First, I need to admit we were obnoxious. Obnoxious as in cringe-worthy obnoxious.
My husband and I grabbed a cab in downtown Manhattan to go to Lincoln Center. We were super late and foolishly thought a taxi would be quicker than the subway. Fools. It was rush hour in the winter so picture crowded streets with self-obsessed New Yorkers spilling into intersections, ignoring traffic because well, they were more important. Great night to be a taxi driver.
Now if you aren’t familiar with Manhattan’s layout, it is one big grid. The majority of the streets run either east-west or north-south. Pretty straight forward. Unless you are a know-it-all couple on this particular Friday night.
“Um, sir, we need to be going north.” I suggest across the bullet-proof divider.
“Ma’am, we need to go around first.” The driver politely responds.
Did I let it go? Have you met me? Back seat driving is a HUGE area of opportunity for me; just ask my husband. So there we were, not-so-quietly mumbling in the back seat about the street choices the poor driver was taking.
Finally, he stopped at an intersection and turned around. “You know, people always think we don’t know where we are going? It’s not like we do this everyday for 20 hours a day. If you don’t like how I’m driving then you can get out!”
Okay. That was not the reaction we expecting and frankly, we needed him far more than he needed us. We also realized that perhaps we were being just a smidge obnoxious. Only later did we admit we were being incredibly obnoxious.
I needed to make nice fast. So what did I do? Small talk baby!
“I am so sorry. Of course you are the expert, we are just a little anxious because we are late.” I humbly offer.
His response… “harrumph”
I try again, “so sir, where are you from?”
Me: “my father is from Pakistan.”
Him: “really? What part? Is he here? How long has your family been here?” and on and on.
With the one connection, the air cleared up and the driver’s tone became friendly and chatty. Turns out finding out you have Pakistani blood has its benefits.
Which, as lovely as that may be, we did not deserve being spared his wrath. As I said in the beginning, we were really, really obnoxious.