A woman comes out of the diner without any accompaniment and she looks directly through my window to me. I had my light on to shine some light on my face, facilitating some eye contact and therefore a fare. I waved her inside and she walked toward the cab.
She stood apart from the other women here, as she wasn’t gifted with a tall and lanky build; other diner patrons tended to be made mostly of legs and they wore clothes that drew so much attention to every other chosen feature that their face rarely drew attention with all the other distractions highlighted. She wore a seasonal sweater with reindeer prancing around the torso and she walked toward the cab with some trepidation.
She opened the door but there was a moment before she sat inside when a man hovered by her. It was unclear how together they were, as I couldn’t determine if he came out with her. The partition enlarges the blind spot in the middle of my car, and the pillar by the rear gives a blind spot too. We taxi drivers quickly learn to complete a wide picture by composing the images of each mirror, so I used the side mirror to grab some visual perspective. He held her hand in gentlemen’s fashion as he said things like: “Did I step out of line earlier?” He asked if he could step inside the car, and her answers never stood firm. I thought the whole moment was cute and I thought about taking a picture of the hands still being held for the moment, unfortunately my camera had lost it’s focusing ability these past few weeks. In romantic terms people always speak of time standing still don’t they? Well, this was exactly the opposite, as he was prolonging time for all of us, while it may have been swirling around too quickly for my poor passenger who just wanted to go home. The moment I thought they’d had with the handholding was becoming more of an encumbrance, a hindrance, a delay. He asked where she lived, and only by her answer did I find the situation funny. She told him she lived, “Over there”, and pointed in a general north direction.
I really thought she’d clear it up, and tell him she’s not going with him, nor him going with her, but she failed to drop the hammer. He was working in a Jedi Mind trick style, persisting to her that she really wanted to go home with him. She sat there on the edge of the taxi sofa between the two environments of cold and comfortable, and then he just insisted he was coming in, her response: “Okay?” Her exact word, as she scooted over to the left side of the cab to make room for his decisive boldness.
So there we were, the three of us in a cab, each not knowing a thing about the other, but for me it didn’t seem all that unusual. I treated it as a normal ride, because it pretty much was to that point. I waited for somebody to give a destination, but she was too caught up in her worries, and he was to caught up in his mission, so I had to remind them to give me a place to go. I don’t move until I get a place, that’s my rule. I usually don’t even start the meter, however this time I did because of all the time taken at the door earlier.
The man tells me, "60 Wall Street."
“Do you want to take the FDR?” I ask. Fortunately he doesn’t give me an answer, and I think better of asking him again. This is my one control on the situation that is otherwise all their own. By taking the Bowery I had more opportunities to change direction, to slow down, and to stop if necessary.
She quickly gives different directions then he does, "No, wait, actually just drop me off home on the way."
"Well, where do you live?" I ask.
And she changes her statement, saying, "No go ahead, never mind."
"Are you sure? So we're going to Wall Street?" I ask. I look at both of them when I ask, so that it doesn’t appear that I’m choosing sides. I am Switzerland, however I did check with her to make sure she really wanted to go on, so the seed has been planted with the guy to let him know I do find all of this rather sketchy.
“Alright you know what! Actually I’ll get off right here,” She tells us both.
“Okay.” I reply, my lungs finally grabbed some air and my heartbeat was starting to return to normal.
“No, no,” says the guy. “Why are you getting off? Come on it’ll be nice, I’m a good guy. Don’t get out here, what’s over here?”
I may have even interjected for the guy’s side at the time, to be on both sides, “Are you sure you want to get off here?” I asked.
“Okay,” She says. “I’ll stay. But I really should get home.”
I was exasperated at how easily this girl was bending, “Look,” I said. “All you need to do is tell me where you live, and I will drop you off.” The scenario I had configured in my head was a pretty typical one: Man and woman first meet, both have acceptable time, girl has to go home, guy obliges, girl gets dropped off no matter where she lives, and guy takes the cab back to his respective home.
She continued to not give her address, nor did she fake an address, so there was nothing I could do. She wouldn’t get out of the cab. She continued to suggest another corner, but the same scenario played itself out. It was at another red light, and fortunately it was a long one. I pretended to be exasperated at the time wasted. The light had turned green, but then the next one turned red and the situation was coming to a climax.
“Fine if you want, get out,” He says, finally convinced that she kept her own head the whole time, and that it was no use. I was elated that the situation was coming to a close, but also nervous as now I’d have this guy the rest of the ride. It was something I pretty much counted on though, hence the playing both sides. I figured we’d smooth it over and just talk about how we’re losers or something. Either that or it’d be silence all the way to his place, which would be fine with me. But she turns it around.
“NO, I’m not getting out. You get out!” She pushed him a few times. Each push didn't actually move him, but it gave him the command to do so, which he obliged. He slid further towards the door, in 3 quizzical scoots until he went and opened that door. Out it swung, and within a second he was standing on the outside looking in, trying his last attempts at convincing her he was an alright guy. She clung to that door, it was her new found friend, and she squeezed the the big taxi handle on it, pulling it to counteract any sudden attack on our border. Seeing that he was about a good 4 inches from the door, close enough to get back inside and far enough not to be run over, I clamped the gas to the floor as the green light at Great Jones watched us through the intersection.
And in conclusion…. part #3 click here.