A mighty woman with a Crown Vic, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name, Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand, Glows world-wide welcome; her
mild eyes command, The air-bridged harbor that twin cities
When one is downtrodden amidst the concrete staging of New York City, it is invariable the only saving grace for worn feet, is the warm refuse of a yellow knight. This was the case on this day, when I felt it to be a physically responsible decision to hail a taxi on 10th Avenue and 57th Street.
Out of the invisible fog of chaos, there approached a Crown Victoria, it's right blinker serving as a beacon of light, or eye wink of sorts, as if to communicate to me "I got choo bro". Sighs of mental relief echoed in my frontal lobe as this hero of the street came to whisk me from my waried weariness. And so it was, as 5J42 rolled up next to me in a gentle roll, as if readying itself to be tied to a dock. I opened the door, and allowed my parties in tow entry into it's innermost sanctity. But alas, things seemed different. Now, I've ridden in a lot of cabs before, all blending into the next as is customary for some utilitarian experience, but in this instance, some mysteries were about to unfold. First off, I noted the driver spoke perfect English, devoid of any hint of birthright elsewhere, secondly, the driver said HELLO, and thirdly, a distinct audible sensation in the driver's voice, that hinted of motherly instincts. ALAS.....as I looked through the partition glass, to what was revealed to be one of New York City's rarest specimens; a female driver. I hate to say that, as if people keep count of such things, but one must admit, it is a noteworthy discovery. I would have named this discovery; however, I learned her parents beat me to it, and thus she was already named: Erin Samuelsen, AKA The Girly Cabbie. A part of her must get so sick of people always commenting about it.
As I gave my destination, 9th Avenue and 36th Street, we rolled up to gentle speed, and in doing so, I asked, as I always do, about the mileage of the car and my usual segue into my ownership of similar automotive grace; it's damn near a script. 100% of the time, a driver either doesn't give a shit at all, or, feigns some sort of interest. Actually, let me make that about 80%, because there has been a few who were captivated by...wait, not captivated, but rather mildly interested/amused in my tales. Which is fine I might add, I have to remember at times, that this is their WORK, it would be like someone saying to me they bought an office chair from my office and really love it and write stories about it lol. Anyhow, on this occasion, once I revealed to the driver my idiocy, she actually proclaimed, to my utter surprise, to having read my blogs, with what I am hoping was an approval rating of at least two thumbs up. I was like 'no way!', she was like 'yes way!'. I mean, not like she had pin ups and posters hanging in her room of my car, but seriously now, one must admit, that hearing that, is like opening a package of Chuckles to share with a friend and they inform you they like the green one. Yes!
Now, I can't put in words the giddiness I had in my heart over finally meeting someone who actually has at least some knowledge of my taxi's existence. At least beyond those of whose throats I shove it down. Many of my friends are sick to death of it. Anyways, Erin told me she too, has a blog, which naturally outtrumps mine since SHE IS a NYC Taxi Driver, and gave me the info: www.girlycabbie.blogspot.com . More on this in a bit.
As we were gabbing away, she was the maestro conductor of her cab, making the car dance from lane to lane with smooth grace which served as the strings section for her orchestra; the blinkers serving as a light drum tap. At times, her hands would summon the horns section when things got dramatic on the road - and executed with precision. You could feel the raw emotion of her genuine frustration each time a shithead would pull in front of her. Effortlessly, 5J42 would lead the pack and bear down on slower moving cars, the tick tock of the tires against potholes and cracks serving as the tympani. Instead of a medallion number on her roof, there should be a Treble Clef.
Seriously, what a great trip. She was very friendly, and an excellent driver. You see, Erin gets it. Yeah, in a city of 9 million people, there are going to be many occasions you're going to pick up a self absorbed dickhead. But, what so many taxi drivers fail to understand, is that a NYC Taxi ride, really is so much more to so many people who climb in them. They are not *just* transportation to people. If you decide to think that you are nothing more than a rude ride, then that is exactly how you will be treated - and so will others. I know it comes as a GREAT SHOCK to some, but most of the people riding around in cabs, are um....this funny thing called visitors and tourists. (And quite frankly, most of NYC's residents, are big shots from Kentucky and Lake Wallapalooza who just moved there anyways). Riding in a taxi for a tourist, is often the one chance where it feels safe enough to talk to someone who knows something, about some stuff....in NEW YORK. I've written about this before, with my first taxi ride in New York back when I was a kid. I still remember him and I still remember the car. I've had so many dickhead taxi drivers in my life, and it's a shame, because I'm a big tipper dammit! LOL. Alright, enough about that. My point is, Erin did everything right. She was safe, alert, friendly, and got me to where I wanted to go without feeling like an inconvenience. So many more taxi drivers could learn a great deal from her, especially if they rely on tips. Hey, I'm a cop, and I've had a lot of shitheads in the back of my cars through the years that I didn't particularly like, but I still was friendly to them if they did decide to talk. I mean, it's fine if you don't, but really now, how often does a friendly taxi goofball like me climb in your car? Not often.
Once we were dropped off, we snapped a pic, and I skeedaddled back to Vermont. When I got home, I naturally checked out her blog and to be perfectly honest, I was pissed off and embarrassed that I didn't have any knowledge of her write ups, because I thought I had seen them all. Typical google - put the bullshit and long closed ebay auctions on page one, and the good stuff on page 10,000. Anyhow, it's a wonderful blog of her adventures - nice little stories; I highly recommend them. There is no bravado or exaggerations of nuttiness, just simple pure stories of her travels. Check them out! www.girlycabbie.blogspot.com
When I got home, I told my Dominican Diva I had met another woman in New York and showed her the pic. She told me "that's nice, will you go to the store please I need some moisturizer and hair product." I was like, "hey, excuse me, did you hear what I said? I said I met another woman and we are both taxi afficionado's!" Ori simply said, "hurry, the store closes in 15 minutes." Okay, gloves off time, I told her "look, I'm sort of a superstar okay, she's read my stuff and she likes 8D69" - Her response: "14 minutes now, get going".
5J42 idles down amidst police vehicles, completely confident despite the fact it actually had a headlight out.
And off into the night, the yellow knight rides to summon the poor, the wretched, the tired, the blah blah blah. Makes me sad this last year 2011 Crown Victoria will be done as a NYC Taxi in one more year, and likely squished not to many years after. Maybe.....just *MAYBE*, Erin will buy it, paint it pink and take it out on the open road. And now, she will have pics of it while it was a New York City Taxi. Her steed in the wild west of the east.
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.