September 22, 2004

The Bronx, by Moonlight

There is something oddly beautiful about Bruckner Blvd. at 10:00 on a Tuesday night in the Fall. The cars go whizzing by as they pass by the scrap metal yards, building supplies establishments, gas stations, strip clubs, and mysterious boarded up lots with huge amounts of razor tipped barb wire. True, your quiet contemplation of this urban landscape may be disturbed by the shouts of the driver telling the gas station attendant that he gave him a ten dollar bill and not a five and that he better program the pump for ten dollars, all expletives deleted here. But you let that all roll past you since you left your house some 16 1/2 hours earlier that morning and you sit in the car sort of half dazed by lack of rest.

At this point, you may be wondering, with apologies to the Talking Heads, this is not my beautiful train. How did I get to this place? Metro North. Police activity. Shut down the New Haven line for who knows how long. Stranded in Grand Central Station.

So I called a car service. The car service assured me that they would have a car for me in 8 minutes. I must have misheard them. It took more like 40 minutes. I stood outside the Grand Hyatt on 42nd Street for 40 minutes and watched the Secret Service and Police cars fly by with the dignitaries and their hangers on. The UN General Assembly is in session and all kinds of world leaders are here to address the Assembly and do a little shopping. It was fun to watch the President of Kenya, surrounded by body guards and guys trying to sell knock off Rolex watches (I kid) and other guys in flowing white robes saunter into the hotel. I was still out there when one of the bodyguards came out and, in accented but idiomatic English, have a long, pleading cell phone conversation with a woman (I presume) who he was trying to convince to come out and give him some special international intervention. Highly entertaining. The doorman I was standing next to thought so, too. This was easily the high point of the journey home last night.

When we managed to tear ourselves away from the conversation with the gas station attendant and leave the Bronx behind, we journeyed on to Westchester and home. Where the son of a bitch driver tried to cheat me. First, I paid the toll at I 95 -- $1. Then, he asked me if I could pay the tip in cash and I said, sure and gave him a $10. The denomination may not have registered with him because when I gave him the $10, he told me that there was a mandatory 20% tip. Also, his math? Not so good. A 20% tip would have been $10.40. So I, at that point with no patience, lost my temper. I took the ten back. I told him that this was the first time in the many years I had been using this car service that I had ever heard that and I was going to call the dispatcher right now and ask if that was true. He told me to forget it. I then got the charge slip to find that he added $5 on for "tolls". At that point I crossed that out, told him that I wasn't tipping him at all, accused him of trying to cheat me and left. Not a great ending to a not great trip. I'm going to be calling American Express shortly to see how much the car service has tried to actually put through on my card. Then I'm calling the car service customer service people. Let the games begin.

What idiot said it was the journey, not the destination, that mattered? I have a number for a great car service for him.

Posted by Random Penseur at September 22, 2004 08:38 AM

I hope things go better don't want to deal with that crap everyday!

Posted by: Mick at September 22, 2004 09:32 AM

good afternoon anyway.

Posted by: standing naked at September 22, 2004 12:15 PM

Sic 'em, Random. They just don't know who they're fooling with.

Posted by: Amber at September 22, 2004 09:54 PM

Crap, that sucks.
I wish I could say that this happened to me, but it's, als, only a story told by my High School biology teaxher:

"I got out of the cab after the ride and handed the driver the fare plus a fiver.

'Is that all...?' he pleaded.

'Oh, did I hand you a five? I'm sorry, jus' give that back to me.'

He handed it back and thereupon I told him to get the fuck outta here."

Posted by: Tuning Spork at September 23, 2004 08:07 AM

I can relate to your experience, as well as Tuning Spork's. Hopefully, you can use a different car service in the future. If you need a good, reliable, and professional car service email me. It's bad enough when you have to work that late, to be subjected to such rudeness in addition would put me over the edge easily.

I rarely stay late anymore, instead I telecommute after taking a pleasant dinner break at home. It's a much better environment, as I can work in my sweats or jammies, with my favorite mug by my side.

Hope this evening's commute is much better.

Posted by: michele at September 23, 2004 02:26 PM

I need to use a car service again tonight (9/28) and you better believe I'm using a different one!

Posted by: RP at September 28, 2004 11:26 AM
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