June Renew: Day Twenty Seven
I just got back from a nice afternoon lunch with my dear friend I haven’t seen since she had her baby. It was great to catch up. And it was sincerely the first time I’ve been out of the house for something other than work in thousands of years. She doesn’t live in my borough anymore, it’s the suburban life for her. We joked about how there ain’t much out there in Manhattan these days, even though plenty of people are apparently still having fun. We said our goodbyes and see-you-laters, and I began walking home. Somewhere down the line, I felt I needed to be driven to my destination instead, so I called for an Uber. Despite being “one minute away” for five minutes and not answering my call, I figured he was stuck somewhere so I canceled the trip. I stood on the sidewalk with my book out, reading while standing and contemplating how I’d get home. I had accidentally left my credit card at work and gave over all my cash to my friend. Luckily I still had an app on my phone where I could pre-pay for a cab, so that’s what I ended up doing.
It’s so easy to catch a cab in Manhattan these days. There isn’t a lot of them, but they’re almost always free. Except on rainy days, but it’s been like that for centuries. I used to like catching a cab, knowing it was about to take me somewhere new or drive me home. But now it’s like a last resort. It’s too expensive. And there’s always so much congestion around Midtown. It’s like they’re purposefully trying to make driving in New York City unpleasant so they can take away your cars and force you onto city bikes. Now they want to tax us for driving from one end of the city to the other. It’s an entirely unsustainable situation. But during my cab ride today, none of it mattered.
I don’t put a seat belt on in my cabs. I grew up not doing it. I never thought it was a requirement, and I’m not sure if some of the 90s-era cabs even had them. It’s cost me a few bumped knees and getting squished between the seatbacks when the driver stops short. But being unglued in the backseat of a cab is how I know I’m truly home. I hopped in this guy’s cab who confirmed to me I could use the Curb app. So there I sat, no seat belt at all, pulling out my book and just reading for a bit. There was a lot of midtown traffic, so I knew I’d be there for a while.
I was glad to feel this special moment between me and New York. It became a novelty, suddenly. A glimpse of what I remembered about being happy in Manhattan, and what it means to be that girl who’ll catch a cab rather than walk the few city blocks home. I suppose my lack of seatbelt takes me back to the risk it is being a single woman in Manhattan. There’s so many ways to feel vulnerable in this city, and stories like mine aren’t often heard. It takes a lotta b*lls to be here as I am amid the growing dangers around me. But I felt safe in my taxicab, even if it was only for a mile and a half.
I got out of my twenty-dollar, fifteen-minute ride and was home safe and sound. I don’t think I’ll be using taxis much anymore, though. It’s just too expensive. Plus I can milk the Uber system by requesting a shared car in the morning, and get my rides for much cheaper. Things are changing around here, and fast. I’m glad to have had my moment to remind me there’s still a bit of Old New York that needs saving too.
By the way, I don’t wear seatbelts in my Ubers, either. Maybe that’s why my rating is so low.