Riding Uptown. In Soft Rain.

3:25 pm. I step out of 111 Wall Street, downtown Manhattan.
30 min to get to midtown. Tight.
Rain sprinkles.
Uber: “Car unavailable at this time.” Wow.
I walk up the block to the intersection.  Look in all directions. No cabs. Please.
Walk up another block. Nothing.
Walk across the street. Nothing.
Walk across another street, and he rounds the corner, my right arm flies up. Bam.

“525 5th please…”
He doesn’t repeat it. Did he get it?
He has no smartphone. No GPS. No smart re-routing around traffic.
24 minutes.

No radio blaring. No TV screen behind front seat shouting ads.
No water bottle or coffee cup on console.
No crucifix on thin chain hanging from rearview mirror. No patron saint. No Jesus Saves.
No pics of loved one(s) on dash.
No ring on his finger. None on his ear or his nose.
No sunglasses on visor. No eyeglasses.
No NY Post on the seat.
No box of Kleenex or NY Mets baseball cap in door pocket.
12 min and 3 miles out.

Pale white skin…but something deep here. Sadness. Loss. Grief. Pastiloff’s, “We never know when we might face things that topple our hearts over and bring us to our knees…”
His right hand at 2pm on steering wheel.
His head, unmoved. Still. Like if he were to move, it would hurt, all over.
Polo shirt. Green. Khaki slacks, neat.
Hair, clean cut above the collar. Grey streaks. Early 50’s.
Cabin is silent.

Rain continues to spit, wipers flap intermittently.

We exit into midtown, traffic snarls. I’m going to be late.
“You can let me off anywhere within two blocks of 5th”
No response.
There’s a delivery truck stalled on 42nd. Traffic is merging into left lane. Horns are blaring.
6 minutes.
Other cabs, cars and delivery trucks squeeze by and avoid oncoming traffic. Chaos.
Driver keeps his cool, slides into clearing and pulls me up to the curb.
“Will this work?” No accent. Clear, crisply spoken English.
“Perfect.”
I hand him the fare, he silently clasps his hand over the cash, and pulls away.
I stand on curb, rain falls softly, and I watch him disappear into traffic.

Days later I’m flipping through blog posts, and excerpts of Barbara Greenfell Fairhead’s poem “Soft Rain” take me back.

What I remember of the day: soft rain… / and hearing / so deeply / far deeper than words the heart-beat of unspoken things.

I’ll remember this moment.


Notes: Photo – NY City Cab by JJ

Comments

  1. You do these so well, David. Sharing a moment, your thoughts, observances and then quoting all these perfect bits of poetry to go with. You truly have a gift.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. you are still with him

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A ride to remember. Beautifully captured. The unspoken word leaves our minds reeling with different life scenarios, that we can never confirm, or connect with again. 😔

    Liked by 3 people

  4. He is probably tired of making small talk. Or maybe he’s not a social type – just doing the job because he needs the money. But wow, what a weird trip for you. You’ll be thinking about him for a long time. Well written piece, DK. I was there with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Projecting silent sorrow as the wipers keep time with the rhythm of heartache. This man was far more than the blank slate of his cab. You acknowledged his subtle hues and shadings – and I’ll remember that.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Incredibly well perceived and voiced trip, Dave. THIS is why we stay so happily with you. THIS. Had my heart in my mouth, riding with you …..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Like everyone else, I was moved by this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.” Susan Sontag

    A moving experience beautifully limned, DK…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I had Ray Lamontagne radio on yesterday and a song I never heard before came on. There’s just something about this hotel…
    The song is New York City’s killing me.
    I didn’t like it. I love New York. And your Rides or Walking cross this town make me love it evenmore.
    Thank you.

    Glad you finally got your silent driver. And you made something beautiful out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Christie says:

    Ray Lamontagne, love him…been rec’ his emails for years…Oh the song “Let it Be Me” a fav…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for sharing these special mindful moments 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Christie says:

    Seems, his taxi was a refuge, a zen bubble from the bustling metropolis of a modern world…where the quiet overtakes, decompression allowed…is the gift of peaceful breath accepted…while floating through mid-town embraced by the cool, silent, slow, soft rain, washing away the present concerns…perhaps his depth, is wisdom unforced…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow. Your assessment of this man is chilling. And full and … so … human. Thanks for this one. 🌺

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Above comments say it all. You know just how to get us. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. poetry in motion, literally…

    Liked by 1 person

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