Rae and I got gussied up for dinner. She wore a slinky sundress where men actually stopped her on the street to say: “You look FINE”. One guy ran two blocks calling after her “Summer! Summer!” I thought he was being poetic, but he actually thought she was someone named Summer. I was wearing a blue dress where women on the street stopped to ask me if I could carry large baskets propped on my hips. It just wasn’t fair.
Rae, needless to say, hailed the cabs for us. One guy saw her lifting her slinky arm and he pulled over so fast, flames erupted from the tire’s wheels. That should have been a sign.
Rae said: “We’re going to 6th Avenue and Cornelia stree…” before she even finished the sentence, the cab driver took off, pushing Rae and me back into our seat with the sheer velocity. You know those car chases in movies where a cab is weaving in and out of traffic, nearly hits people, sends fruit carts flying? Well that was us. In between trying to breathe and passing out from fear, I checked the speedometer. He was driving 70mph IN MANHATTAN RUSH HOUR.
Rachel tried to talk me through the experience, the way a dentist asks you questions you can’t really answer because there’s an enormous shot in your mouth. I started laughing uncontrollably when he nearly took out a rickshaw.
“Can’t. Breathe.” I said.
“You want to hold hands?” Rae asked.
Another five minutes of our cabbie trying to outrun a demon and I’d had enough. We came to a stop and I just couldn’t contain it and said “YOU ARE SCARING THE CRAP OUT OF ME!!!” Then I started laughing. Rae started laughing. The cab driver started laughing. “I mean, I don’t want to offend you, you’re clearly a really good driver, but are you TRYING to give me a heart attack? When is this going to be over?”
The cab driver said (in an actual New York accent which I haven’t heard in forever) “I’m sorry. We’re all okay here. Everything is okay.”
“Do you play video games?” I asked, because talking made the terror easier to bear.
“Only game I ever played was Donkey Kong.”
“Ah. Okay,” I said, and then: “So it’s just a natural talent for driving like a maniac, and not created by too many hours of Grand Theft Auto.” I didn’t say that last part actually, but I wanted to.
The cabbie gently pulled over and came to a stop. He smiled and I think shot us a salute once we got out of the car, but it was hard to see because of all the flames.
Scariest experience ever.
And it was also a tiny bit thrilling.