Archive for January, 2008
Cab Culture 101
On the streets of Manhattan, visitors are easily detected by the manner in which they struggle to hail taxis: their I-Heart-NY-bag-laden arms flail wildly from the safety of the sidewalk as they direct shrill screeches of “Tax-EE! Tax-EE!” toward any yellow vehicles in the general vicinity—completely oblivious to the sacred code embedded within the rooftop lights.
Resident New Yorkers, on the other hand, remain calm, burying their hands warmly in their pockets until the perfect cab is spotted from afar: the one with the solitary middle light, a twinkling beacon indicating its availability in a sea of taken or inconveniently off-duty rides. They’ll descend upon the asphalt at just the right time, casually salute the driver, and steal the coveted cab from right beneath the tourists’ frostbitten noses.
Then in true cabbie form, the driver will hurl his car into the maze of rowdy vehicles without bothering to see if his passenger is securely ensconced within its interior, leaving him to possibly lose a digit or two. In NYC, that’s what we call karma.
New York’s concrete jungle is populated with creatures unique to the island—umbrella sellers, I-bankers, homeless men attired in saran wrap. But the yellow cab is the one beast that reigns supreme over this urban animal kingdom, preying ruthlessly on all its inhabitants.