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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Nail Biting Cab Experience

I have been in New York City the last couple of days. Last night I had to catch an evening flight at JFK. I hailed a cab at about 5:30pm and was ready to go to JFK in the middle of rush hour traffic. To get to JFK on a good day… without traffic is about an hour. I would like to point that out now.

After hopping in the cab I make certain that the cab driver knows I will be paying with a credit card. I don’t want any surprises when I get to JFK. He says that’s fine and off we go. We go through a tunnel and get off the highway in Queens. It’s a long stretch of stop lights. At this point my cabby is just weaving and I am getting a little nauseous but not too bad. I crack open a soda to try and calm my stomach.

All of a sudden someone cuts us off and we come to a screeching halt. We then speed up and tailgate this lovely cutter-offer-person. We then find ourselves at a stop light. I am now popping gum because I heard that mint also settles your stomach. All of a sudden, the driver throws the car in park and opens his door, get’s out and leaves it open. I am in the middle of Queens. This is a place where there are bars on the ground floor windows. I am freaking out! Is someone going to hop in and take off with me in the car? Why oh WHY doesn’t TSA let you travel with pepper spray so long as you are sweet and innocent and promise to only use it to defend yourself? I am feeling pretty defenseless right now.

The cabby goes up to the car that previously cut us off and b*tches him out. The other guy gets out of his car and they look like they are about to get into a brawl. Again, I am freaking out and popping more gum and chugging my soda in hopes I just calm the heck down. Now I am having thoughts like “What if I get stranded in Queens?” “Will I have to figure out how to take the bus?” “Can you hail a cab in Queens at rush hour?” All of a sudden the light turns green. They don’t realize until all the cars around start honking. They quickly get back in their respective vehicles and they are off.

It is ON! It’s a battle and they both think they are Mario Andretti. What the heck did I get myself into? We are doing zero to 80 and back to zero in a matter of a few hundred feet. I yell to the cabby “I just may be sick!!” He rolls down my window and tells me in broken English “You be fine!” The cabby is so determined to beat this guy at rush hour racing that he just doesn’t care if I yak all over the back seat of his car.

Finally we get back on to the highway but first, the cabby decides to cut across a few lanes with out looking, to do it. He almost hits two motor cycle street bikes. One sped up to get by us and the other, thankfully was able to hop over to another lane. That really pissed me off! I have a family of motorcycle riders! Drivers of vehicles need be careful in the summer months and make sure they check every where before changing lanes or making turns.

We go through a toll now. I notice he pays cash. He then turns to me and says that I can pay credit card for the ride but needs to be cash for the toll charge. I told him that we agreed to credit card when I got in and that’s how I’d pay. I had cash but wasn’t about to cooperate with this maniac. “Fine. You add it to my tip then.” I’m thinking “You think you are getting a tip? HA! That’s cute.”

We continue on the free way in his normal floor-it-only-to-slam-on-the-breaks-later method of driving. I am shocked as hell I haven’t lost my lunch yet. I finally see signs for the airport and manage to mutter a “Thank you God!” under my breath. He asks what airline I was using. “American Airlines!” I say.

Well, American Airlines is a few terminals in. We blow through a few terminals and he doesn’t bother to stop for anyone in the cross walks. In fact, a few people saw him coming at full speed and scattered out of our way. As we drove by with my window down, I feel like the jerk and mouthed “Sorry!” to the people who had just crossed and were staring down the cab.

We finally pull up to the curb and I swipe my card and enter his “tip” manually. I make sure he has my luggage out of the trunk before I get out of the car. I take my luggage and look at my phone for the time. We made it to the airport in UNDER 50 minutes in RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC!! Like I said, this guy is a maniac!

I take a moment to get my bearings and make sure I am not gonna puke before walking by the only trash can I can see. I head inside, get through security and find a cute bistro where I plop myself at the bar, order a glass of Riesling and an artisan cheese plate and I am instantly calmed. Thank goodness that was over with!  

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