We were about to leave Manhattan during rush hour on a sweltering, I mean SWELTERING summer day – Do I have your sympathy yet? Thermometers were off the charts rising toward 98 degrees and the sidewalks in Manhattan screamed HOTTER! Needless to say, everyone was beyond a bad mood.
So, we’re driving down a side street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side hoping to get out of Manhattan as fast as possible when the car overheated. I mean smoke billowed out from under that hood as if a fire breathing dragon dived in there and wasn’t leaving. SCARY!
Obviously, we pulled over to the sidewalk where of course there is NO parking. Actually, there is no parking anywhere unless you double park/blocking traffic, park in front of a fire hydrant, park where there are no parking/standing signs, and the meter cops are not friendly- especially not on a HOT day. Stressed enough? Well, from insult to heat seeking injury I was elected to sit on the hot sidewalk by the car to keep the Parking Gestapo at bay should they arrive while the owner/driver nervously paced in the shade and talking on the phone to make arrangements for a mechanic to stare down the fire breathing dragon lurking under the still steaming car hood. At this point, I didn’t know who was steaming more, the dragon or me.
After my third BIG GULP bottle of cold water, I was sitting on the sidewalk trying to ignore the sweat pouring off me by watching air-conditioned cars edge bumper to bumper past me in the street. While seated a random thought popped into my head… ‘I wonder if my friend that I haven’t seen in years since he moved to Brooklyn is still driving a cab? Hmmm, how he was doing… I wondered…
As if on cue, the air-conditioned taxi he drove came down the street toward Columbus Ave and stopped in traffic directly in front of me. As if in a dream, I rose from my heated sidewalk throne and slowly walked to his inert taxi stuck in traffic. I tapped on his closed window, he turned, I waved. Astonished to see me, he rolled down the window. Before we could utter a word, horns honked – the definition of a New York minute – traffic moved and he drove away. …Be careful what you wish for on a hot NYC afternoon.