On cab rides, conversations, and the big city.
I arrived in NYC roughly three hours ago. Thankfully. The weather in the Midwest was causing quite a conniption, and my first flight was cancelled (last night, thankfully). My best guess is that it was originating from somewhere that was being bombarded with tornadoes. So, while my flight didn’t end up changing times, I went from flying in to JFK, to LaGuardia. My original plan has been public transportation to Brooklyn from JFK, but now a cab ride was the best bet (as urged by my parents who offered to foot the cab fare).
After an hour of de-icing and a ridiculous amount of turbulence, we made it to NYC and I hopped in a cab to meet my sister at her work. The start was slow going. And cabs are expensive. The cabbie and I shared a few words about the “bastard driving the bus” who went through the car line for the EZ pass and held everything up, so we started discussing driving and talking about where we’d lived. I may have painted an initially bad picture of Minnesota, as I lamented about the icy, slushy, snowy shit that was currently plaguing the state. He had mentioned how he had originally wantEd to see all the states, but now he might skip over Minnesota, so I again lamented about my state, but this time about how wonderful the summer was. However, I admitted how the cold was making me unhappy, and it would be nice to some day be somewhere that was warm year round.
When he began talking about NYC and Manhattan, his most important note was how the place is busy with people and entertainment, and you need not have friends everywhere you go in the city. Brilliant, the same reasons that I gravitate toward cities–they are so alive. He wondered if I’d ever been to New Jersey, and I said I had no reason to ever go there, he assured me I was best staying away.
This moment is when the conversation hit home and I truly connected to my driver. New Jersey, he said, is quiet. It is quiet and he never saw his neighbors. It was quiet and he felt like and outsider in his own city. It was quiet and made him feel alone and lonely. After six months he knew he’d had enough and he’s been in NYC the past two years. I never learned where he originally came from, the cab ride wasn’t quite long enough, but he had a beautiful, thick accent from a francophone African country. So, the hustle and bustle is not for everyone, and maybe sometimes those of us that love it need a break every once in a while, but it does cure loneliness quickly. And loneliness is a harsh and painful reality that we all fight at some point. But what better way to fight it than surrounding yourself with so much life? Or year round warmth, to keep everyone outside? New York City may not be the place for me, but I know I’ll always be a city girl. It’s the easiest and fastest way I know how to stave off the loneliness when it hits.