Wednesday, May 15, 2013

narrow death by taxi driver, five nights a week.

The corner where I almost die every night,
as seen by Google Maps in the daytime.
I have a lot of really terrible stories about New York City cabs. Greg once told me I should write a series of essays about my experiences because everything terrible always seems to happen to me. Did I tell you all about the time a cab driver refused to let me out of his car, so I had to jump out and run and then realized I was stranded in East Harlem at 11 p.m. with a dead cell phone?

It's a funny story, I'll tell you about it later.

But of all the crappy things that have happened, I think I've finally settled on my least favorite one: it's a nightly occurrence that happens as I'm walking down 50th and crossing 7th Ave. Because of my work schedule, I don't get to leave 30 Rock until about 11:30 p.m. or later, and for some reason I always either miss the walk signal when I get to the 7th Ave crosswalk, or it changes to 'walk' as I'm several paces away so I have to run to catch it before it turns to 'stop.' I've realized if I don't catch it, the resulting domino effect is that I end up missing the train and have to wait 20 minutes for the next one.

Anyways, so crossing 7th Ave every night is the biggest hazard ever. Cabs make a right onto 7th at that corner, you see, and if there's one thing you learn quickly about New York City cabs, it's that they don't slow down. I've seen a cab cut off an ambulance before--and yes, that ambulance had its siren on.

Tonight, for instance: I see the 'walk' symbol appear from a short distance, so I speed up and step off the sidewalk even before it changes to the blinking red hand, but the line of cabs waiting to turn sure don't give a fuck. They're already turning. I let one driver swerve dangerously in front of me, and then boldly keep walking because, hey--it's my right of way. But then the next cab in line decides, "NOPE, MY TURN NEXT," and makes a sharp right. I run forward and my purse falls off my shoulder into my right hand, and as it's trailing behind me, the cab hits it and I stumble into the sidewalk.

The driver jerks to a stop momentarily to roll down his window and yell at me. I give him the middle finger, he calls me a bitch, and then he drives off.

The only good part of the night was that I caught the train right as it pulled into the station. I still didn't make it home before midnight, but at least I'm alive (and got to flip off a cab driver), right?

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