“All I can do is get you across the bridge but I will not charge you. You look like you need a shorter walk.“
NEW YORK, NY – Upon returning to work yesterday it was as if I had returned to some sort of Zombie Apocalypse and it wasn’t because it was Halloween. For the previous 3 days, I had been stowed away most graciously in the warm confines of midtown’s finest of abodes. I was oblivious to the world beyond the doorstep of the Cafe Metro – adjacent to my delightful microcosm that yours I and company had created for ourselves. For me, the storm as it was occurring, became something of a Michael Bolton video, lulling me into a sense of calm.
For 48 hours, it was if nothing mattered past good conversation and a deck of cards. My computer did not work. I was not receiving emails for my job. It was as if someone have granted a two-day stay of my life…
But yesterday I turned on the TV.
When I left the building, I found myself skippering a Hershey log up Sh!t Creek. At first I thought I was in a 3rd world country – because EVERYONE (except me) was walking around aimlessly. The ominous gate that most carried was something out of a Stephen King novel. Even the most cock sure new yorker was loitering like a German tourist pining for real Italian food… “Vare eez zee Olive Garden?”
When I reached my office after a mere six-block walk, I was first-in. At first, I blamed my concern about being alone on my perpetual paranoia/OCD. Then slowly but surely some semblance of my coworkers began to appear. They all asked me how I fared with the storm. You could sense their impending cavalcade of war stories of what they had endured during their battle with mother nature. Their appearance was grizzled, much like Short Matt’s back-fat after the eons of gravitational forces he has submitted his body to… Most did not have power and some did not have water. Colleagues that live downtown, described their journey to the office as if I can only imagine a wildebeest would describe navigating the Serengeti.
The work day itself was similarly eery, as the daunting task of juggling five person’s responsibilities rendered my mind to Jell-o by noon.
Somehow I managed to make it to five and I ran out of the building only to find myself walking home… TO QUEENS. For what seemed like an eternity, cab after cab raced by – as if to taunt my existence. I knew the Queensboro/59th/Ed Koch Bridge was my only option, so I just kept walking. Round about the time I reached 1st Avenue and had given up on the idea of taking a cab, I threw my arm out once more. A cabbie stopped and asked if I was going over the bridge. I said yes. I got in the cab and he said, “All I can do is get you across the bridge but I will not charge you. You look like you need a shorter walk.“ As promised he took me to the other side of the river and I got out.
As I was walking away I realized that it was actions like that – of a random cabbie – that make New York City so great. In times of need, even the most begrudged people can look you in the eye and take an interest in lending a helping hand, no matter how trivial the task. The truth is I didn’t need a ride across the bridge. My legs work and I have walked much farther before. So here’s to you New York. Together we will get through this one cab ride at a time.
Actually, the cabbie looked like Andre Dawson and I didn’t look like Snake Plissken.
Our thoughts and prayers go out the millions that can’t read this right now because they do not have power or water.