The overwhelming image of New York City cab drivers paints a picture of road rage and oblivious indifference, something shoved somewhere in between a NASCAR Race and a video game. Only in Midtown Manhattan there are no pit crews, caution flags, or pause buttons.
Now this is of course a very stereotypical portrayal, and isn’t always the case. But as I like to say about stereotypes, they are based on some degree of truth. And today, that degree was roughly 360, as that’s what my stomach and heart were doing while we raced down 9th Avenue.
When my cabbie picked me up near my building, I noted his leather driving gloves. And based on the way he operates his yellow machine I estimate he burns through multiple pairs per shift.
He beat his horn like it owed him money, cut in and out of lanes like a Running Back, and accelerated into red lights. He stopped short so often, there was enough rubber left on the road to open a profalactive factory.
Now for those that have had the distinct fortune of being a passenger in a vehicle I’ve operated, there might be a question as to how qualified I am to offer driving advice.
But trust me. This was bad. I almost lost my lunch, and hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet.
I actually did not tip him. Not a dime. And for someone who’s worked as many shifts in a restaurant as I have, not tipping is near criminal. As destitute as I’ve been at times during my struggle through the ranks of local news, I’ve always prided myself on being an above-average tipper. But in this case, he should have been tipping me, just for not calling in his medallion number.
When I exited the cab (curb-side, of course), and a woman approached, ready to inherit my position as passenger, I actually smiled at her, and remarked “Enjoy.”
Because I didn’t.
Maybe next time I walk.