Goddamn Jersey drivers and New York, New York, NEW YORK, how I miss thee

He was pretty heavy-handed with the horn, even for a New York City taxi driver. Although not without justification: a few cars ahead of us, a someone was holding up the traffic with an amateur attempt at a parallel parking job. Anyone could see that the spot wasn’t big enough.

But hope springs eternal when you’re trying to park your car in Manhattan—SUVs become sedans, hatchbacks become shoeboxes. Parking is 90% mental and you can fit anywhere if you try hard enough.

Reality finally set in as the honking cars piled up behind the golden sedan with the pale yellow license plate. Accelerating quickly—you can give up, but not without your pride—the car drove off in hopes of finding something more realistic.

The driver of my taxi wasn’t going to let him off that easily, and serenaded the sedan with a goodbye “fuck you” with his horn. “Goddamn Jersey drivers,” he scoffed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The parking garage on my mother’s street was one of Chelsea’s main dog treat stops in her day—we couldn’t go past the place without her getting at least one. Because of this—and, well, because I once dated one of the employees— everyone who works there knows me by name. I never come home without stopping in to say hello.

“So you like Portland?” asked Charlie, the night manager, pronouncing the name of my adopted city as “POTE-lan.”

“I do. It’s so much less uptight, more down-to-earth. Oregon is beautiful.”

Charlie was incredulous. “You don’t miss New York?”

“What’s there to miss about New York?” I shot back, although as soon as I heard myself say it, I knew I was lying.

“HA! What isn’t there to miss about New York? All you have to do is say the name and you miss it! New York. See?”

11 thoughts on “Goddamn Jersey drivers and New York, New York, NEW YORK, how I miss thee

  1. I have similar feelings about Jersey drivers when they try to parallel park in Vermont. It has nothing to do with hope and everything to do with that pale yellow license plate. ;-)

  2. I can’t stop saying “POTE-lan.”

    When people ask me if I miss home, they are referring to the US, which is a strange question for me to consider. In a way, the US is everywhere (oh, globalization…), so its hard to feel detached enough to miss. I get homesick, but mainly its for people, not places. But I think thats what happens when your home is a flat Midwestern suberb vs New York City.

    I hope all is well with you and the pup.

  3. I was never good at parallel parking and since I became an insufferable yuppie with an SUV (note: I haven’t had Starbucks coffee since buying, so I have some hope of redemption), I think I lack all ability to parallel park on the first try. Or second. Or within the first umpteen times. But I also lack the arrogance of trying to do the impossible and impeding others.

    Hey, I kind of missed Charlie! Haven’t seen his words of wisdom in this space in quite a while. Always enjoyed your New York characters!

  4. Dang, you have had some ultra diverse experiences on either side of this waffle. Whole different ways of being.

    I read a line in a blog recently that made me think about how true it was and how weird it was too. People carry themselves differently in different places. They walk differently. (And definitely drive differently.)

    Do you notice that in yourself when you go back and forth?

    In any case, I’m enjoying reading about your time!

  5. awwwwwwwwwh me TOO and I’ve only visited NY once for a week but I began missing it the moment we said goodbye to our last cab driver on the way to the airport. Awwhhh…NY. :p

  6. brings back memories…I spent many a buck in that parking garage and must say, it was well worth it, being with you guys…New York, New York, I miss thee also…

  7. Excellent narrative, particularly in the first half. I’m a California boy myself but New York has been high up on my list of places to someday visit. I know the experience just wouldn’t be the same from my perspective as a tourist but I like to think I could absorb some of the charm.

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