Normally when I need to get somewhere and don’t feel like dealing with the stress of taking the subway, waiting for transfers or lugging bags around I call up our local car service. Metroline Car and Limousine Service of Bushwick has been mine and my roommate’s personal rickshaw company for the entire five and a half years that we’ve been in the borough.
We use it so much, in fact, that I can hum the hold music, recite their tag line in both English and Spanish and I know that when they say, “six minutes” it is an arbitrary number that means anywhere between two minutes and a half an hour. Five minutes means five minutes and seven minutes means you’re not getting a car, tough shit, whitey.
Their cars are clean and usually brand spankin’ new. Nine times out of ten you get a run of the mill Lincoln, although sometimes you get a pimped out Escalade or the Love Van; a mini-van with fur interior and a TV tuner. It’s a tough choice between the two when you want to roll up to a party. Do you go for the dramatic step down from the Escalade in slow motion to some dramatic rap song about something you don’t get by someone you don’t know, or do you want to barrel out of the mini-van laughing at the Seinfeld rerun you were just watching? Tough choice, I know.
Anyway, had a big day on the road today and I didn’t feel like being late or dealing with my overpacked suitcase, so I called up Metro, got the six minute go ahead and was on my way in no time. I made it into the city in good time and without incident until we hit 10th Avenue.
10th Avenue is an interesting place to drive. It’s usually free of any major congestion which you’d think is a good thing, but it’s not. In fact, heavy traffic is the only thing keeping the drivers of New York City from breaking down into all out Lord of the Flies cannibalism. When everyone’s locked up and not moving sure they’re upset and angry and honking all the time, but at least they’re not going fast enough to injure anyone.
So when these frustrated drivers come to an open space like 10th Avenue around 28th Street, it seems like the motherfucking Autobahn. Everyone throws their foot down on the pedal and accelerates like a madman. Of course, they all just have to stop at the next light because they sped up too fast, and so the cycle continues ad infinitum.
This series of burnt rubber starts and stomach punch stops continued long enough always results in lane jockeying and close encounters of the side impact kind. This morning was no exception, and just a few blocks from my destination my hired car almost merged with another. There was a brief moment of panic on my part as a collision like that would have had serious repercussions on the hair-do I’d earlier spent several minutes putting together.
The two cars honked loudly at each other though from my point of view there was no fault in either case, both cars had erratically tried to pass the other and move simultaneously into the other’s lane. How two cars can exist in the same forward position after passing through each other is a bit of a quandary to me. A little Heisenberg-esque, perhaps.
After this roadway altercation took place my driver and the driver of the other car of course started yelling at each other as they raced forward and then stopped at the ensuing lights. Fingers pointed, expletives flew and challenges were issued.
Then the guy sped in front of us and turned down a side street, which happened to be the exact street and corner where I needed to get out. This of course led the other driver to think my driver was getting ready to bring this bit of road rage to the sidewalk, bo-dog style and he slammed on the breaks and shot out of the car.
He ran over to us, and honestly, he looked like a cop. Maybe that’s a generalization or a prejudiced judgement call, but I’ve got undercover radar that’s tuned to within an eight of a mustache length after many years of shady dealings in nightclubs and this guy smelled like bacon, dig?
So he was at our window screaming and shouting and of course my guy is shouting right back, I believe they were discussing whether or not to actually move to the sidewalk. All I know is there was a lot of daring going on, which is when the cop looking guy when to his trunk and, I’m not joking here, pulled out a motherfucking BASEBALL BAT.
Seriously, you can’t make this shit up. Mostly because it’s really not that crazy, it’s actually kind of mundane.
Around this point my driver started to reach under his seat and which froze the cop guy, bat in hand, and made me look instantly at my watch and realize I was fifteen minutes late to meet my co-worker. I threw some money at the driver and started out, walking far away from this idiotic stand off.
As I looked back, the two were still screaming at each other, may I remind you over nothing whatsoever, and there was this poor middle aged chubby man in a derby hat and tweed jacket standing in between them. He looked like an extra from the Monty Python Sketch about racing Middle Class Twits. He just seemed perplexed by the complete lack of manners.
Which again reminded me of how rude I was being by arriving late, and I walked away.
Anyway, people get in fights over having fast enough reflexes to stop an accident and we wonder why there’s brutal massacres all over the world every day?
Maybe all they need in Darfur is a congested national highway system so people can get their rage out on the road like us civilized idiots.