Saturday, August 15, 2015

Wow.  It's been almost two years.  So many changes.  Jan, my wife, passed from the physical and is now laughing at me from a different perspective.  So now I'm alone and wondering how to redefine myself.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Another Cabbie Story

 
 
TRUE TALES OF A NEW YORK CITY CAB DRIVER #10
The Dangerous and the Strange

I had heard many stories from other cabbies about dangerous situations. One guy told me about getting a knife put to his throat. Another abo...ut being ordered about at gun point. Most cabbies in those days, the seventies, didn't pick up black men. That probably still holds true. I wasn't like that. I picked up anyone, downtown, midtown, Harlem or Brooklyn. I was young and pretty fearless, I guess. I had a trust in the universe that I was safe. And I was. I have told about some bad characters I encountered, but I was able to handle them one way or another. Other cabbies told me I was a fool.

Hell, one night in Harlem, around a 150th street and Eighth Avenue I was hailed by two pretty rough looking street people. I call them street people because once they got in the cab they looked like two short homeless guys with more clothes than most people would need on a balmy summer night. One of them could have been female, it was hard to tell. They both looked like they hadn't changed their clothes in months, or slept in a real bed for more than that. But I was game. I pulled out and pushed the flag down on the meter.

As we rolled along slowly I asked them where they wanted to go. Immediately there was a disagreement with where they wanted to go. They talked in such a heavy and muffled speech that I couldn't quite tell what they were exactly saying. Getting a little impatient, and wondering what I had gotten myself into, I tried to get them to decide where they wanted to go. After a few blocks their arguing turned into a wrestling tussle in the back seat. I couldn't believe it. They had to be in their forties or fifties, but they were fighting like two little kids. I heard one of them shout: "I know you got a dollah. I know you do!"

Well, that was enough for me. Besides suspecting that these two were drunk and/or mentally ill, I knew I wasn't going to get paid, because the meter already showed $1.40, and they were arguing over a single dollar. I had to laugh. I pulled to the side of the avenue and stopped. I turned off the meter and told them that I was letting them out, with no hard feelings. I wasn't going to charge them. They got out peacefully enough and we bade each other goodnight.


There is only one time that I remember refusing a fare. I had dropped off a fellow in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, not far from the Williamsburg Bridge. Now it's a trendy neighborhood, but back in the seventies it was a mixed bag, with sections that you wouldn't want to walk around after dark. It was a weekday afternoon. I had let my fare off under the El, and the sun was streaming through the lattice work of steel that held up the elevated train tracks. I was taking a few minutes for a coffee break, sipping coffee and probably a Danish. When I was done I got ready to pull out and head over the bridge back to Manhattan. I heard a whistle somewhere behind me and saw in my rearview mirror that three young Hispanic men were walking toward my cab. They crossed the avenue and speeded up as they walked. One of them had his hand raised above his head and was yelling "Hey, taxi!"

As I watched them closing on me I had a bad feeling. Something said in my head, "This isn't good. Get out of here." What my mind envisioned was robbery. So I put the car in gear and pulled away from that parking spot. As I looked back I saw them running, trying to catch up to my cab. I accelerated and left them behind. A glimpse in the mirror showed they had stopped in the middle of the road, sullen expressions on their faces. I kept driving.

I respect that inner voice that we all have. I had the feeling I did the right thing.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

TRUE TALES OF A NYC CAB DRIVER #9


 
                                                                      The Night I Lost It 


When I drove a cab in the seventies, it was mostly in and around Manhattan, with occasional excursions into Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.  The garage where I picked up the cab and dropped it off at the end of a shift was in Long Island City, just on the Queens side of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, what we always called the 59th Street Bridge.  A lot of cab companies were based in that area. 

At the end of a shift I would cross the bridge back to Queens and drop off the taxi cab and take the train and bus back to my apartment in Queens Village.  I preferred the night shift to the day shift, because at night people were more varied and often in a partying mood, and there was a lot less traffic.   My shift would typically end at 2 or 3am.   One night after 3am of a busy night I had just crossed the bridge into Queens and was driving the last blocks to my garage.  Passing by a bar I noticed a large middle aged man with his arm up.  I was tired, and ready to call it a night, but the street was nearly deserted, and I figured he was on his way home and wasn't likely to get a cab to stop at this time of night.  So, like the well-meaning fool that I am, I stopped for him.

When he got into the cab I asked him where he was going.  If he had said somewhere far away, I was going to beg off.   But he didn't answer my question, sitting stolidly in the back seat with a glazed look in his eyes.  I asked again, "Where are you going?"

