Wednesday, August 16

A New York Minute

Today I stepped into the cleanest cab in NYC with perhaps that best looking cabbie ever. What the hell?! I'm always so fascinated with these guys because they are inevitably immigrants and I figure they must have a great story to tell. I always ask lots of questions. Today's hottie was from Egypt and he was beautiful. (Trust me when I tell you this is highly unusual. The hottie aspect, not necessarily the Egyptian part.) I asked why he came to the US. He said "For a better life". He explained that he has been here for eight years but that he goes back to Egypt every three months. He says he's been able to make enough money to buy a new car and a new house in Cairo. He had recently married but said his wife didn't want to move here. She is convinced that life would be difficult in the US if/when another "bad thing" happens here. I told him I was sorry she felt that way but that I understood. We talked about current events and how upsetting it all is. Let's just say he was not impressed with Bush. He did, however, say he always goes back and tells everyone that Americans aren't what they think. I thanked him for sticking up for us.

Yesterday, I hopped in a cab with a nice man from Africa. I noticed he had a pair of well worn baby sneakers hanging from his rear view mirror. I'm in the habit of making up stories about strangers. I'd made up several about the shoes when I finally couldn't take it anymore. As I was stepping out of the cab I asked "Who's shoes are those?" The cabbie beamed and said "My little boy's." He went on to say "He's going to be six years old this weekend. He wants to go to Chuckie Cheese." I gave him and extra big tip and told him to have fun with his birthday boy. I don't know when I last saw a man light up like that when he spoke of his child. It was so sweet.

These are my favorite moments in New York. I don't know of anywhere else in the US where it seems every country on earth is represented. Due to the age of the place, I also find myself wondering about the man who built the fabulous stone wall I pass in Central Park or the craftsman who worked on that amazing awning or brownstone. I love it. Now I just need to take the time to write down some of the stories I make up. This place is a writer's paradise. No wonder so many flock here.

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