Wednesday, June 04, 2003 :::
in answer to monday's question, which it seems nobody even read, much less ventured to guess, the number of taxis it takes to get to brooklyn from soho, at least on a rainy saturday night, is 3. this is a true story:
after the after-party for our friends' wedding, for which we traveled to the soho grand, down on west broadway, we hailed a taxi, which stopped for us right at the hotel awning. there was no waiting for this taxi. the soho grand must be a hotspot for the ny elite. anyway, we get in the cab, and tell him where we're going. i glance at the meter, which had just flipped to read 23,832. this was clearly not the right fare, because, a) we had just gotten into the taxi, and b) the taxi was only going accross the manhattan bridge, for christ's sake.
so, when i mentioned this to the driver, he started to mutter incomprehensibly, something that neither pinky nor i could actually understand. we tried to ask the driver:
"if you would take us accross the bridge anyway, we'll give you the 8 dollars we'd give any other driver, as from the soho grand, it should cost about 8 dollars to get to our house."
"i can't take you with a broken meter."
we say, "this is how much it costs. 8 dollars. we'll give it to you, don't worry about the meter."
"i can't take you with a broken meter."
"who's to know, put it in your pocket, don't even report the fare, come on, it's raining."
by this time he has driven around the block and pulled back up in front of the soho grand hotel, and he makes us get out. so we get out, and say hi to our friends we just left, and glad not to have been made to pay $23,832, we hail another cab. which pulls over and lets us in, and, as often happens, starts driving, with the meter running before we tell him our destination: brooklyn.
"no no no! i've been to brooklyn 3 times tonight already!"
"so?, we would like to go to brooklyn, now, too."
here, he gestures wildly toward his fare log, screaming, "no! i've been to brooklyn 3 times. 3 times tonight!"
"so let's make it a fourth"
"no! no! no! find another cab."
at this point he pulls over. and stops. he says, "take that cab. he is waiting for you."
waiting? for us? how the hell does he know about us? pinky says, "no, we're taking this cab to brooklyn."
"we could have been over the bridge by now."
i try, unsuccessfully, to point out we have rights in this cab, the first of which is to direct the destination and the route used. at this point, the cab that was "waiting" for us drives off. our driver pulls up to the next stoplight, still gesturing toward his fare log, as if that will actually make a difference to us. next to us at this stoplight is another cab. "go! go! he is waiting for you!"
so we quickly dash from one cab to the next. whatever.
in this cab, the driver seems fairly perplexed. who wouldn't be, after all. but after we direct him to brooklyn, he starts to moan audibly and shake his head. he reaches over to the passenger side door, and fiddles with the handle. he shakes his head again:
"no, no, no"
"oh come on, the last guy said no. he said you were waiting for us."
"you break it."
we look at each other quizically.
"you break door."
he drives about a block, stops, and gets out of the cab. he proceeds to walk to the passenger door, open and close it a few times, walks back to tthe drivers seat and takes it. he turns to us and screams:
"WHY YOU BREAK MY DOOR! YOU IN RUSH TO GET IN FROM OTHER CAB YOU BREAK MY DOOR YOU BREAK IT NO NO NO WHY YOU BREAK MY DOOR MY DOOR IT BROKE! YOU BREAK IT WHY YOU BREAK IT WHY!"
at this point he seems to break into tears. we say, "no we didn't even touch the door, plus it looks like it's working fine, and, by the way, we're going to brooklyn."
"NO NO BROOKLYN YOU BREAK MY DOOR BROOKLYN AAAUUUUGGGHHH" (the auuuggghhh is exaggerated, but not by much).
"we are going to brooklyn. this is the third cab we've been in in the last ten minutes, and we are taking this taxi to brooklyn. we are not leaving this taxi."
"NO TAXI NO BROOKLYN NO NO NO NONONONONONONNONNONONOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" at this point, the cab is stopped dead in the middle of the street. the rain is pouring.
"sir, we are not leaving this cab until it is in brooklyn. we did not break your door. i have a right to a quiet ride and i would like a quiet ride." (this is all pinky now, as i'm lost in bemusement.
"YOU BREAK IT YOU BROKE IT MY DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRR!"
"sir, i have a cell phone, and i will gladly call the police or the taxi and limosuine commission to make it easier for you to speak with them if you'd like. please take us to brooklyn. we live at the intersection of ___________ and __________."
"you call police?!?!"
"no, but i can, if you like... please take the manhattan bridge."
and he did. and when we got to our house, the meter read "$8.00," as we knew it would.