Friday, December 23, 2005

"It's your lucky day."

It was indeed my lucky day.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the odds were stacked against me. Seven miles separated me from my destination of West 31st Street and 8th Avenue and I had to be there by 11 am. It almost sounded like a bad premise for a reality television show.

Transit Strike! Will our lucky contestant, Ms. Post No Bills, reach midtown Manhattan with only a spoon and some duct tape? She only has two hours to do it! Tune in and find out if she makes it!

So, faced with this insurmountable task (sans spoon and duct tape), I leave my apartment and start walking towards the LIRR station on Atlantic Avenue -- a trip that normally takes 40 minutes on foot and not accounting for the wheely suitcase I was now dragging up Flatbush Avenue.

I made it all the way past Grand Army Plaza and my arms were killing me. Reality is settling in and I realize what I really need is a ride to Manhattan. Spotting a yellow cab ahead of me that had no one in it, I motion to the driver. "Manhattan?" I ask. The cab driver, Igor from Russia, nods and comes to help load my suitcase in the trunk.

Now Igor is an interesting guy. I haven't been in the cab three minutes before Igor turns the cab around and heads the opposite direction of Manhattan. "Don't worry," he says in heavily accented English. "I've been driving the cars for twenty-six years." I assume this means he's been a cab driver for the last twenty-six years -- nearly as long as I've been alive. We zoom through the back streets of Park Slope, over the Gowanus Canal, and then meander through Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights. Though I enjoy the architectural tour of historic Brooklyn, I have doubts to whether this winding route to the Brooklyn Bridge has saved us any time. At least I'm not walking, I remind myself.

As we get closer to the Brooklyn Bridge, I wonder if Igor is going to pick up any more passengers. There are strict HOV rules for the bridges entering Manhattan and a car must have at least four people in it. Igor and I only make two. But as we drive over the bridge, it's obvious that we've somehow circumvented this rule. I'm not sure what sort of gang sign Igor flashed the cops who were filtering bridge traffic, but we make it into Manhattan despite the rules. Fifteen minutes later, Igor drops me off at West 31st and I give him a $10 tip.

It's only 10 am and I've successfully completed my challenge. My next two tasks are very important -- obtain cash and coffee. Down on 7th Avenue, there's a bank next to a Starbucks. Score. I get cash out of the ATM and then go and order some coffee next door. However when I go to pay, no bank card. My heart stops as I realize that I left my bank card in the ATM next door. Shit! I rush next door thinking it has to be gone when I see a cop holding my card. "That's mine!" I squeal. "Thankyouthankyouthankyou."

So, the resolution of the story is that I got my bank card back, got on the bus to DC, and made it back to the Nation's Capitol intact. Three days of transit strike and I am exhausted. And of course I hear that the strike is over now that I am in DC.


Tara said...

lucky you with the atm card! I've left my atm card in the atm TWICE this year after never doing this before. fortuantely, if you're going to lose anything, lose your atm card in the atm. annoying and inconvenient, but you're not likely to be robbed of money.

nycrouge said...

Well seing how my ATM card is also my check card, someone other than that cop could have taken it and gone Christmas shopping. I got really lucky.