Tag Archives: NYC

6 things only people from Queens will understand

When I say that I’m from Queens, what I really mean is, I grew up on Long Island, and moved to Astoria right after college. That’s the same as being from Queens, right? Anybody? Listen, Queens is like the number one immigrant destination in the country. And so, technically, yes, I can say I’m from Queens, just like my neighbors from Lahore can say that they’re from Queens too. My journey just happened to lack all of that hardship and sacrifice. Yeah, I guess mine wasn’t really much of a journey. I think my dad drove in with the minivan to help move the mattress to my first apartment.

But come on. Long Island’s not that far away. And do I really have to get out the map? Queens, Long Island, even Brooklyn, it’s all the same geographical landmass. I’m not even kidding, one time I rode my bike from my place in Queens to my parents’ house on Long Island. It didn’t even take that much more than an hour. Also, Queens is huge. It’s the biggest borough. Like once you get past where the subways don’t run anymore, those outer Queens neighborhoods are virtually identical to where I grew up. Some of them are even much nicer (I’m looking at you, Douglaston.)

So whatever, call me a poser, but here are 6 things only people from Queens will understand.

  1. Diversity

OK, maybe you don’t have to be from Queens to understand diversity, but our borough is like a modern day Ellis Island. You know, without the typhoid quarantine rooms and forced name-changing registration books. OK, look, I went to an all-boys Catholic high school (on Long Island) where only about ten out of the sixteen hundred students weren’t white. So I can appreciate how any comments about diversity coming out of my mouth tend to sound straight out an after-school-special. But for real, Queens is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country.

And I’m not just talking about all the different restaurants available to deliver take-out. (Although, from Filipino fast-food chains to the best falafel in New York, we’ve got basically every food group covered.) I’m talking about people with backgrounds from all over world living together in this multicultural ethnic tapestry. Sure, that sounds cheesy as hell, but it’s true. In Queens, different communities oftentimes exist occupying the same exact space. The result, I think, is the truest example of America as a melting pot.

  1. Wait, where?

In Queens. What, you’re lost? Well, nobody really gets lost anymore, not since everybody started carrying around their own personal GPS inside their pockets. But even if you do know where you’re going, if you’re going to get lost anywhere in modern America, it’s probably going to be in Queens.

Don’t believe me? I live on 31st Drive. The next street over is 31st Road. After that it’s 31st Avenue. Confusing? Yeah. I get rings on my doorbell all the time, delivery guys that can’t tell if it was me that ordered food or one of my almost identically addressed counterparts. Apparently there’s supposed to be some order behind what looks like chaos, although you might need an advanced degree in urban planning in order to figure out the system. Just don’t get discouraged if you can’t find your way around Queens. In addition to Roads, Avenues, and Drives, there are Crescents, Terraces, Streets, Places and Lanes. Take solace in the fact that you’re hardly the first person to get totally lost meeting a friend at 60th and 60th.

  1. No, seriously, where? Is that a hyphen?

Oh yeah, and to make things just a little more confusing, all of the street addresses are two sets of numbers separated by a hyphen. Nothing says going to Queens quite like typing in a bunch of hyphenated numerals into your maps app followed by, “Sorry, we couldn’t find that address. Did you mean …” No, I meant it like I wrote it. It’s the same with online delivery. “We are unable to verify your address. Send anyway?” Come on, you can’t figure out how to incorporate a dash into an online address form?

There’s actually a good reason for the hyphen. It’s supposed to serve as a small clue to help you get a little closer to figuring out where you’re going. So if you’re address is, let’s say, 12-34 32nd Street, then the second part, that 34, tells you that the cross street is 34th Avenue. In theory, this is great. It gets a little complicated though when, say, then next avenue after 34th Ave. is Broadway, and then it picks up again with 31st. In that case, I think they just make up a random number, at least to maintain the continuity of the hyphen.

  1. Shea Stadium was cooler

Yes, it was a dump. But it was our dump. Have the Mets won any World Series since they moved to Citibank Field? I’m not saying it’s a direct causal relationship, but it’s hard to ignore such striking evidence. And why did Citibank get to take over the Mets? How come the Yankees got to keep their stadium as simply Yankee Stadium while we have to suffer the indignity of the corporate branding? Does anybody else feel a little dirty saying “Pepsi Porch?”

Shea Stadium was awesome. The post-modern ruins of the World’s Fair, that giant metal globe at Corona Park, that other stadium across the way where they play tennis once a year, all of it capped off by those huge neon baseball player silhouettes that lined the perimeter of Shea. I don’t know, maybe Citi Field will grow on me in like twenty or thirty years, but every time I see that logo, all I think is, “Sorry we almost ruined the economy. Thanks for selling us the Mets.”

