Every New Yorker knows how important it is for your cab driver to take the shortest and the quickest path to your destination.
So on my way from Washington Square to Upper West Side, my cabbie takes 6th avenue up – that would raise anyone’s eyebrows. But when he is starting to make a left turn on 47th street, I can’t help but scream out: “Are you really taking me through Times Square???”
As we are stumbling through traffic among other cabs, vans, ridiculousness (pardon my judgment) of stretched lemos and big eyes of overwhelmed visitors, I am fuming. “What was he thinking?”, “This is outrageous”, “How dare he be so disrespectful of my time” and even “How unprofessional of him” – the guy is about to get it from me.
…Suddenly my mind stops for a second, as if I get pulled out of my head into the space from which I can watch my cab, Times Square and my upset self from the outside. And I realize that I don’t know who this person taking me home is, how long he’s been driving in Manhattan and what kind of day he had. And I can also clearly see different paths in which my life can unfold from this moment on – like me giving him a passionately condescending speech and then being upset myself for the rest of the evening; or him throwing me out of the cab in the middle of Times Square; or me joking with him about the hurdles of New York City driving; or finding out where he is from; or just not saying a word.
When I land back into the back seat of the yellow cab, I’m no longer upset. There is nothing to do or to say, just to acknowledge that sometimes I can feel so much, at the moment it seems so true and wants to get expressed so fast – but it’s better to keep it to myself.