“Penn Station!”, we called to the cabbie as we dragged ourselves and our teacher bags into the back of the yellow cab. Exhausted from a day of amazing workshops at TC, my colleague, Karen, and I began deconstructing the day as the cab pulled away from the curb. Suddenly, we were pushed back into our seats by the force of gravity, as our cab seemed to have gone from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under 5 seconds. In traffic. Thus began a white-knuckle adventure of swerving, running red lights, narrowly avoiding pedestrians, and hitting another cab!
We made it from 121st and Riverside Drive to Penn Station in under 15 minutes. As we raced down the narrow, crowded streets, gripping the door handles, Karen kept calling out, “We can slow down a little. Oh my god….oh my god!”
“We don’t need to slow down,” the cabbie retorted, in an unidentifiable accent. “I go slow enough. I give the elderly time to cross the street. If it’s a youngster, that’s a different story. “
“O…k….” we replied. Glancing at each other, Karen and I locked eyes. Is he out of his mind? we seemed to be asking each other silently.
Outside, the streets flew by in a blur. 83rd. 81st. 75th. As I watched the street signs disappear behind us, our driver suddenly jerked the steering wheel to the right, to avoid a van in the midst of turning left. I swear we were a hair’s breath from bumper of that econo-van when it started to back up! My life started to flash before my eyes as Karen and I both screamed.
“Did you see that guy? What is wrong with him? As soon as he turns he starts to back up!” Our cabbie ranted.
Neither of us had the guts to tell him our light was red. And he had run it.
As we pulled up to Penn Station (after crossing 3 lanes of traffic, and almost causing 3 separate accidents), I swiped my credit card, signed the receipt, and jumped out. A young woman quickly grabbed the cab and I almost warned her about the cabbie’s offensive, rather than defensive, driving techniques. But he pulled away from the curb before she had even fully closed the door.
With my heart still racing, I walked downstairs and made my way to the NJTransit side of the station. According to the monitor, there was a train at 3:07pm and 4:10pm. Looking at my cell phone, I realized it was 3:06. As I raced down to the platform, I made it just as the doors closed.
So maybe it was a good thing the driver drove like a man possessed!