Taken For a Ride
So the other night I took a train back to the city from my parents. (Roscoe is allowed on the train. He likes it. Except he doesn't like stepping on or off. It freaks him out so I have to pick him up and carry him like two steps over the threshold. Embarrassing.) Anyway, I get outside Grand Central and hail a cab. (Roscoe's not allowed on the subway.) A cab that was a little beaten up pulls up and I ask if it's ok to bring the dog. He was like, 'Yeah, all dogs welcome!' I was like, 'Cool.' Roscoe and I hop in the cab.
The cabbie was probably like 60 and he was wearing some sort of fedora hat or something. I was sort of psyched because this guy seemed really old new york. Old school cabbies are really rare. I start talking to him but get disappointed because he's a talker but he's like mumbling pretty much everything he said. After a bunch of 'What?'s he kept on mumbling so the conversation broke down into me nodding and responding to stuff only when he asked a question for a second time.
Anyway, we're heading down the FDR drive toward the Brooklyn Bridge and he lights up a cigar. I whatevered it. His cab. Old school. I kind of liked it. But what I didn't like was... the meter. Somehow all of a sudden the cab was at $12.00 and I was only like half way home. Something was wrong. The cabbie just kept mumbling along with his own conversation as he flew right past the Brooklyn Bridge. My bridge. I was like, 'Hey! You just passed the bridge.' He mumbled something about taking the Manhattan Bridge instead because of the traffic on the Brooklyn. At this point, I was like, 'Uch! This guy is taking me for a ride! Me!' The meter now was at like $16. He speeds over to the Manhattan Bridge and we slam into a wall of traffic.
I leaned up and was like, 'You thought this was a good idea..?.' He turned around sort of angry and was like, 'I thought I was doing you a favor!' Then he went back to mumbling. Roscoe looked over at me like, 'What's with that guy?' We inch over the bridge and the meter keeps going. I said to him, 'Hey! I ain't buying your meter. It's out of control. If this goes over $30 friggin dollars that's all you're getting. (It's usually $15 w/ tip for me to get home) He was like, 'Why is that all the money you have?' I was like, 'Let's say... it is.' He was angry again, 'Well if it goes over $30 we can stop at an ATM.' Then he went back to mumbling.
I was going berserk in the back trying to figure out what to do. He was nuts. I was going nuts. His taxi license was behind some glass that was all scratched up and illegible. I was being taken! And I was sitting there and taking it! I couldn't jump out of the cab because I was on a bridge. Plus I had Roscoe.
I thought about my options:
- Play the crazy card and tell him I'm gonna call a
friggin cop if he doesn't shut off that meter.
- Demand to see his license.
- Call a cop from my cellphone and tell him what's going on.
- Tell the guy that I'm gonna pay him $20 and if he doesn't like it he can call a cop.
- Jump out of the cab and run off. (I seriously thought I might do that if I was on my own. What's would he do about it?)
But then the voice of paranoid floats in. What if this guy has a gun? What if he's desperate somehow? What if he's super crazy? I decided it was only five more minutes till I got home and I was just going to ride it out. I felt protective about Roscoe. I just wanted to get friggin home.
The meter came out to like $29.50 and I gave him $30 and got out of the cab and slammed the door.
When I got home I could barely sleep. I was so pissed at myself. I'm supposed to be a New Yorker! I backtracked over the ride and I was ashamed of myself for 'pussying' out of the situation. I should have told him to pull off the FDR and let me out once I knew the meter was fast. I should have called him out more on his scumbagness. I should have given him only $20 and told him he should call a cop if he doesn't like it. I should have just gotten out at a light and made a dash while carrying Roscoe. I could have at least asked for my change (technically I tipped him). Take down his plate #. There was a dozen different options. All which I passed up out of fear and being weirded out.
Then I couldn't sleep extra because I wondered if this guy thought I was a 'mark'. Guy with glasses and a poofy dog probably won't be a problem? Did I look like a tourist? What did he see in me to know he could get away with his scam? That kept me up for hours...
In any case, anytime something like this happens (fortunately/thankfully it doesn't happen that often. maybe that's the problem. i always feel like i'm out of practice of handling bad situations.) where I'm faced with some conflict or scammy situation my instinct is to back away from it even if it means getting taken. And everytime afterwards I swear it'll be the last time I'll act like that. I know I have it in me to get crazy and yelly mad because I get that way with my friends every other day. I just need to channel that energy into standing up for myself in bad situations.
Unfortunately I get hobbled by the idea that I'm always to give people the benefit of the doubt. And that I'm a nice guy. And most people are good. I'll look at every angle before I accept that this person is actually a legit scumbag. As this cabbie was. And usually it's too late because i'm 'in'.The most frustrating thing is I'm really an expert in revenge... and in this case I have no revenge options.
But man oh man if I get in that scumbags cab again I'm gonna take that guy for a ride!! I'll have him drive me around and then run off laughing down a one-way street where he can't follow! Yeah! That's what I'd do! Yeah!
At least that's what I keep telling me...