Saturday, December 6, 2014

New Yawk Today: A Fight on a Rainy Day

I've been spending much of this week with a friend who just went through a surgical procedure. She lives in Williamsburg and I usually don't mind spending time here, getting out of my usual zone and seeing what's new here. Today, however, I woke up to pouring rain, rather chagrined I was on the Brooklyn side of the river. I had promised to run an errand in the East Village for another friend in Europe. Not the good day for it. The cat curled up contentedly in the corner seemed to have the best idea for what to do on such a wet afternoon. But after fixing us a nice frittata and a strong cup of joe, I decided to go and get the errand over with.

I was okay with this decision during the half mile trek to the L train, but on the half mile trek down Avenue B, I started to grumble about slogging out in the rain. My ancient Persian Lamb coat, usually impervious to weather, was soaking wet by then. I was thinking about poor sheep out grazing in the rain and how they must feel. The fur had absorbed so much rain, it felt five pounds heavier. I could feel the damp down onto my arms.

So after the errand, I decide to catch a cab back. There were no cabs on Avenue B but on Houston, I manage to flag down a nice cabbie. I'm always curious about cabbies and I have a habit of reading their names on that little card in the dividing window. Once, I hailed a guy whose name was Man Fuk Sun. Another time, I was in the chariot of a certain Primitivo de la Cruz. And a friend once regaled me with a story about a cabbie who's name was Asswipe. Trying not to laugh and just to hear it said aloud, he asked that cab driver, "What's your name sir?" The cab driver responded jovially, "As-WEE-peh!"

Well, my cabbie didn't have such a colorful name. But it was a little unusual that he had Schneider for a last name since he's black. I wondered in my mind if Jewish people owned slaves way back when? Or did he come by the name Schneider in another way? Adoption?

Anyway, Schneider and me had a quiet ride, talked a little about the weather. There was a bottleneck when we got off the bridge. Nothing major and it just about $10 to get back to the 'Burg. But then half a block from my destination, a black car with California plates was stopped in the middle of the street. Two Latino guys were in front of the community garden having a serious argument. I couldn't hear what was going on. Schneider and I surmised that perhaps the black car had been swiped by another car? Other cars stalled behind us and started honking.

Then a large white guy with orange hair in an orange hoodie emerges from the drivers seat of the black car.  Oh, wait, so the Latino guy wasn't behind the wheel?

"C'mon, let's go!" Orange says to his friend on the street, who at that moment, tears open his raincoat Superman-style and drops it onto the ground, revealing a tie-dye tee shirt. He raises his fists and challenges the other guy, "You wanna fight?"

There's a push-shove brawl in the rain. Now the cars really are honking. The meter keeps ticking. My cabbie curses. I roll down the window and call out to the orange hair guy, "Can't you just pull the car over to the side so we can get by?" Orange hair guy glances at me but ignores my request, continuing to whine at his friend, "Get in the car!" The chorus of car honking gets louder and louder. I am getting a bit worked up, "Fucking pull over to the side, man!" Finally, Orange gets back in the car and roars off down the street, leaving his buddy still fighting in the rain.

New York, man. Good day to stay in.

Man, that fight cost me an extra $3 on the meter. 

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