Smack Down With A New York Cab Driver

Yeah, that's right. I brought it, baby. 

So last week was my first trip to NY and I admit I harbored biases of dirty streets filled with muggers and crazy people and subways filled with gangs.  Saw none of that. Admittedly, we stayed with the tourists, but I felt safe every place we went, including the subways. The point being, however, that I was nervous about being in NY and especially the fact that I had to catch a cab on my own from the airport to the apartment where I was meeting my best friend. But I left La Guardia and found the taxi's and directed the driver to the address in Chelsea.

My friend warned me to be specific about the address.  For example, it was #42 8th Ave, not 42nd and 8th. I also had a cross street name. So I give the address and the driver pulls up to 42nd Ave. "You get out here," he says. (He was from India, I believe, and spoke only broken English).

"No, this is 42nd Avenue," I said. "I need number 42 on 8th Avenue."

"Yes, yes," he said, gesturing. "42 and 8th. That way. You walk."

"Not 42nd avenue," I said. "8th Avenue.

"8th Avenue?"

"Yes." I pointed at the slip of paper in my hand. "I need 8th Avenue, building number 42."

He screeched away from the curb and started yelling. "I can't believe this! What you are doing to me? What is this? I take you where you say and now you change. This is unbelievable!"

I remained calm and repeated to him my mantra. "I need number 42 on 8th Avenue."

"You tell me wrong! You tell me wrong!"

Now I'm stressed and pissed. "I did NOT tell you wrong," I shouted back. "I told you exactly where I needed to go - 8th Avenue, cross street Humphry. I told you it wasn't 42nd and 8th!"

Once I got loud and shouted back he immediately backed down. "Okay, okay. Maybe I misheard."

"That's fine," I said. "Let's just find 8th Avenue."

We weren't far, and a few minutes later he pulled up to what was indeed the corner of 8th Avenue.

"There for you," he said. "8th Avenue."

"This is the 400 block," I said. "I need #42."

"Yes, 8th Avenue. You walk."

Forget it. I have no idea how long a NY city block is or if we're really even close and I've got my luggage with me. "I'm not walking that far," I said.  "Can't you just drive to #42 and let me off there?"

He's upset again. "What is this? You are here! You walk to building."

I sat in back and crossed my arms. "I'm not getting out. I want #42 8th Avenue."

Okay, this guy hates me now. But he streaks down 8th Avenue like demons are chasing him, all the while muttering, "I am off work now. I have a home I need to go to," and the like. Finally, he gets me like 2 blocks away and I agree to get out. I believe we both wished good riddance to the other.

Far from being upset by the experience, once it was over I rather enjoyed it. I got into a fight with a New York cabbie and won. Very empowering stuff. More tomorrow.