Anyway, she gets in and tells me her address, 570 Broadway, "It's in SoHo," Says she.
These addresses always bring to mind a marker in my mind, 770 Broadway, which is the old Wannamaker Building. My middle school was trying to get the second floor of this building to use it for the school, and also when I was just a little boy, smaller than I am even today, my parents would use the bank and I'd sit with little patience in the large bank and stare at the organ player, yes they hired a man to play an organ for the patrons, wow oh wow how banks have changed. They didn't have any bullet-proof glass either. Now of course the bank is gone and in its place is an Ann Taylor Loft. Long story short the address 770 Broadway holds significance in my mind and so I think I can use it as a North Star of sorts to figure how close or far other Broadway addresses are. This method doesn't work very well, it is a mere starting point.
But I suggested to my fare that 570 Broadway may be in NoHo, but I figured she was right. Sure enough I looked up the address in my pages of address references in the taxi drivers hand guide. There is also a mathematical code for addresses for each avenue, but with all of the codes to remember on top of the math that needs to be done, looking the address up in my book is far easier. Crosstown streets are easy to figure out, but streets that go north and south are too miscellaneous. I digress, low and behold her address most likely lay between Houston and Prince, or Prince and Spring. And I hoped beyond all hopes that it would be a big bold address number, large enough to read in a moving vehicle. Usually when a passenger announces a street address at 8 in the morning on a weekday, it is one of these large font, bold numbers announcing to the world that a significant number of people work here. But amongst these larger numbers, are thousands of buildings that only a postal employee can find. All these thoughts danced in my mind as I proceeded up 35th Street and down Park Avenue. And as I proceeded I condemned myself for making the turn to 35th street when I could have taken the highway to Houston and then across. But again who knows which is better, and what is better in who's mind? the highway may be faster, or it may not, and it takes more distance, as the island of Manhattan pulls eastward to accommodate the alphabet of Avenues A through D. So the highway would've pulled us 4 long blocks east making us drive 8 long blocks further on badly timed traffic lights. She says nothing of my inclination to go street all the way, so I figure she isn't bothered. I merely sit on this thought due to her lack of tipping. When we get near the address and I slow down to frustrating speed and she seems to be doing nothing to help me, she then tells me to change the location and drive straight to the Starbucks "Down the street."
Ugh, down the damn street, my how very specific she was. And I remembered being at the Starbucks on Broadway in SoHo. I remembered being at this Starbucks more than once, with my friend who lives just a block a way, but which streets was this Starbucks in between, surely it can't be far, it must be just two or three buildings a way, as she wouldn't want to be late for work. I think, virtually pounding my head for answers, where was it?? near which stores?? they all come and go so fast. The whole neighborhood's rate of rotation for business locations is confounding. "Ohhh it must be on the right side!!" I say
"Yes, it is." short answer without enough tone to judge her disposition. And I slow down to even more confounding slowness. there is much frustration here as it is after 7am, and only the left lane is legal to drive in. The right lane is for busses only. The only vehicles in that lane are busses, police vehicles searching for law-breakers, and cars from out of town who think they found a secret lane until they get ticketed. So in my head now, I have to contemplate how this woman who wasn't even so easy to pick up, is now not even so easy to drop off, I have to spot out this Starbucks 'just down the street' on the right side, as I drive on the left side, which must be rather complicated and stupid to her, then I'd have to cross over the bus lane to safely pull to the side of the street just in front of the Starbucks I eventually did it.
"There IT IS!" I proclaim with great pride. I hit the time off button in advance as usual and the fare comes to a perfect even 11 dollars. I also hold great pride in trying to get riders there in the lowest priced fare they've ever had. Low and behold I receive exactly 11 dollars. Not only did she say nothing to me upon exiting the cab, not even listening to my standard "You have a good one" line that I give each customer, I have no idea what one I am referring to so the phrase fits for all, holidays, days, nights, weeks, but she also was working in SoHo, coming from New Jersey, and wearing big sunglasses, oh yeah and she was buying an overpriced coffee with an over-inflated sense of self. I pondered what I should do to have had bettered the situation. You see I was taught in taxi school, yes we have a taxi school, that we should never talk about, ask for, or demand a tip. It is highly un-professional, and so even when foreign tourists ask what is the right amount to tip, I tell them they can pay whatever they wish. You have to dig deep in a conversation with me to get me to actually come clean with you about what I would like as a tip. Well, if you are a customer that is, I wouldn't dare start or even instigate a conversation revolving around tipping behavior. But for this type of passenger, well, I think the fairest thing to do would to ask her just as she is leaving if there is anything I could've done better, and if she looked at me quizzically I might be as bold as to ask if there was anything I did wrong.Hopefully that would put forward an inkling of understanding in her mind.