Rants & Essays

Taxicab Confessions

By Rufus

It is Thursday night. The seat is pleathery and cold, my knees are at an odd angle. I have been standing up for three hours and my ears are buzzing because I was at a concert. I have been watching the pit surging – expanding, contracting, bodies periodically popping upwards and spilling onto the security people. I am bemused and smiling and warm because I have spent an evening with 300 (or more) of my closest slightly drunk friends. If you ever have the chance to see Flogging Molly, you should take it.

It's late and bright (because its Times Square, and its always bright, there) and the taxi is hurtling into the lesser dimness and I am being punched in the gut by looming grit and grime and metal fire escapes and it is suddenly very clear to me why so many people come to New York to run away and join the circus.

I can almost smell the bus exhaust and stagedoor dreams. I am trying to work out which train I am going to take back to Jersey in the morning (because I do have to go back) and the sidestreets are tempting. It would be so easy. That's mainly what I'm thinking – 7:09? 7:49? Just duck down that road. Get a bacon egg and cheese bagel. Get on the train to Brooklyn. There's places – but I am an archivist, not a secret agent. I can almost taste the cheese and burnt-edge of the bagel and feel the steel pole under my curved fingers, or see the morning-wet streets. I can smell the fish and see the rows of neatly stacked apples and oranges. There are places. Yes. But not tonight, or tomorrow.

The taxi drops us off and I (we) wander through the bodega, and I am stretching the word in my mind, bo-deyyyyyga, even as I am pondering protein drinks and the traditional offerings of black and whites and poundcakes and muffins. I am fractured and cannot decide what I want for breakfast (I am sensible, purchasing for the morning to come) but in the end I go with what is the least complicated, the tastes my tongue already knows. I am filled with love when the counterman drops two straws in my bag, for my two drinks, because that is one of my most favorite New York things – a small thing, a silly thing, my affection for straws dispensed automatically.

I drank a Coke before bed, even though I was exhausted and still a little high off the music. It was cold and tasted a little like the can and a little like the straw, the way I remember and the way I like it. I can feel all the muscles in my knees and most of the ones in my hips, the airbed is broken, I am using my sweater for a pillow and I have to get up at an unholy hour, but that's fine.

There are places, and then there is this place, New York, New York.