Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My Carrie Bradshaw moment

It wasn't difficult to find a taxicab on the Upper East Side late this afternoon. The streets were empty. Empty yellow taxis were in abundance. Gypsy cabs were beeping their horns trying to get in on the action. But trying to find a driver who was willing to take me to Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street was not so easy. Apparently, Fifth Avenue was closed, and Park Avenue was bumper to bumper.

I decided to try my luck at the bus stop on Second Avenue at 79th Street. And sure enough, within minutes, a yellow taxi stopped in front of me, and it didn't drive off when I leaned into the front passenger window and said, "I need to get to midtown."

"That's two zones, you know," the cab driver said to me.

"Whatever," I said, "Just get me there."

There was already a passenger in the back seat. A man, who was going to Park and 57th. A man who was wearing a seatbelt, which is not something you see every day in a New York City taxi. He unbuckled his seatbelt and slid over to make room for me as I got in.

He was about my age, if not just a few years older, and remarkably handsome - which also is not something you see every day in a New York City taxi. He buckled himself in once again, all the while talking on the phone and fiddling with his handheld. I pondered for a moment what the proper etiquette is when you're sharing a cab with a stranger. Thrown together in the backseat of a cab that you're forced to share, do you make small talk, or do you stare straight ahead? Do you occupy yourself with "business", like an actor, to avoid the issue altogether?

I checked my watch and then my cell phone. I looked over at my cab-mate, and he was still deep in conversation. Thirty seconds had passed. I reached into my bag and found some lipstick.

"So," my cabmate turned to me, "What are you doing in midtown this evening?"

"Teaching a couple of classes. Yoga classes. And you?"

He explained that he had been working from home all day, due to the strike, but he was leaving tomorrow for his country house in Southhampton, so he wanted to spend some time in the office. Besides, he had a holiday party to get to in midtown later on. I asked what he did. He told me he was in private equity - buying companies and running them. He said that he would like to try yoga, but he wasn't flexible. He played a lot of tennis on the weekends. I told him yoga might improve his tennis game - might make his reaction times faster.

He asked me if I had caught the cab near my apartment. When he told me he lived on Park Avenue, I wasn't surprised, despite that he was cabbing down Second. He told me that he hadn't left the Upper East Side all day. "Same here," I told him, adding that I was surprised to find myself sort of kind of half-enjoying the strike because it afforded me an extra couple of hours in the morning to relax with my kids before taking them to school. His girls are in their teens, so he didn't share the sentiment. Besides, they go to Spence, which already finished its semester.

He asked me where my yoga studio was, and when I told him, he reminded me that Fifth Avenue was closed. I considered that for a moment and said that maybe I would get off where he was getting off and walk the rest of the way. We chatted amiably, even animatedly, as the cab driver drove, as we picked up another passenger (a man, who sat up front and was heading to Penn Station), as we turned down 57th Street. We talked about office politics and yoga studio drama and office politics versus yoga studio drama. I explained that I was familiar with both since I had been an attorney for 12 years before venturing into the world of yoga, and that office politics pale in comparison to some of the stuff that goes on in the studio, even when you teach for the love of teaching, as I do, rather than in order to earn a living.

When the cab finally stopped to let him out, my cabmate paid the driver his fare and asked me if I was getting out as well. But noting that the traffic was moving fairly smoothly now, I thought that perhaps if I took the taxi even just a little bit further, I might have time to practice a bit before teaching. "Nah," I said, "I think I'll see how close to the studio this guy can get me."

"Would you mind letting me out on your side?" he asked me politely. I was seated on the curb side of the cab. Very safety conscious, this man. I got out and held open the door of the cab for him. As he got out, he leaned toward me. "You know, I'm paying for your ride," he said as he slipped a folded twenty dollar bill into my hand.

"What?" I stammered, dumbfounded..."Why?"

"I'm incredibly wealthy." he said, without a hint of irony.

I just stood there....twenty dollar bill in hand...what else was there to say other than "thank you"?

YC

8 comments:

Ashtanga Oz said...

That is such a Carrie moment! The man not leaving details is even more appealing...haha. Is it hot in here? ;)

Anonymous said...

Wow! That was nice of him. I think I would have gotten out to see where it went. :)

Beth

yoga chickie said...

Yeah, I hear you...but Carrie wouldn't...she would end up running into him again outside the Stanhope (if the cafe weren't closed for renovations)...

Anonymous said...

You're right...

Beth

Anonymous said...

Is this story true? Was he single? Probably not. I should give you some of my business cards.

Desperately seeking......Jill

yoga chickie said...

Totally true. Totally not single. I considered this the equivalent of having a man pay for a drink in a bar. Either that or conversation prostitution...

Lauren

JIll said...

Well, whatever it is...still a lot of fun. They say that someone might find true love during the strike and all this cab sharing. Maybe they should make this cab sharing a law during rush hour all the time. Then some of us single people have a chance of meeting besides on-line. :)

Your crazy sister in law

yoga chickie said...

I totally agree - the cab sharing would mean more available cabs during rush hour (at least it seems that way right now - never have I seen so many "available" cabs).

Crazy is as crazy does, from one crazy to another!

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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.

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