Getting to work on time is hard. The trains are unreliable at 5am. The crowds of bleary-eyed professionals are unbearable. The clock is ticking, and that last leg of the journey- the cab ride uptown- can make or break you. But you can’t go it alone- that’s expensive! So you team up with other geographically challenged commuters to lighten the load on your wallet. Ah, yes, the trials and tribulations of the cab share.
Who’s on the roster you ask? It’s a revolving door really. The regulars are:
- Scott The Mouth: You respect him because he’s successful but does this guy ever stop talking? I mean, there is NOTHING he doesn’t know!
- Joe Money: The little guy who is simply a hot mess. Forget fair share- he doesn’t pay like ever. There’s always an excuse- he has no cash, or only big bills, and why would he carry a credit card? Bonus-He’s perpetually hungover.
- Big Jimbo: He is married with 3 kids but keeps a mysterious pied a terre in the city and sits unconscionably close to you “for warmth” without fail. But, it’s ok because he buys your coffee now and then.
- Heavy G: He’s the nicest guy but the slowest walker! He’s like a Teddy Bear and you can’t help but love him, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s well connected.
Each morning, it’s a race from the train to street level. You bust out the train doors and scale the first flight of stairs. You wait patiently at the meeting place for the rest of the crew. Try to ignore the tacky couple smooching their goodbyes, smile kindly at the bag lady parsing through the garbage pail next to you. Once the team has assembled, it’s go time! Stay left on the escalator- who are these people who just stand there and ride anyway? For your pathetic daily dose of exercise, dodge the drugged up homeless people sprawled out in various states of undress and take the 45 steps (with the ever changing ad campaigns glued to their risers) toward the surface- the city awaits.
The sky is neither dark nor light and the AM New York distributors greet you with their booming declarations of yesterday’s news. Does anyone actually read that publication? Masses of human traffic congregate at the crosswalk, waiting for the flashing red numbers to reach zero and the glorious “walking man” to appear like a sign from heaven. This is when your crew splits- it’s a fierce competition to secure a taxi, especially in inclement weather! The “other guys” beat us every time, and inevitably there’s a runner who b-lines it to the cab we were heading toward. I’d be lying if I said there was nary a fight over one of the coveted Scion minivans.
Sometimes the dearth of cabs is so bad you need to walk a few blocks north before you stumble into a tiny Prius for 4 grown people to squeeze into. Sometimes the TV that blares in the back seat refuses to mute and you suffer from the cacophony of Talk Stoop and the Mouth’s rambling of the day. Sometimes the card reader doesn’t work and the driver scorns you with a drawn out honk and makes you return to try again.
But if you didn’t almost get sandwiched by 2 big rigs changing lanes, and your driver didn’t multitask by reading his prayer book while chauffeuring you to the office, you consider that the beginning of a good day. If your Starbucks mobile order works and your iced coffee is waiting on the counter with your name on it when you get there, even better. Now begins another day in paradise!