"You just drive," he said in an Eastern European accent.  I was annoyed.  I wanted to know where I was going so late at night on my last fare, especially with someone who had obviously been drinking.  But I drove a couple of blocks before I asked again.  Again he said, "Just drive."

I said, "Look you're my last fare.  If you want to go a long way, I can't do it.  I won't charge you.  So I'd like to know."  His face changed from the stiff glazed expression to one of belligerence.  "I told you, just drive.  You are a public servant, you do what I say.  You don't need to know where I go.  Go left at the light."

I regretted that I had stopped for this ungrateful drunk, wondering how much longer my night was going to be.  I said, "Public servant huh?  That's what you think I am?  I was nice enough to stop for you.  And now you're giving me a hard time."    

"I told you to drive.  I tell you where to go."  Fuming, I drove where he told me.  This was Long Island City, a lonely area with nothing but a lot of factories, all dark and silent at this time of night.  I thought we'd be taking one of the main streets out of the area, but he had me turn into a long dark street with huge factory buildings on both sides.  I couldn't understand where he was leading me.  So I said, "Look, I know you're drunk.  But where are you going?  Maybe I know a quicker way.  There's nothing but factories and railroad tracks around here.  You've got to tell me where you want to go.  Do you even know?"

"You are public servant.  You don't need to know.  Do as I say.  I say go left, you go left.  I say you go right, you go right."

I seethed, thinking, I hate drunks!  "There's nothing around here," I shouted.   "I don't think you even know where you are!" 

"Just do as I say." 

His big red face stared straight ahead, his heavy body a lump of implacable stubbornness.   I didn't need this.  I drove a few more hundred feet into the dark desolate place.  The moon was red in the slice of sky between the tall black buildings. 

Then something snapped in me.  "That's it!" I shouted.  I slammed on the brakes bringing the car into a sideways skidding stop.  I put it in park, threw open the door and leapt out of the cab.  I opened the back door and yelled, "Out! Get out!"  The overhead light showed him sitting, looking at me, dazed.  He didn't move.  "You drive me," he said. 

"Wrong.  This is it.  Get another cab."  Then he stared into the front of the cab.  I didn't know what he was looking at, but then realized he was looking at my Taxi License on display with my name and picture on it.  He was memorizing my name.  At this point I didn't care. 

I gave him a few more seconds, then I screamed with all my considerable force, "Get out!  This is it!  Do I have to pull you out?"  I was ready to.  My anger had left me devoid of any caution or sense.  He was a large man, outweighed me by fifty pounds easily, and for all I knew he had a weapon.  But I was beyond reason; I wanted to be rid of the jerk. 

Finally he seemed to realize that he had no choice.  He clambered out of the cab.  I slammed the passenger door shut and leapt back into the cab, saying, "See ya!"  And drove off, leaving him in the  middle of acres of dark, lonely behemoth buildings. 

I felt a little bad, wondering how far he'd have to walk just to get to a place with people.  But I didn't feel that bad.  Then I thought of his memorizing my name and causing me trouble with a complaint.  But then I thought, In his condition, how is he going to remember a name like Anifantakis?  

 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Taxi Story #8

 
 
 
True Tales of a New York City Cab Driver #8
Homeless in the Winter

I drove west along Canal Street on my way across town. In the back seat of the cab was a middle-aged man in a heavy coat and hat. It was a frigid January ...night, and I had the heat up all the way to keep my feet warm. As we went slowly along through the salty slushy street I noticed a couple of homeless men huddled in a doorway. The sight was so appalling to me the I said to my passenger: "Poor guys. What must it be like to have to spend the night outside like that?"

He grunted without compassion and said, "Don't waste your sympathy on them. They don't have to be there."

"How can you say that? Don't you think they'd be indoors if they had a choice?"

"They do have a choice," he answered. "You always have a choice."

"Well, I feel sorry for them in this weather."

I could see him looking at me thoughtfully in the mirror. After a long pause he spoke again. "You know, a year ago I was one of those guys. I was out there, staying out all night, drunk on whatever I could get my hands on. So don't tell me. I know. Somewhere along I realized that I didn't have to be there. And I got myself off the streets. And now I'm here riding along with you in a heated car. So don't feel sorry for them. They don't have to be there. They choose it."

I had nothing to say to that, wondering in awe at the hopeless unfathomability of the world and the people in it. And counted myself lucky to be who I was, and not one of those freezing destitute people, whether they chose to be there or not.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Audiobook Launched!

