It was late. Almost ten p.m., and cold… low seventies. The first signs of winter’s relentless approach were upon us, and my wife and I needed shelter and immediate transport. There was only one problem… We live in Brooklyn.
Well aware of the stigma attached to asking a yellow-cab to leave the shimmering promise of big Manhattan dollars, we decided to face the nightmare head on. What we didn’t realize, however, was just how much we were in for. Not a moment after lifting my hand to gesture for a cab, did one make its intentions known via turn-signal. With an almost reptilian maneuver, the driver carefully and conscientiously changed lanes, coming to a gentle halt beside my wife and I. “This guy’s good…” I thought to myself.
As I’ve learned from experience, I waited until the doors were shut, the meter was on, and the driver was approaching full-speed to declare, “We’re going to Brooklyn… Bushwich…” Silence… You could cut the tension with a knife. I became imbalanced, astounded at the audacity of such a bold and chilly response. “You know the area?” I inquired. The driver smiled gently and said, “a little.” To be condescended is one thing, but to be antagonized?! “Well, I know a little of the area, too, so I’m sure we’ll figure it out,” I said, with a tremulous voice.
The driver made his way downtown with a deliberate pace, which I’m sure was meant to provoke. My wife and I exchanged glances containing equal-parts shame and fear. We were waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Just then, it happened. The moment I had been fearing. The driver asked me if I objected to him taking the Williamsburg bridge. “Damn, it all!” I thought to myself. I was had… Forced to admit my ignorance of geography, even pertaining to my own domestic surroundings. “Um, sure…” I stammered. My wife blushed, embarrassed on my behalf. The driver smiled and nodded, as if to say, “I’ve got your number.”
As we sailed over the Williamsburg Bridge, it suddenly became very real. Despite the tension, the condescension, and the passive-aggressive cautious driving, we made it to Brooklyn. The driver, who I imagine was suddenly feeling very coy about his superior knowledge of places and intersections, found Flushing Street Street with ease. When we arrived at our door, I was overcome with euphoria… The long ordeal was nearly over. I was, however, so engrossed in the turmoil of the affair that I forgot to keep my eye on the meter!
With a knowing look, my wife sighed, exasperated, most likely from the harrowing experience, and withdrew her credit card to satisfy the driver’s corporate ransom. In hindsight, I’m just glad that we lived to tell the tale.