I was no longer homeless, and I had a job. Compared with day labor pushing carts through the garment district, driving a cab seemed easy… and by my standards it paid well.
This evening I had started with two quick fares, each less than five dollars on the meter. Tonight, the weather was pleasant, but having left off my passengers in Little Italy, I now found myself stuck in a single-lane jam on a narrow street. There was another empty cab behind me, so if anyone were to hail a taxi, I would be first in line for the fare. Or so I thought.
Long waits and short opportunities to creep forward make you feel like you will be stuck forever. Eventually, I came to an intersection, but the light turned red. While we waited, the cars stacked ahead crawled forward, leaving a gap. The moment the signal changed, the cabby behind me hit the gas veering his smaller vehicle around my big Checker Cab, claiming first position.
Annoyed, I rolled down my window. His cab number, lit up on the roof display was “4267.”
“Hey, 4267!” I yelled.
He ignored me.
Again I called out: “Hey you, 4267!” Again no answer.
“FOUR TWO SIX SEVEN!” I shouted again.
Finally, frustrated I yelled: “Hey Stupid!”
He rolled down his window, stuck his head out, looked back toward me, and said: “What do you want?”
Taken by surprise, I laughed so hard that I would have been rolling on the floor if there had been room. Totally gratified, I felt more than compensated for giving up first place.
As soon as I got out of the congestion, I headed for W.14th Street for coffee and halavah.