I turn north, no no, south on Avenue A, then a young man walks up to the cab with a pizza in his hand and a paper plate. He settles in slowly and slurs his words.
“Okay.” Hmm, where is that? "Umm, I’m not sure where that is, Is it downtown?”
“It’s in the Bronx.”
Oh crap, I don’t know the Bronx, I like to get there and then get the --… I like to get out.
“Where in the Bronx?” I asked.
This man seemed rather nonchalant about a trek to the Bronx. Usually when people ask to go to the Bronx, they don’t just stumble into a cab.
“It’s umm, in the Bronx.”
I repeat my question again. And I sigh, this is going to take a while. I might as well kick back with this one, the night rush was coming to a close.
“I’m gonna have to pull over here and look this up on the map, ‘cause I don’t know where that is. I don’t know the Bronx that well.”
“Oh man, oh, I know where it is man, it’s on Broadway. Yeah it’s on Broadway, and, Weehanawken, Avennyouu. It’s on Broadway, in the Bronx.”
Hmm, no shit, in the Bronx you say? “Well I’m gonna have to look this up.”
“Well I got some money here, just get me there. Get me there ok. I got some…” reaches in his right jeans pocket, “four, no six, dollars man.” He must be bragging.
I’m a little concerned to say the least. “Well you can’t go to the Bronx with 4 dollars.”
“How much will it cost to go to, Man- hatin college?”
It’s too early to start estimating fares, “I dunno, it’ll cost 25 or 30, no 35, 25 to 30, or 35, maybe 40, it’ll cost 50. It’ll cost you between 25 and 30 dollars.” Phew, “maybe 35.”
This man was rethinking his life now. “I’m gonna have to call somewa- hey can you get me there and, I’ll pay you, when we get there?” Now he was begging.
“How are you going to do that?”
I’d already suggested an ATM here. I’m not a big fan of being forceful. So I waited it out to see when he would realize he had chosen the wrong mode of transit. He had a cell Phone conversation, but it didn’t last very long.
I volunteered to drive him around the block. While driving I gave a long deliberate repeated instructional seminar on where he can pick up the L train, which side of the street to get in on, which direction the subway should be headed, what stop to get off, and the train to transfer to. So he gets out.
“Thanks man, you’ve been enough.. … more than.. you’ve been helpful more than anybody else today.”
Aww, the poor guy, and he headed into the corner store.
I soon picked up another fare and drove them somewhere very close. She handed me a cell phone, which was left in the back of the cab. Well we all know whom this belonged to. I drove back to where I dropped him off. Sure enough he was standing right in front of the plastic door inside the corner store.
“Is this your phone?” I was a little too close to him; a foot away, he backed away.
It was nice to finally get a phone back to someone. Last year, I threw one in the trash as if it were evidence for murder.