The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

UGH I’m never taking a Taxi Again. EVER. May 28, 2010

Last weekend I booked a bus down to Baltimore to visit the fam. It was scheduled to leave at 7:15 from Penn Station, so I left work at 6:15, went up to my apartment, and got my stuff together to go.

Usually I’m a pretty on-the-ball sort of gal, but for some reason I found myself being pretty spacey. I poured myself some juice and thoughtfully drank it while looking at the skyline out of my apartment window. I gazed about my room, checking for anything I forgot. I took some time to pet Matteo. I mean, how could I not? He’s so adorable when he dumps himself on the floor and looks at me for a belly rub. By the time I got out the door, it was 6:50. Ack!

The definition of insanity is trying something over and over and expecting to get a different result. Well, obviously I’m insane. I’ve had this idea in my head that taxis are faster. That if I’m late, I should just wave my hand at a cab and go. Why do I think this? Taxis always end up getting snarled in traffic, and because they are snarled in traffic, they end up costing you at least six times as much as taking the subway.

Anyway, taking a taxi seems like it’s so much easier, especially when you have a suitcase, a garment bag, and a big tote to contend with. So I waved my arm at a taxi, dumped my stuff in the back, and climbed in. “33rd and 7th Avenue, please.” I pulled my new sunglasses (post about those coming!) down over my eyes and opened up my kindle on my iPhone to read.

The traffic started almost immediately. Fifteen minutes later and we were still in the 70’s. I tried to be zen and just read, but it was getting close. At the 60’s, it was past 7:00. At Columbus circle, the young Indian driver said, “Can I drop you off at Times Square?”

“Times Square? Uh, that’s nine blocks from my destination. No. You can’t.”

“Well, it’s just that Time’s Square is now closed to traffic, so I will have to go around.”

I looked at him for a moment, supremely annoyed at him and New York City. I was mad at what in the moment I perceived at his idiocy – hello, why not tell me this earlier? I was mad at New York traffic (caused by all the people who were in all the other taxis). And I was mad at NYC for putting in the pedestrian area at Times Square.  And then it clicked. If I had been looking in at my predicament from the outside, I would have clucked and said, “You stupid fossil-fuel burning, environment trasher. You wouldn’t have this problem if you had taken the subway. Serves you right that you have to go around one of the best initiatives New York City has done in a while. Maybe next time you’ll avoid a cab.” In short, I was being a total hypocrite.

I was still annoyed though.

“Let me off here,” I ordered. “No, here. I mean pull over. Like, now.”

The taxi cab driver seemed confused, but managed to make it to the curb. I jumped out to grab my stuff and leaned in to hand him some money.

“Excuse me,” he started.

I looked at him. “Yeah?”

“You, uh, you look,” he gestured at his face, “very pretty with your, uh,”

“I’M LATE.”

“Sorry,” he said, withdrawing. I slammed the door and marched away to the subway. I immediately felt bad. That poor guy was just trying to give me a compliment, and here I was, being a typical New York biotch. That is not me.

So I am not going to take a taxi again. I know it’s going to be hard. At three in the morning, after I’ve been drinking and my eyelids are closing, there is nothing I want more than someone to drop  me off at my front door. But taxis not only spew carbon, they honk all the time, they play a game of chicken with pedestrians and cyclists and other taxis, and they make the air in New York taste like grit. Not to mention the unnecessary expense of paying $20 to go fifty blocks when you could pay $2.50.

After I got on the subway and took it three stops to Penn Station, I just barely made my bus, thank goodness. No more taxis for Alden!

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One Response to “UGH I’m never taking a Taxi Again. EVER.”

  1. My one quibble with your post is that the cabs are going green, if slowly: http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/22/news/hybrid_taxis/index.htm

    I know when I’m in NYC I tend to avoid cabs with two exceptions, when I arrive and leave. That might be because I pack heavy and simply cannot drag 2 big suitcases through the subway and up and down stairs easily.


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