Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Caught between the moon and New York City

The last time I was here, I waxed poetic in a blog about riding in cabs in New York and my early childhood days in New Jersey.

I will not be waxing anything tonight, much less poetry.

There are two kinds of cabbies in New York: weird, and crazy. I've learned to like the weird (weird? wierd? you decide) ones. They might be strange, but they will attempt to drive as if they realize you do not want to lose your life. That is not the cabbie I got tonight. As soon as I got in the cab, I noticed that he was wearing his seat belt. This is not a good thing. It is the law, in New York and everywhere, that a driver of any vehicle wear a seat belt. This is generally ignored by the cab drivers I get here, and the ones who don't ignore it are generally the ones who drive like they are on suicide missions.

So first, I just decide to watch my hands and observe the miraculous occurrence of my brown knuckles turning white. Then I looked out the window, and noticed signs for the Brooklyn Bridge.

Let me guide you through this story in the present tense.

Now wait a minute. I admit that I can't find my way out of the bathroom in the morning without a map, but I'm pretty sure that of the umpteen times I've visited the financial district in New York, I've never seen Brooklyn Bridge signs. Have I? Have I?

Oh my God. He's a terrorist, and he's going to kidnap me and take me to Brooklyn.

Okay. Okay. Okay. I can handle this. He had an accent, right? It wasn't a terrorist accent. Yes, there is too such a thing as a terrorist accent! What was his accent?? Latin? Middle Eastern? African? South Jersey?

Oh, Lord. Now I can SEE the Brooklyn Bridge. Okay, wait. There's a sign that says, "Brooklyn Bridge Exit Right Lane Only." Okay. We will cruise past that exit and I will feel silly.

We do not cruise past the exit. We exit! We exit right! I am being kidnapped. I wonder where the drop off will occur. And why they are taking me to Brooklyn. I've been to Brooklyn. I have cousins in Brooklyn. They live in a brownstone which is seventeen hundred stories high. I remember getting lost in their house when I was five. Lost. In a house. And now, I am going to be taken to Brooklyn and made to plea for the release of prisoners in Iraq.

I will be stoic. I will screech the National Anthem at the top of my lungs and not cooperate, even when they stick pins underneath my fingernails and cut off my toes. I will be on the news. I wonder if I will be allowed to lie in state in the capital rotunda, for being... for being the first nondescript person of absolutely no importance to be kidnapped outside Penn Station by a South Jersey accented cabbie.

I will close my eyes. Now we are in an alley. This is why I dislike New York. Streets and alleys? Same thing. And also, because people from New York think it is so splendid when really: what does New York offer other than more square footage of ghetto? This would never have happened in Washington. I might live five miles from the Pentagon, but I am certain my demise at the hands of international criminals will occur in Brooklyn. Dang it.

He has stopped. He is pointing. A street is closed. He claims I can get out here, and walk to my hotel. Yeah, right. Another alley. This is where I will be grabbed. I will NOT walk down the other alley to meet the rest of the South Jersey kidnappers.

But I also cannot stand on a street corner and look around. None of these buildings look like hotels, but I don't have a lot of choices. There are other people walking. I will walk really close behind them. I twist my rings around so I can fend off my attacker with my killer hand slap. I clutch my purse. I walk.

I see the entrance of the Wall Street District Holiday Inn.

I am not in Brooklyn. The bridge is over there. I am over here.

Apparently, I can also not find my way around New York without a map. Sigh.

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