This is my Taxi Driver's photo ID from 1974. I had hair, tied in a pony tail.


Photo: TRUE TALES OF A NYC CAB DRIVER #7      

"Celebrities"
 
John Belushi

Once I met John Belushi, not driving a cab, but in front of a jazz club on the upper west side. It was a famous place called Mikell's, on the corner of 97th and Columbus Ave. Musician friends of mine had heard that Joe Cocker might be singing there that night, because his backup band played there sometimes. This was not long after John Belushi did a wild imitation of Joe Cocker on Saturday Night Live. Had to be the first or second year of SNL, probably the summer of 1976. 

Anyway, I was on line to get early tickets for later that night, and there was Belushi saying goodbye to George Benson, who was getting into a cab. He is the jazz singer and guitarist best known for the song "Masquerade." I was kind of brash and not too shy, and just had to go up to Belushi and tell him that I thought he was great on SNL. He was very friendly, then confided that he was there hoping to meet Joe Cocker. He had never met him, even though he did that hilarious imitation of him. Joe Cocker, some of you might remember, is an English soulful blues singer who seems so lost in the emotion of his singing that he looks a little spastic as he sings. 

John Belushi (I swear this is true) actually asked me if I thought it was a good idea if he asked Joe Cocker about the SNL skit. He wanted to ask Joe if he minded that he made fun of him. I answered, why not, go for it. I told him I thought Joe Cocker would probably appreciate direct honesty. Belushi thanked me for my encouragement, and we parted.
 
Later that evening I returned with my friends for the show. Sure enough Joe Cocker sang with his band that night. It was great music. Belushi was there with friends. Late into the night I noticed Belushi was all by himself in a booth, so I went over and asked him if he had talked to Joe Cocker. He told me he had talked to Joe in between sets, and Joe had put his mind at ease. Joe said he didn't mind at all, but his friends felt uncomfortable about it. Interesting. Me and Belushi talked for a few minutes, and he said that a lot of people worried about Joe Cocker because he drank heavily. They worried that he wouldn't live long because of it. 

A few months later Joe Cocker was a guest on SNL and he and John Belushi played on stage together, Joe as himself, and Belushi parodying him. It was terrific. Showed what class Cocker had. Sad that John Belushi died so young, a decent unpretentious guy. Happily, Joe Cocker lives on. Go figure. 

Hermione Gingold

The most memorable celebrity who ever got into my cab was Hermione Gingold. Most people won't know who she is, but she played the matronly chaperone to young Leslie Caron in the movie Gigi. She and the French singer Maurice Chevalier had some memorable scenes together. Well, one night she got into my cab in midtown somewhere and wanted to be taken to Sutton Place. That's a really exclusive neighborhood on the east side near the East River. Very expensive. 

As soon as she got in I recognized her, knew her from the movies. But I couldn't remember her name. So like the young doofus I was I said I remembered her, but forgot her name. She said, with great formality, "Hermione Gingold." I praised her acting and singing, gushing a little in my enthusiasm. She didn't speak after that, so I shut up. 

When we arrived in front of a very fancy looking apartment building I parked and took the money she offered and gave her three one dollar bills for her change. She scooped the bills from the little money tray then hastily put them back, saying, "Oh no, these are much too dirty!" She wanted cleaner money! They were pretty grimy and old. So I looked through the paper money I had and found three cleaner bills. "That's much better," she said. And tipped me seventy five cents, about fifteen percent. 


This is my Taxi Driver's photo ID from 1974. I had hair, tied in a pony tail.


TRUE TALES OF A NYC CAB DRIVER #7

"Celebrities"

John Belushi

...
Once I met John Belushi, not driving a cab, but in front of a jazz club on the upper west side. It was a famous place called Mikell's, on the corner of 97th and Columbus Ave. Musician friends of mine had heard that Joe Cocker might be singing there that night, because his backup band played there sometimes. This was not long after John Belushi did a wild imitation of Joe Cocker on Saturday Night Live. Had to be the first or second year of SNL, probably the summer of 1976.

Anyway, I was on line to get early tickets for later that night, and there was Belushi saying goodbye to George Benson, who was getting into a cab. He is the jazz singer and guitarist best known for the song "Masquerade." I was kind of brash and not too shy, and just had to go up to Belushi and tell him that I thought he was great on SNL. He was very friendly, then confided that he was there hoping to meet Joe Cocker. He had never met him, even though he did that hilarious imitation of him. Joe Cocker, some of you might remember, is an English soulful blues singer who seems so lost in the emotion of his singing that he looks a little spastic as he sings.

