A wonderful little nuisance about New York City is that you can get away with nearly any type of psychotic behavior in public, just as long as it happens in passing. The people who inhabit this congested island, whether they're a native or tourist, are perpetually distracted. Most New Yorkers are simply trying to get from point A to point B, likely deafened and blinded by their smart phones, chasing that fleeting high of reaching their destination in better time than the day before, completely missing the world go by them.
Tourists, on the other hand, take the opposite route. They gravitate towards Times Square like moths, overwhelmed by the bustling nature of this frantic metropolis that I call my home. With the constant stimuli of big, bright lights, hustling street vendors and seemingly endless strip of chain restaurants and clothing stores feeding their enormous expectation of a big ol' crazy city, our visitors tend to over look the real action happening around them.
Which is why, as I sprinted down Broadway, chasing down a taxi and maniacally waving a cane over my head as my frayed, now-undersized overcoat flapped in the wind like some sad cape, no one seemed to noticed or care.
The story isn't too far off from one I've told in the past. My 93-year old co-worker, whose health is rapidly deteriorating, needed a taxi. Recently, she finally caved and hired a driver to take her to and from work every day. This saved the doormen the trouble of having to hail a taxi, begging the cabbie to wait and not take another fare while the doorman spends five minutes running up the steps, helping her out of the wheelchair, down the steps, and into the car during the cabbie's peak business hour. It was wonderful… for a week. Then, one evening, he asked to borrow $40 as he dropped her off. She happily gave it to him then he, of course, he didn't show to pick her up the next day. She never saw him again. These are the people whom walk the earth amongst us.
So now it's back to a daily confrontation - whether it's with a cabbie who doesn't want to wait a couple of minutes, or some fucking suit who doesn't have a problem jacking an old woman's cab.
A taxi pulls up with some guests inside. They had a few odds and ends in the trunk, mostly just shopping bags to stuff into their gluttonous, disproportionate sacks of back-breaking misery - nothing they would need help with. It's the one of the old taxis, the Ford Crown Victorias or "crown vicks", as we call them. Perfect. It's literally the only type of vehicle she can get into at this point. They're low to the ground and with enough leg-room for her to not have to bend her knees when she gets in. (Yeah, not only do I have to find her a cab during rush hour, I have to ween through the scarce available cars to find the one type that the city is rapidly phasing out. They'll eventually be gone in favor of the larger, more fuel efficient vehicles.)
The cabbie was an Indian man, with an uneven mustache and eyebrows that looked like they could up and run away from his face at the first sign of trouble:
Doorman - "How are you, sir? I have an elderly woman up there that I need to help down the steps. Would you mind starting the meter and waiting a minute while I go up and her?"
Without hesitation, he simply said, "okay".
Most of the time, it's that easy. Most of the time, simply letting them know they can start the meter is all they need to hear. Sometimes, these guys need a minute to breathe. They might be open to taking a break from the demanding yuppies and shitty tourists who flood their taxis at this time of day. I've said it before and I'll say it again - if you think my stories are bad, talk to a taxi driver. They work longer hours, are treated plenty worse, and get paid a helluva lot less for it. I've made friends with a many of cabbies and a good deal of them are wonderful, hard-working people who are just doing what they have to do to make a buck.
And then there's this cunt.
I opened the door, indicating to every other fuckhead on the block that it was spoken for. I ran to my coworker, who had dozed of while waiting. After shaking her gently on the shoulder, she handed me her cane to hold as we began the grueling process of getting her on her feet and down the steps. She's as wobbly as ever these days, with each step taking longer than the next. Though on this particular night, she was more unsteady than usual. Luckily for me, as we were about halfway down the stairs, a good samaritan stopped and asked if we needed help. In the two and a half years I've been doing this, no guest has even so much has waited to let her walk by, let alone offered to take an arm and make it easier for her.
Just as I was about to politely decline his assistance, my eyes locked with the cabbie waiting. Seeing the situation - having to get out of the car and help her into her building when he drops her off- his expression was an was one to read:
He reached his arm back and slammed the door shut. Just as he pulled away, I graciously accepted the man's offer:
Doorman - "Yes, actually, can you hold her for one minute?"
I handed her over to my new best friend and took off down the street, cane in hand.
I wish I knew exactly what I planned on doing as I fiendishly pursued this unsuspecting fucker while he was stopped at the light three blocks down. Like most of my best and worst-laid plans, it was going to be executed completely through impulse and an overwhelming urge to prove something to no one in particular. You see, in the three months and three days since my last post, I'd envisioned that the closure of it all would somehow propel me into a different chapter in my life. Yet I find myself still stuck here, fighting with cabbies, continuously jumping in the whirlpool of hostility that I swore I was clear of when I ended this blog.
I got to him, and like some fucking baboon who didn't get his way, I punched the door. This startled the bejesus out of him. Had I ended it there, it would have been justice enough. But he made the mistake of mouthing "fuck you" through his closed window, so I yelled, I screamed, I carried on, and I fired off a tsunami of profanities and slurs as I flailed my co-workers cane in the air like the village drunkard at a witch-burning. His gruff, calloused face slowly deteriorated before my eyes.
The light mercifully turned green and he peeled out, nearly in tears, with a glob of my saliva oozing down his window.
As I ran back to the hotel, where no one had noticed I was gone, save for my co-worker and new friend, I looked to the sidewalk and noticed everyone going about their day. My eruption may have garnered a bit of attention from a few tourists, maybe a local or two, though the second the cabbie peeled out, they went on with their lives, forgetting about the dude in a raggedy coat and funny hat throwing a tantrum in the middle of the street. I eventually got her a taxi with the help of the good samaritan. Then I spent the next six hours of my shift pacing around, occasionally hailing a taxi or carrying in someone's luggage.
To be honest, I'm not sure why I wrote this. I just came home, opened up my laptop, and started typing. It's been awhile since I've been able to sit glued to my computer, wanting to finish a story before the sun came up, eager to wake up the next early-afternoon to see who commented or how many views or retweets on Twitter or "likes" I got on Facebook. Who knows? Maybe I'm a junkie for instant gratification. Or maybe I just forgot how much I love writing about this stuff.
I have a few projects that I'm working on, including a new pilot and a feature screenplay I've been writing. My personal life is great, and there are many things falling into place for me. But, truth be told, I miss writing this blog. I really do. I need it to keep me focused. Sure, the thrill of writing something anonymously is gone, and with the #Doorman pilot published online, my name is now permanently attached to this blog, but who's to say I can't have a place to vent? And, sad to say, who really gives a fuck about what the guy holding the door open publishes on the internet?
Because, let's face it - no one cares about what he has to say in the workplace.
So please accept my request to once again become part of your ritual when you are browsing the internet while procrastinating at work or trying to unwind at night, looking for an escape from your problems so you can laugh at mine.