, I dish jokes and receive just as many in return ten fold. But an old cab? Yeah...please Mike Ruse...can you just shut up about it!? But it would be deficient of me to not lay thanks to anyone who can view my eclectic tomfoolery with a light heart.
First, let me say that I realize this was a blip in the world of media. A feel good story in a world full of feel shitty stories. But allow me some latitude with my feeling a little happy about it okay?
So....the New York Times. How did this even happen?
Back in July of 2011, when my cab was still beating down the pavement of NYC, New York Times reporter, Corey Kilgannon, awoke with an idea for a story about the conundrum of vehicular traffic in Central Park. During his information gathering, he spoke with a cabby in the park, which turned out to be what would be my retired taxi someday. He had no idea naturally, but funny how the universe connects dots, aligns stars, and how the obscure and haphazard un-directed movements and patterns of us little ants on earth come full circle. I found the story after googling the name of a former driver of my cab, and later wrote to Mr. Kilgannon thinking he might think it nifty how a taxi he interviewed, was now living a good life in Vermont - no more, no less - and no expectation of anything other than maybe a note back saying 'cool'. More on that here, if so inclined:
Anyways....he did write back - and he did think it nifty, enough so that perhaps there was a story hidden deep in the crevices - and for about 2 and a half years, we would correspond occasionally about doing a diddy on my car's retirement in the country. Each time he would make plans to arrive here in Vermont, the cab would die, much to my chagrin. No point in doing a story on a broken down cab no matter where it is.
Finally, in November of 2014, with the car running tip top with it's new intake manifold, the day arrived. He had written to me asking if the cab was running; and I told him it was. He made arrangements to travel to Vermont to start a story. He arrived in a blue Chevrolet Malibu - complete with New York Press license plates. Wow - a real live New York Times car in the driveway, piloted by a well known and respected journalist for the NY Times. Standing here. Talking to me.
Mr. Kilgannon arrived after his four and half hour journey much as I expected - tired from a long drive, and looking a bit stressed. Being a New York journalist, I surmised as he exited his car that he was struggling with deciphering how to juggle his duties in New York, while second guessing how this trip and this cab, could be anything but a story of any sort. As we greeted, he seemed to look around 360 degrees in an effort to get his bearings - looking for anything he might identify with in this wasteland of fresh air and silence. Unfortunately, there isn't anything. Much like when I go to NYC. Two worlds colliding really.
I won't bore anyone with details. Suffice to say, Mr. Kilgannon....wait....I hate calling him that, I'm going to call him Corey.... spent about four hours with me cruising around and interviewing people. He never said who he was to anyone except to say he was doing a story for the 'newspaper'. Many people seemed disinterested, completely ignorant to the fact they were not being approached by the local ragamuffin tribune or whogivesashit.blogspot.com.....this was the New York Times. Their loss. Truth be told, I was somewhat embarrassed by some of my local brethren at how they were treating him. Some people were just downright rude. It's not supposed to be that way. But some were enthusiastic - despite being slow out with reactions and I'm assuming simply because people were working or what not.
Long story short - when he was through with his work and about to depart southward, he took a deep breath and did a 360 degree turn - but this time, in a way that he was glad to see there was nothing in his usual world he could identify with. It was a great day - and I was honored to even let him drive 8D69; something I never do. I felt it important for him to experience the banana cream deliciousness of being wrapped in yellow from behind the wheel. Boy he drove like a New Yorker though....gas, coast, gas, coast, gas, coast. Just like my brother from Jersey. And with one last breath of silence and a connection with his youth in suburban Long Island, he entered his New York Times car and likely became awash with the daily reality of his life in NYC, and was off like a dash - pedal to the metal.
On day two - I spent a few hours with New York Times photographer Matthew Cavanaugh (www.matthewcavanaugh.com). He shot many many pictures of the car driving through villages, covered bridges, back roads etc. He was an excellent photographer - and the pictures printed online and in print were wonderful. Even the one of me where I look like I'm pondering why an overgrown gremlin is living in my chin and throat. LOL. Yeesh - look like Jabba the Hutt.
I think the reason I am writing this, now that I'm in minute 14 of my 10 minutes of no fame in terms of news of the hour, is two fold. First and foremost - to recognize Corey Kilgannon, who even though will never read this - I am eternally grateful for his time and effort in creating something out of literally nothing. He shared my life and car with the world. It was on NY1 Television News. Click and Clack aka CarTalk via NPR shared it. Even Gavin Mcleod, aka Captain Stubbing of the Love Boat shared it. NYPD shared it. I spoke with Comedian Pete Dominick from the Daily Show and Colbert Report via Skype on Talk America about it. I received many many emails from car enthusiasts and magazines as well as some people who just wanted to tell me they enjoyed the story and my blog. And yes, it made the front page of my local newspaper, the Rutland Herald, for which I am thankful for their sharing. I was surprised most of the comments I read here and there were mostly favorable. A few snarky ones - but that was to be expected....I'm quite used to it and used to people sort of not getting the point that there is no real point to my taxi ownership. But anyways, it is important for a nobody like me, to have something I feel is special - shared in such a medium. I am nothing but honored to have blipped a few computer screens and eyeballs. I never hope to sound narcissistic, I am just thankful for Corey Kilgannon giving my downtrodden car a chance at a renewal of sorts. Sort of like my car wrote a letter home so to speak lol. Another feather in it's cap, after a life of despair and disrespect. A lot of people put a lot of time, money and effort into their cars to improve them. I do too....but in an effort to just keep it the same as it ever was. And I'm thankful that of all the cars, in all the world, that my former New York City Taxi, was celebrated in it's hometown paper - that is read all over the world.
Lastly, I'm thankful for how life works - the lines we draw. The puzzle pieces of life that are put together when we are not even aware of it. .Stop to pick up a penny, and people go around you....altering their course - unaware that it may have saved their life....or made them come in contact with someone they may never have otherwise. Hopefully in good ways lol. Do a story on cars driving through Central Park.........and years later.........you get my drift. All lines in the sand. Waves direct the pebbles, while our feet carve out where they lay, if only temporary.
If only one person follows my travels and rants and gets a slight chuckle out of it, or appreciates my taxi - all this weebly website building will be worth it.
And for good measure......and a GOOD LAUGH.....I present to you.....the worst picture ever of me.
And last but not least, Mr. Corey Kilgannon striking a pose at my request with my lovely 8D69:
And a huge thank you to all my friends and family who put up with my taxi stuff. I try to keep it in check. But on a very deep and genuine level, I appreciate anyone who cares enough to even click on my site from time to time for a brief check in. I type too much - I'm too detailed, and realize in today's world - that reading is an inconvience and pictures/video are most appreciated. ANYWAYS.....thanks to you ALL.