It is I, in the backseat of one of the cleanest NYC Taxi's ever, doing chin ups. Plus, it's one of the oldest. And I'm in love with it.
So there I was, on Park Avenue at the Waldor-Astoria Hotel where I had gone to meet up with my friend, Jacqui, who was visiting from England. Having a few hours to kill, we decided to head to a store in lower Manhattan, so, a taxi was the most friendly option in which to travel from where we stood. Being as I am, I went to summon one on my own, without the aid of the doormen and their silly whistles, and got just what I wanted: a beautifully dressed Crown Victoria just dropping some passengers off. Disregarding the doormen's slippery system of cab procurement, I led the way to the waiting taxi and slid into it's cavernous backseat.
Traffic was ridiculous through Grand Central Station, and we had moved about a tenth of a mile and the meter was already on $18....*OOF*. Anyways, I casually talked with the driver, and as I often do, segue'd into my usual interest in his car and asked what the mileage and year of the car was. I thought for sure he would say 2011, but instead, learned it was a 2008, which means it's not too far away from being exactly the kind of car I love. Anyhow, what a great guy - I have a lot or respect for NYC Taxi driver's, it's not an easy job. It is hard work, lots of sitting, lots of stress, and lots of dealing with pretentious and verbally assaultive a holes. But what was most amazing about this driver, as opposed to some of the deaf mutes I've been driven around by, is this driver, Jaime Pulido-Pulido, informed me he had been a driver for 30 years. 30 years! Most places that have employees for 30 years, are given flags and pins to wear....some kind of commendation or recognition. Not so when you're a self employed here one second, gone the next taxi driver. I watched him drive, softly making the car dance down Broadway and I imagined in my mind, that underneath his silent positioning through traffic, that there was nary a street he hadn't been on. I wonder what he has seen in 30 years of driving a NYC Taxi. Really amazing. I say kudos to him - a human MapQuest for NYC. Throw him an address, and that car will point to right where it needs to go, no googling or apps necessary. He wouldn't know this about me; however, my close friends know it to be how I think. When I initially got in his taxi, I told him we needed to go to Spring Street, and asked him if he knew where it was. DUH! What an idiot I am.....of COURSE he knows where it is. I'm so embarrased. Anyhow, here is Mr. Pulido piloting his office, relaxed and at home doing what he does best. Note how clean his plexiglass divider is. In my old taxi, I had to practically take a sander to all the phlegm and snot that was smeared on it.
Best part of the ride though was this: I asked him what he was going to do with his 2008 Crown Vic, which was teetering just over the 350,000 mile mark, just like my 2006 one. He threw his hands forward and motioned he would give it
away/sell it.....move it along. *takes deep breath*. I told him in the car, and I'll say it here now, while on my knees begging:
Dear Mr. Pulido,
Please, and I mean pretty please, with cherries on top and a bucket of whip cream, please please please allow me the
honor, of commandeering your beautiful taxi when the TLC rudely declares it unfit for duty. I do not want a police car. I do not want a low mileage cream puff. I do not want my father's Oldsmobile. I want....7F64. There is no one, and I mean no one, on this earth or beyond, that will care for your car more than I. I mean look at this website....I'm completely insane. I will love,
honor and cherish 7F64 for all the days of my life, through sickness and in health, good times and bad, till death do us part. Mr. Pulido, as the father to 7F64, I am asking you, with all due respect, will you please give your 7F64's
hand in marriage to me? It will bask in the quiet solitude of the green mountains of Vermont. It will be garaged, maintained, washed, waxed, driven and stared at for hours at a time. I will steer your steed of nearly 6 years to places it would never see if not for a nutty son in law like me. Palm trees of Miami, streams of Yellowstone National Park, the Coast of Maine, the deserts of
You can see her anytime you wish. You can take her out anytime you wish. Tap her on the fender. 10 years from
now, when your present 7F64 is a fading memory as you steer the ugly Taxi of Tomorrow Nissan around, instead of feeling nostalgic, you can take the best 7F64 you ever had, out for a spin.
There is no one who will take better care of your car. One thing is for certain, it will never see the confines of a crusher.
When we got to Spring St. and Broadway, he *seemed* to like my pleading negotiation, and handed me a pen and his notebook in which to write my name, number - and this website's address down. But, by the time I closed the door, he hadn't gone 30 feet and a new passenger slid in my buddy 7F64's interior; perhaps I was already a forgotten passenger - #4.580,981 to Mr. Pulido. I shall pray not. Here are the pics as she slipped away....what a beauty.
Even if Mr. Jaime Pulido never was to read this, which I am 99.9% sure he likely won't (same could be said for anyone!) - I say God speed for all his years doing this job. Unlike most people who utilize cab's in this and other cities, I find the occupation itself fairly fascinating - and really, you never get a break. Eyes always darting around, hands and feet constantly having to react - it must be exhausting. I've driven all over New York in my car, after just a few hours, I'm ready to steer it off a cliff, so the fact this man has been doing it for 30 years and is still nice enough to even talk/smile with a passenger, I say - THANK YOU.
As I get older, I have noticed I am less immune to being stricken with sudden emotional outbreaks.
Years of cynicism has kept it in check. But, on this day, I could not help but notice there was no immunity.
Zach Sobiech. 17 years old. Kind hearted. Full of dreams. Brimming with ideas, talent, positivity, hope, acceptance and joy. The word unfortunate is a sick joke when used to explain that all these wonderful attributes of his, are gone. And so is his life. His body ravaged by a rare and uncurable cancer, he has left a void in those who personally knew him too deep to ever fill - and it has extended worldwide. I first read about him on SoulPancake; I’ve learned much about him. I’ve seen the interviews and I even liked his song; but death has a way of shaking your mortalitymometer. He has become more real. And I am very, very saddened by it.
And like the 5 stages of death, I’m angry. As usual, I'm angry at God. I'm angry at people who abuse themselves. But most of all, I’m angry at myself.
How dare I.
How dare I have a bad day. How dare I, be upset at the price of gas. How dare I, get annoyed over trivial day to day matters. How dare I allow myself to be inconvenienced by really anything. Shameful. Unforgivable really.
And how dare you. How dare you spend time wasting away with gossip, hate, moodiness and passion for affairs that never matter in the end. How dare you, try to change whoever you are, or how you look. How dare you, have easily attainable dreams and do nothing about chasing them. And how dare I.
How dare us all.
Last week, millions of us were salivating in wanting to win the Powerball lottery. All Zach wanted, was another day. I’m rich beyond his wildest dreams with the wealth of time and health. I have a bank full of days; often invested poorly. I open my wallet and buy time by the glassful, rarely finishing it, and pouring it down the drain. And for that, I am sorry. How dare I.
I will just let his kind eyes and wonderful song speak for itself.
This section of the site is not specific to my taxi travels. They are not really rants either. It is more of a space for me to simply raise awareness to topics that either inspire or frustrate me as an individual.