In April I went to New York with my mom, and her friend, Becky. Becky and my mom have been friends since the beginning of time, or, atleast since before I was born. Becky’s daughter, Lauren, was born the day after I was, and once our family moved away from Wichita, Becky and her husband bought mom and dad’s house…so their lives have been ever-intertwined since. My brother’s going to university in New York and my birthday proved lofty enough excuses for a girls’ trip to NYC, then upstate to see Ben.
Mom and Becky arrive NYC early afternoon. No one affected by AA flight crisis. See empire state building, dine with Becky’s relatives over pizza near Central Park. Back to hotel
Morgan arrives JFK a few hours late at midnight. Taxi line is about an hour long…
And this is where my journal picks up, precisely at the minute that I realize I will be standing in line for none short of 45 minutes, and I need something to occupy my hands and mind so that I can legitamitely ignore the shady men who are pointing to their sleek black cars and insistently letting me know they can take me downtown for just $45…so I start to write.
People say Texans are loud and obnoxious, but atleast if you’re standing behind one in line, you know exactly what they’re thinking. You about the expensive price they did pay to park their car at the airpoprt, and about the snack that they did not get on the plane. You know their favorite grandchild’s middle name, their opinion of the best queso in town, and about their yeast infection that they’re describing loudly on their cell phone to their mother in law, and to the whole world. But in New York, oh, in New York, there is silent animosity. Quiet and pushy women with longer noses and large coats. If Texas is short and blonde, New York is long and Auburn – all shades of it. Everyone who looks my age (plus or minus about 5 years but regardless of gender) wears a hooded sweatshirt, zipped up, underneath a pea coat. This is interesting to me. Texas would have nothing of the sort. We pick (usually) zip-up hoodie and (only on the three cold days of the year) pea coat. But still, we only have one or the other, there is never a need for both. These New Yorkers also take faster, the men dress well, and they carry real (or are they?) designer leather bags. With my linen (dare I say) satchel, thin leather-soled flats, I feel like I scream Texas. May as well call my mom to tell her I have landed and complain about something in loud fashion to fulfill my stereotype.
I finally get in a cab and argue with him about the fare to Manhattan. Turns out he is right. I can’t understand him but he finally points to a sign behind his seat that states the fare. One point cabby. Jextaposed to the sign with the fare is a TV screen. TV screens? in cabs? ok. I will go with it. The screen alternates between showing me the current weather (read: cold) and a satellite map of where my cab is in New York. This seems cool. If I knew where I was I would know that the cabby was taking me down some crazy trail to get to Grand Central Station. But I don’t know that, and naivity is bliss. Cabby is playing some sweet tunes, including “wake me up, before you go-go” and I like the fact that he is rocking his head back and forth to the music. What livliness at 1am! But wait a second, he’s not going to the beat of the music. And come to think of it, I know New York cab drivers are known for driving erratically, but we are clearly going 15mph faster than any other “crazy” cabby on the road. Is this some sort of extreme taxi driving? Well this doesnt seem safe. And what is he doing with his head, anyway? OH. I catch a glimpse of his eyes in the rearview mirror as his head rocks quickly back and forth. He is in and out of narcolepsy. Well this is fantastic. He starts to fall asleep and his head falls forward and then he comes back to consciousness and jerks his head back up. These two actions happen in about three seconds and then repeat in a monotonous (dangerous?) cycle. Head goes down then up.
I am now worried for my life. I contemplate yelling at him to stop the car, and I will get out and figure out how to get to Grand Central Station from an unknown location at now 2a.m. I run the pros and cons, and decide I am at a lesser risk of dying in the car than I would be if I were dropped off on the dark street on which we’re currently swerving around. I think New York City might swallow me. So I stay in the cab.
And I make it to Grand Central Station. Alive! Cabby doesn’t get out of the car to get my bags out of the trunk, but that’s ok. He is probably asleep again by the time I slam the trunk shut anyway.
Not asleep, is my mom. Fourteen floors about in the hotel room my mom is ready with a glass of wine and a travelguide book. I drop my bags and pull out my ream of Google Maps printouts. And we plan for Thursday.