John Belushi (I swear this is true) actually asked me if I thought it was a good idea if he asked Joe Cocker about the SNL skit. He wanted to ask Joe if he minded that he made fun of him. I answered, why not, go for it. I told him I thought Joe Cocker would probably appreciate direct honesty. Belushi thanked me for my encouragement, and we parted.

Later that evening I returned with my friends for the show. Sure enough Joe Cocker sang with his band that night. It was great music. Belushi was there with friends. Late into the night I noticed Belushi was all by himself in a booth, so I went over and asked him if he had talked to Joe Cocker. He told me he had talked to Joe in between sets, and Joe had put his mind at ease. Joe said he didn't mind at all, but his friends felt uncomfortable about it. Interesting. Me and Belushi talked for a few minutes, and he said that a lot of people worried about Joe Cocker because he drank heavily. They worried that he wouldn't live long because of it.

A few months later Joe Cocker was a guest on SNL and he and John Belushi played on stage together, Joe as himself, and Belushi parodying him. It was terrific. Showed what class Cocker had. Sad that John Belushi died so young, a decent unpretentious guy. Happily, Joe Cocker lives on. Go figure.

Hermione Gingold

The most memorable celebrity who ever got into my cab was Hermione Gingold. Most people won't know who she is, but she played the matronly chaperone to young Leslie Caron in the movie Gigi. She and the French singer Maurice Chevalier had some memorable scenes together. Well, one night she got into my cab in midtown somewhere and wanted to be taken to Sutton Place. That's a really exclusive neighborhood on the east side near the East River. Very expensive.

As soon as she got in I recognized her, knew her from the movies. But I couldn't remember her name. So like the young doofus I was I said I remembered her, but forgot her name. She said, with great formality, "Hermione Gingold." I praised her acting and singing, gushing a little in my enthusiasm. She didn't speak after that, so I shut up.

When we arrived in front of a very fancy looking apartment building I parked and took the money she offered and gave her three one dollar bills for her change. She scooped the bills from the little money tray then hastily put them back, saying, "Oh no, these are much too dirty!" She wanted cleaner money! They were pretty grimy and old. So I looked through the paper money I had and found three cleaner bills. "That's much better," she said. And tipped me seventy five cents, about fifteen percent.

 





MY AUDIOBOOK PROMO VIDEO.  First chapter of my novel This Moment Is My Home, with music and pictures, to whet your appetite.
                                     


Watch and listen to the audiobook first chapter.







                                       TRUE TALES OF A NYC CAB DRIVER #6
                                                    Whoops, Sorry About That!

It was late at night, and I had dropped off a fare in the middle of Brooklyn. I was somewhere north of the Brownsville section and was heading back in the general direction of Manhattan. Somewhere not far from the campus of Pratt Institute, I passed a large man wrestling with a woman by a parked car. I slowed as I passed, because it appeared that the man was trying to shove a woman into a car. What went through my mind was kidnapping or rape. I pulled up and parked ahead of them and got out to help the woman. What can I say, I was young and strong, and didn't like to see women or animals mistreated.

As I approached on foot, the large man had hold of the small woman, and was trying mightily to get her into the car. She was fighting like a demon, holding onto the doorframe, resisting his every move, cursing and shouting, spitting mad. As large and strong looking as the man was, he was having no success. When I was close, I said, "Stop it! What're you doing to her?"

Of course, I expected hostility from him. But I was amazed when I got the opposite. He looked at me wearily and said, "Man, I'm just trying to get her home. She's drunk out of her mind. She's my wife!" I could see that the woman seemed to be really drunk. When I asked her if she was okay, she cursed and shouted incoherently at me. She seemed anything but a victim, and she was verbally abusing him something awful.  Though he was twice her size, was making little progress. He tried to explain further, "I got to get her home, man. I can't leave here like this. She don't know what she's doin'. What would you do?" Suddenly I was sympathizing with him.

He seemed to be telling the truth, and I was at a loss. All I could think to say was, "Well, don't hurt her." He answered, "I won't . I won't. She's my wife." So, with a stupid expression of bewilderment on my face, I left them to it, and got back in my cab. As I drove, the stupid expression stayed on my face for quite a while. I counted myself lucky that I hadn't gotten my ass handed to me by being such a boy scout. Fools rush in . . .


