Monday, October 11, 2010

A Lift.

Every once in awhile, a cabbie will shock me by actually getting out of the car immediately at the outset and ferrying my bag to the trunk, instead of a) popping the trunk so that I can hoist in my own luggage, but only after being asked a minimum of two times to open said trunk or b) watching me struggle to lug my bag into the backseat because it has taken too long for him to figure out that he's supposed to pop the trunk, even though we are at a train station.

Sadly, it's so rare for a cabbie to do anything serviceable (in D.C. and N.Y.C., at least) that even the most minimal of gestures seems like first-class service. Wow, you conferred with me on our route AND your cab does not smell like a dead person? You, sir, deserve a 30% tip today!

Today's cabbie stowed my bag promptly and had a largely odor-free cab, so I submitted to the blaring Arab talk radio quite happily, and tried not to get too bothered by the fact that the cabbie's ID was nowhere to be seen (I always assumed the ID is mandatory, though it is not on the NYC cab passengers' bill of rights, which I am just seeing for the first time and finding hilarious).

He muttered something about traffic. I told him I'd been informed that many Jets fans were in the area.

"So thees means a lot of drunken eediots?" he said. Ha, yes, I suppose so, I answered. So there was a game tonight? I figured so, but I don't watch football. Is it a finals game, I was asked? I repeated that I'm not a football fan, that I had been advised about the situation by someone else.

"Is strange thing about being human, that people get so excited about something that has no importance for their lives," the cabbie said. I nodded in agreement, because I have never gotten particularly involved in a sports game, and so I could share his lack of connection to all those people in Jets jerseys, if not his antipathy.

He talked about how people become blind to the things that need attention in their lives and how they become attached to a -- what was the phrase? A crowd... a crowd mentality. Yes.

"It's like with celebrities, people following celebrities ... Why do you want to die for somebody who is not interested in knowing who you are?" This hit slightly more close to home for me. I have taken a not-insignificant interest in celebrities, as a rule. And, viewed from the cabbie's seat, this seems quite pathetic. Since when did Prince or Angelina or George or Jude ever take an interest in what's going on with ME?

"It's a distraction," I say, stating the obvious from the backseat. "It's a distraction from people's problems." The cabbie understands, but doesn't necessarily approve. I momentarily reflect on all the things I'm probably not reflecting on because of my silly preoccupation which such things as the end of Ben Harper and Laura Dern's marriage, or what the hell happened to Josh Hartnett.

I almost wanted to scurry away in frivolous American shame by the end of the cab ride. But the cabbie wasn't trying to be adversarial. He was commiserating with a non-sports fan. Surely I, like him, was focused on What's Important. But I'm not, really.

He pulled into a bank of curb space near Madison Square Garden. "I'll let you off here, but it's no standing. How can we let off our passengers if they won't let us stop?" He smiled and shrugged as he put my bag down. I thanked him and wondered what it would be like to be so relentlessly sensible all the time.

Music: "Pop Life"

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Your post made me think: I've never experienced a cab ride that wasn't an UnCoMo