Direction deficit is definitely my forte. I could get lost crossing through the shuffle of traffic anytime, anywhere – even when the trusty little map is sitting next to me. To know me is to love me even though I will never be able to find my way to your house without a designated driver (I don’t drink by the way). It has become a sort of trademark associated with me. It all began about twenty years or so ago (am I dating myself?) when I tried to drive into New York City all on my own. Those closest to me will never let me travel those roads unaccompanied again. The story goes like this:
It was a beautiful, spring day in the summer of 1987 and I was about to embark on a short one-hour drive into NYC. The skies were clear, the gas tank was full and I was in good spirits. With very little traffic on the Palisades Parkway, I was enjoying the music on the radio and singing along. I came to the George Washington Bridge and made my way through the tollbooth. Immediately upon exiting the tolls, I changed lanes and took the first exit (the one that I thought would be the entrance into the boroughs.) The exit ramp looped around and I found myself back at the tollbooth, paying the bridge toll.
“This can’t be right,” I thought aloud.
I crossed the bridge, exited the ramp and took the first turn. Again.
I found myself back on the bridge with the very same toll taker. I handed him the fare and said,
“Hi again. I can’t seem to get off this bridge, can you help me?”
I cannot stress the following enough to you at this point – not ALL toll takers, transit employees, whatever you call them are rude. This guy was.
“Not my problem, lady. You’re holding up traffic. Move along.”
Story of my life, just keep moving along even when you are heading in the wrong direction and you know it.
I exited the same ramp, found myself back on the bridge again. It was at this point, the point when your blood pressure is rising, your heart rate racing and you begin to panic, you ask yourself, “What would Dad do?”
I noticed a “Yellow Cab” parked off to the side. I specify the yellow guys because my dad always told me to look for them. “They’re the good guys” he would say, “Stay away from the gypsy cabs.” My father is a wise man so I followed his advice and approached the yellow cab.
I pulled behind the yellow cab, put on my four-way flashers and ran to his window,
“Hey Buddy, my Pal, I have a proposition for you.”
He smiled that cab driver smile. I don’t know if at this point he may have thought I was one of those “other” girls propositioning him. Anyway, I hesitated and then I said,
“I will give you five dollars right now and another five dollars when you get me across and off of this darn bridge. I’m in a loop. Can I follow you and get the heck out of here?”
He reached up and took the five dollars, gave it the once over as he smiled and handed it back to me.
“Keep your money, lady. I’m going to be talking about this one for a long time. It’s worth far more than a few bucks.”
True to his Yellow Cab reputation – he was a good guy. He led me over and off the bridge, away from the city. He even pulled off to the side and pointed straight ahead as if to say, “Keep going, lady, and don’t come back.”
I went straight towards home. I never got into NYC that day. I went back to bed instead and took my headache with me.
I hung my car keys on the key holder that day and rarely drive long-distance alone. Even though all of my friends tell me to get a GPS system, I got something better…
I got married and he does all the driving now. Who needs Morgan Freeman anyhow?