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

AUDIOBOOK

I'm working on an audiobook of This Moment Is My Home, read by me.  It's fun.  I'll be posting it chapter by chapter FOR FREE here and on my facebook page:  www.facebook.com/ThisMomentIsMyHome

 

I want as many people as possible to experience my book.  I like to be read to, don't you?


 
 
                                                                  










                               TRUE TALES OF A NYC CAB DRIVER #5


                                                    Encounter at Jilly’s

You may have heard of Jilly's in Manhattan.  A famous hangout for Frank Sinatra.  It used to be on West 52nd Street.  I once picked up a fare there.  I didn't intend to, I was just a punk kid driving a cab, I didn’t mess around with places frequented by Frank Sinatra and the well-connected on both sides of the law. But one winter night in 1974 I happened to be stopped at a red light around the corner from the place. 
 
I was in the middle of five lanes of traffic facing uptown, waiting for the light to change. Out of nowhere an extremely large man opened the door to my cab and leaped in. When I say large, I don’t mean obese. This guy was almost too tall to fit in the cab, with shoulders like a door frame, dressed in the flashy uniform of a doorman, long heavy coat and hat like a general. Without preamble he barked a command. “Pull out and make a quick right. Now, before the light changes!”
I’ve been around plenty of rough men, so I don’t exactly impress easily. But this brute was like a force of nature. And he was on a mission. I protested, saying I was in the wrong lane to make a turn.” He said, “Don’t talk. Do it.” It was a command from the kind of character you don’t want to disappoint, a real old-time thug, whose gravitic aura could only have been earned through an illustrious past of mythic proportions. Anyway, he impressed me, and it wouldn’t have been the first or fortieth time I had gone through a red light.
So I pulled out and crossed in front of the other cars and made an illegal turn through a red light. “Good,” he grunted, high praise indeed. He told me to drive up and stop in front of a place up ahead, mentioning I’d get a nice tip. The place was the famed Jilly’s, with a fancy marquis all lit up. He hopped out, all 300 pounds of him, and ushered a middle aged couple into my cab. His parting words to me: “Take these people where they wanna go.” I almost saluted. Honest to god, it made me feel good to obey him, like I had passed an important test of character. But he was wrong about the tip. I got a meager 15 percent.




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

ANNOUNCING: BOOK SIGNING

                I will be signing copies of my novel, This Moment Is My Home,
                               at Mostly Books, on Broadway and Wilmot in Tucson. 
                                                  Saturday, September 8 at 1:30.
                    

Me and Sherry Roberts, of Mostly Books, a great independent bookstore in Tucson.
                                          


            I donated a few copies of my novel, This Moment Is My Home to the local library.  Jeffrey Summers, librarian, was kind enough to pose with me for a photo.  I complimented him on the shade of green hair he was sporting.  He said, "I call it teal!"  Not a shy person, Jeffrey.


Librarian Jeffrey Summers and I at the Miller-Golf Links branch of the Pima County Public Library






                                             TRUE TALES OF A NYC CAB DRIVER #4


                                                                        A Creepy Guy

Driving. That's what the job of a cab driver is. Driving and watching for people who need a ride, watching the other traffic, jockeying for position in traffic. I learned quickly, mostly from imitating other cab drivers. Ever wonder why taxis straddle two lanes a lot of the time? It's annoying isn't it? It's because they want to be in the best position to maneuver, always looking for an advantage. I learned some good and bad habits from those days. I learned to look far ahead of my car and assess the situation. I learned to be aggressive, and to always be aware of what was happening all around my car, behind and on both sides. In Manhattan aggression and quick decision making are essential. All Manhattan drivers drive like that. If you don't take the opportunity before you, the next guy or gal will. Politeness only causes you delay and irritates the other drivers. You're expected to be aggressive. That's the way it is when you're driving amidst thousands of other drivers trying to get somewhere.

One of the things I learned early on was how to get from the east side to the west side of Manhattan as quickly as possible. That means knowing which streets are the main ones which allow traffic to flow more freely. You don't want to get bogged down in side streets, because one stopped car or truck on those one-way streets can keep you sitting for some time when there's only one lane. Getting cross town in the vicinity of Central Park is another challenge. You have to know which streets lead across the park. 96th street has a street which crosses through the park, but if you're going east to west the entrance is on 97th Street. If you don't know that you waste a lot of time going in circles.


