Journal of Life and Driving

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The City That Truly Never Sleeps

            Well, I think I can finally shout “hallelujah!” My trip is almost over as I sit at 35,000 feet about sea level somewhere in the clouds above Denver.  New York really was nothing like what I thought it would be. My concept of NY was that people were going to be a little bit more like Californians. I really have only traveled though the southern states and a fair amount of South America. Now that my first trip to the east coast has come to an end, it is time to reflect.

            People are absolutely nuts in New York. Absolutely berserks. They will walk through you as if you never were there. They put their cold-blooded and impassive faces on and walk. Correction--I mean sprint. Their walking pace is faster than most kids could run the mile at my college. They will walk in front of any semi, bus, fire truck, taxi, bicyclist, or elderly woman in order to shave a second off of their ETA. New Yorkers are a different breed.

            I walked in to a Brooklyn bagel shop the other day and ordered a simple egg and ham bagel sandwich. I also asked for a medium coffee, no sugar, room for cream. Simple. NO. The man behind the exotic cream cheese case started talking to me at approximately the speed of light. I understood zero words that this man vomited up to me. I stood there completely dumbfounded. I just said “huh?” with a stupid look on my face. My mouth was probably open with a little bit of drool coming out. I ended up with a bagel without ham and with salt and pepper instead. I also received no medium coffee. Whoops.

            My morning continued as I moved on from Bergen Bagels in Brooklyn to my itinerary in Manhattan. This requires taking the subway of course. In my short visit to New York, I managed to collect knowledge about the subway system. I knew it well enough that I wouldn’t manage to take large detours without knowing it. I quickly got used to the harsh acceleration and braking as if there were a fifteen-year-old pimply-faced teenage, soon-to-be-legal, driver at the helm. I kind of got used to the mind-numbing and ear-shattering screeches emanating deep from within the tunnels when a train goes around a bend. I also managed to get used to the odd smells that always seemed to be down in those subway stations. The bit that was hardest to get a grip on was understanding what the subway conductor was announcing over the intercom system. I swear they were purposefully just mumbling. How is anyone supposed to know where they are if the conductor is mumbling? These mumbles led to my ultimate demise more than once. 

Miraculously, I managed to get through all of NY without ever sitting in a taxi. I am somewhat disappointed in that. I wanted to at least have the thrill of it maybe being on Cash Cab! Alas, I have no chance if I don’t even hale a taxi. Side note: Watching people hale taxis is something that I could spend a large amount of my time doing. Watching someone hale a taxi and the taxi either: a) pays no attention to them, b) stops, then doesn’t like what their destination is and drives away, or c) picks them up and every car behind them for the next three blocks lays on their horn because they are losing precious daylight due to this inconvenience.

Now, for the juicy car bits of New York. If you are one who likes the oh-so-classy Mercedes S-class, this is the place for you. There is an S550 on nearly every corner in Manhattan. If there isn’t an S-class, there certainly will be a 7 series BMW. Money is the culture in New York. Almost all of the diplomatic cars in New York are big German V8s. These deep V8 bellows make for a very harmonious environment. However, this is only true if you can manage to drown out the sirens, screams, honks, yells, and all of the other racket. I saw quite a few Porsche Panameras, Porsche Cayennes, Porsche Carreras, one Rolls, and one Bentley. For the most part, I don’t think people want to drive around their nice cars in the city, mostly for the fear or dents and dings. They reservedly own their SUVs in order to go out the Hamptons on the weekends, I think.

Words cannot explain how happy I am to finally be getting back to my car after the long two weeks. I am going to try and explain anyway. I am more excited than a baboon with a bug-ridden partner. I am more excited than a thirteen-year-old Jewish boy on his bar mitzvah. I am more excited than Tom Cruise on Oprah’s bouncy couch. I look more excited than a small child clutching his privates because he has to pee and is running around the house like a chicken with its head cut off. Yes, I am that excited. It will be nice to finally be driving through those windy mountain roads. I will heed caution this evening however. It was -3 degrees Fahrenheit last night. The ground will have copious amount of black ice.

Finally I am sitting in my living room in front of the fireplace and Christmas tree putting the final finishing touches on this post. So if there is a lapse in timeline in my writing, that is why. 

I wish you all a very merry Christmas! Now, I am going to go enjoy some of this beautiful white powder that was bestowed upon me in the darkness of last night! Auf Wiedersehen!

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