January 8, 2010

Fact is Better: The Best NYC Cab Driver In the World

My first time in NYC I caught up with a couple of friends who took me out to see the town. 

They'd been living there for years and they swear that they'd never had a taxi drive quite like ours.

But with me - these situations happen all the time . . .

*we hail a taxi and climb in*
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: “78th street, please.”  *his phone rings* "Hello?”
Best Cabbie in the World: *smirks from ear to ear* “OH, HELLO!”
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: “Who is this?”
Best Cabbie in the World: “Yes. Who is calling please?”
The Wonderful Soon-to-Be Mrs. Katz: *looks over at me. Her eyes big, her mouth tightening into a thin line as she holds back her laughter.*
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: “No, listen, I am in a very important . . .
Best Cabbie in the World: “Very important!”
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: “ . . . meeting right now. And I can’t talk.”
Me: “We’re a very important meeting?”
Best Cabbie in the World: “But of course!”
The Wonderful Soon-to-Be Mrs. Katz: *puts her head down and visibly starts shaking with laughter*
Me: “I’m not totally sure I know what’s going on right now.”
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: *raising voice* “. . .NO I WAS NEVER IN THE MILITARY.”
Best Cabbie in the World: “Who would want to be?”
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: “LISTEN! I JUST TOLD YOU. I CAN NOT TALK RIGHT NOW. I HAD TO LEAVE A VERY IMPORTANT MEETING WITH TWO . . . NO, THREE, THREE VERY . . . uh . . . IMPORTANT  CLIENTS TO EVEN TAKE THIS CALL. YES. GOODBYE.”
Best Cabbie in the World: "Goodbye.  Click.  Hang up."
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: *peers suspicously over at the cabbie*
The Wonderful Soon-to-Be Mrs. Katz: “Who was that?”
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: “University of Phoenix.”
Me: “ . . . did you call us clients?”
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: “Yes. I always wanted to say I was ‘in a very important meeting with clients.’”
Best Cabbie in the World: “Where are you all from?”
The Wonderful Soon-to-Be Mrs. Katz: “Oh. Um . . . We’re from here. We’re from New York.”
Best Cabbie in the World: “I’m new here. Been in this country for three years. Did you know there are one hundred and twenty nationalities in New York, New York?”
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: “Wow. I guess I didn’t. Hey, Steff, What’s there in Maine, like three? White, whiter, and whitest?”
Me: “And squirrel.”
Best Cabbie in the World: “OH! You are from Maine? Maine!? Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts, Mississippi . . .”
The Wonderful Soon-to-Be Mrs. Katz: “ . . . is he reciting the states that start with M?”
Best Cabbie in the World: “Minnesota, Missouri. No! Montana!”
Me: “Well, then.”
Best Cabbie in the World: “What is the capitol of Maine?”
Me: “ . . . What is the capitol of Maine?”
Best Cabbie in the World: “The capitol! Yes! What is the capitol of Maine?”
Me: “Augusta.” *pause* “But it’s unimportant. The only thing there is like a moose, a squirrel . . .”
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: “And some really white people.”
Best Cabbie in the World: “Maine – Augusta. Michigan – Lansing. Maryland . . . uh, Baltimore.”
Me: “Annapolis.”
Best Cabbie in the World: “Oh! Annapolis! Ahn-ah-poh-lees.  I know twenty-seven of the capitols so far.”
The Wonderful Soon-to-Be Mrs. Katz: “That’s twenty-seven more than I know, I think.”
Best Cabbie in the World: “That was the University of Phoenix calling, no? Are you going back to school?”
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: “Um. No. Yes. Kind of. I am trying to get my masters.”
Best Cabbie in the World: “Very impressive, sir. In Bangaladesh, where I come from, I was very well educated. Very well respected. I came here and I have to drive taxi. I would never have to drive taxi at home. I was too educated for that job. But I come here for better life and they make me drive taxi.”
Me: *heavy sigh* “The great American dream.”
Best Cabbie in the World: “I have one more year of schooling here and then no more! No more do I drive this taxi!”
Me: “Good for you!”
Best Cabbie in the World: “So I learn all the states and capitols because they make me.”
The Wonderful Soon-to-Be Mrs. Katz: “Right here is good.”
Me: "So, can you really name all the states, 'cause that's . . . "
Best Cabbie in the World: “I’ll show you!”
*he pulls to the curb and shuts his lights off*
Best Cabbie in the World: “A . . . ArkansasAlabamaArizona, and Alaska. B . . . no! C . . . CaliforniaConnecitcutColorado.”
Me: “You’re gonna lose business! You can’t just recite all the states!”
Best Cabbie in the World: “I can! It’s my taxi! Not for long though - HAHA!  A . . . ArkansasAlabamaArizona, and Alaska. B . . . no! C . . . CaliforniaConnecitcutColorado. D . . . Delaware. E . . . no! F . . . Florida. G . . . Georgia. H . . . Hawaii.”
Me: “He really is reciting all the states in alphabetical order.”
The Wonderful Soon-to-Be Mrs. Katz: *laughing* “Yes!”
Best Cabbie in the World: “I . . . IowaIllinoisIdahoIndiana. ABCDEFGHI . . . J! No! K . . .KentuckyKansas. L . . . Louisiana. M . . . MaineMarylandMichiganMassachusettsMississppi. N . . . NewMexicoNewJerseyNebraskaNevadaNewYorkNewHampshireNorthCarolinaandNorthDakaota. O . . . OhioOklahomaOregon. P . . .Pennsylvania. LMNOP . . . Q! No! R . . Rhode Island. S . . . SouthCarolinaSouthDakota. T . . . TennesseeTexas. NOPQRST. U! Utah. V . . . VirginiaVermont. W . . .WyomingWisconsinWashingtonWestVirginia. STUVW. X! No. Y . . . no! Z . . . no!”
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: “Bravo!”
Me: “Is it sad that I was struggling with which letter came next?”
The Wonderful Soon-to-Be Mrs. Katz: “I gave up at D.”
Me: “Well, sir. As I’m never going to see you again, I wanted to thank you for this most memorable taxi ride through New York, New York.” *stick my hand through the dividing window, he smiles big and shakes it* “One more year of schooling, you said? Aww, you can do that! I have faith! Good luck to you, my friend.”
Best Cabbie in the World: “And luck to you, too, my friend!”
*we exit the cab*
The Wonderful Mr. Katz: “For the record, that isn’t really what cab drives are like.”
The Wonderful Soon-to-Be Mrs. Katz: “Yeah, that doesn’t happen.”
Me: “But it just did.”

True story.

Further proof that fact is better than fiction.