One day crossing the park at 96th street with a fare I had an unnerving experience. I had picked up the passenger on the east side. I don't remember exactly where, but he wanted to go crosstown to the west side. I, being a friendly talkative type person, was doing my ususal, talking, asking questions, remarking about current politics, etc. Hey, it's the way I pass the time. The guy I was talking to didn't seem too forthcoming. In other words he was rather quiet, and I soon found that he didn't like what I was talking about. I may have been offering my opinion about the state of the human race, some of my liberal political views, I don't remember exactly.

As we were moving through the sunken roadway that passes through Central Park he started talking slowly and a little menacingly. He said, "You talk like you know me. But you don't know me. Maybe you should be more careful. For all you know I could be a dangerous person." I got quiet, glanced at him in the rearview mirror. There was something about the guy that was creepy. He was well groomed, dressed in a suit, , maybe in his thirties. But that told me little. He continued, "For instance, it wouldn't me much for me to put a little Beretta behind your ear. If I pulled the trigger you would feel a burning maybe, like a bee sting, not much more. And in a little while you'd be dead."

Well, what do you say to something like that? I shut up and drove the rest of the way across the park. When I let him out at the corner of Central Park West and 97th I turned off the meter and told him the amount of the fare and nothing else. He paid me and got out. I drove away fast, glad to be rid of the creep.


                                       MORE TRUE TALES OF A NYC CAB DRIVER  #3
 

                                                 I Throw Some Ladies Out of my Cab

Manhattan is a vast labyrinth of streets, massive canyons of buildings, an endless grid of neighborhoods, and a warren-like network of streets in lower Manhattan that defy logic, not unlike parts of Boston. It took a while to learn the basics on the best ways to get cross town and up and downtown the most efficient ways. 

Well, I was a cab driver with a few weeks under my belt, but was still learning the city. Three ladies got into my cab in midtown one afternoon, and gave me an address. I knew the general way to get there, but apparently not well enough to satisfy one of the ladies. One was very sweet and helpful, but one of them was a real handful. When I didn’t make a correct turn she started yelling. “Driver! Driver! Why didn’t you make a left at the light? You were supposed to make a left!” I was confused, said I was sorry. That didn’t mollify her in the least. She kept at me, “Driver! Driver! Do you have any idea what you’re doing? Oh! I’ve never seen such blatant incometence!”

I apologized again and told her I would take the next left and work my way to their destination. I told her that I was new and that I was still learning the city, and would appreciate any help. But she had decided that I was deliberately trying to lengthen their ride to make more money. Very loudly she said, “Oh, these drivers are all the same. They never get it right. It’s outrageous that we have to put up with it!”

I could hear her loud and clear, despite the plastic safety barrier between us, I heard words like "moron" and "swindled" and it got me angry. Their destination was less than a mile away, and it wouldn’t have cost them much more. I tried to apologize again, and asked for their patience. But she was determined to chastise me loudly to her two companions. She just wouldn’t stop, and I could hear every word. Even pointed comments from me didn’t stop her. “Look, I’m sorry, I’m not the perfect driver, but I’ll get you there. And I’ll forfeit the tip. Okay?”

Not good enough for her. The sweet one tried to get her friend to stop razzing me, to no avail. On and on it went, about how worthless and incompetent cab drivers were. I was thinking, do I really have to take all this verbal abuse? I’m really very polite and patient usually, but she just hit the right buttons. I took it for about seven more minutes, then I lost it. I veered to one side of the avenue and slammed on the brakes. I put the cab in park and shouted, “That’s it! Out! Get out!”

They all sat for a moment, too stunned to move. I turned off the meter, and yelled again, “Get out. There’s no charge. Just get out of my cab! Now! Move!” I was really pissed. They finally opened the door and filed out. The last lady, who was the sweet one, stopped before getting out and said to me, “I’m very sorry about this. My friend really had no right to be so rude. I do hope you’ll forgive us.”

I answered, “That’s all right. I just couldn’t stand it any more.” She said she understood and wanted to pay for the ride, even though I’d ended it prematurely. But I said it was okay, and thanked her for her good intentions. I wondered later, if the obnoxious woman had been drunk.

Anyway, I sat there for a moment, congratulating myself on getting shut of them. And what do you know? Three young men walked over asked if I’d take them to Brooklyn. “Sure!” I said, “Hop in!" They were fun guys, and we had a friendly long ride out of Manhattan, a good long fare. They even left me with a big tip. So the universe was rewarding me for my rightness of my actions.


 
 
 
 
Read an entertaining book that may help open you to the infinite within yourself:  http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/title/119734000004420414/M.-H.-Anifantakis-This-Moment-Is-My-Home