  1. Does that Wendy’s Look Familiar?

The one that was on Queens Boulevard, don’t you feel like you’ve seen it somewhere? Maybe a classic 1980s comedy? Yep, that was it, the McDowell’s from Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America. Unfortunately, they tore it down in 2013 to make room for some ultra luxury condo or something. I always ride my bike to and from work across the Queensboro Bridge, and once in a while I’d stay on the bike lane to Queens Boulevard. I’d ride to Wendy’s, thinking about asking for a manager and saying something like, “When you think of garbage, think of Akeem!”

But I never made it inside. I’d always get too tempted by the White Castle just down the block. There used to be a White Castle right across from where I live by 21st Street. But one day I went to get a Crave Case and there was a sign on the door: “Sorry! We’re closing down! Visit us at Queens Boulevard!” I was so pissed, but a little hopeful. I thought, man, if they got White Castle to close up shop, there must be something really amazing coming to take its place. And I waited and watched as construction crews came and did all of this work behind taped-up windows. And then one day, finally, the big reveal: a Radio Shack. I’ve never been more disappointed in my life. Honestly, in like two years since it’s been in business, I’ve never any customers inside. I have no idea how they’re turning a profit. White Castle, on the other hand, had a line out the door, twenty-four hours a day. They even had a pedestrian drive-thru on the outside, for those times where you really wanted White Castle, but just didn’t feel like going all the way inside.

6.   Queens is the best

I got off topic a little, but Queens is great. It’s the greatest borough in the city. If I had to rank all five boroughs, I’d start with Queens as number one, obviously, and then I’d get so bored thinking about all of the other boroughs, like Staten Island, or Brooklyn, and I’d just give up, because who cares? Let them all be tied for a very, very distant second place.

Really, it doesn’t matter. Queens is number one. Did I mention that it’s the biggest borough? I read that in some statistic somewhere. There were actually two statistics, one of them said biggest per capita, and the other said biggest geographically. And now that I’m thinking about it, I can’t remember which one applied to Queens. The other one was the Bronx. Whatever, let’s just say that Queens is the biggest. It’s the best, and the biggest. If you’re from Queens, you know just what I’m talking about. And if you’re from Long Island and now you’re living in Queens, then you totally know even more, exactly what I’m talking about.

Originally published on Thought Catalog

30 awesome things to do in Astoria, Queens

1. Hanging out at my friend Bill’s place, drinking beer and playing Call of Duty online multiplayer until like two in the morning.


2. At like two or two-thirty, throwing out the question, “Do you want to get something to eat?” before opening up the Seamless App and realizing that all of the restaurants that you want to buy food from closed at like ten.

3. Remembering, wait a second, Bel Aire diner on 21st Street is open 24 hours. Let’s just order from there.

4. You realize that you really want a burger and fries, but doesn’t diner food always taste a little weird in a take-out container? Not weird, bad necessarily, but not great, not like sitting at the diner, getting a fresh burger. It’s the fries, yeah, they’ve got to be crisp. They can’t sit there steaming in a to-go container, everything gets all soggy. Rhe lettuce and tomato on the burger, that gets soggy too. You guys are really stoned and this food should at least hit some of the right buttons.

5. Bill says, “Let’s just go to the diner. I mean, it’s open all night.” And you’re like, “Yeah, that’s a good idea. Let’s do it.”

6. And then you sit around for like two more hours, playing some more video games, but your fingers hurt, you’ve lost that video game spark, and you’re just kind of mindlessly moving through the maps, not really making any contribution to the team kill count, passing Bill’s little pipe back and forth.

7. It’s the same with the pot. It’s like, smoke all you want, at this point in the night it’s not doing anything, you’re not getting any higher. It’s just making that metallic taste in the sides of your mouth more pronounced.

8. You’re like, “Hey Bill, weren’t we going to go to the diner?”

9. And at this point, you don’t even want to go anymore. It’s close to four-thirty, the sooner you get to bed, the sooner you can get up tomorrow and start nursing that buzzing hangover already starting to give birth at the sides of your head, the one that’ll insist on you streaming all of your favorite Netflix shows while you lie stunned on the couch, while simultaneously making it impossible to really absorb or digest what’s happening on screen. So while yes, you’ll technically be able to say you watched all of House of Cards season two, you won’t really remember what happened, or who did what, and when everyone talks about it at work, you’ll just try your best not to look confused.

10. But Bill is finally like, “Nah man, we’re going. Let’s go.” And he gets his coat on and you’re like, OK, I guess we’re going.

11. Bel Aire diner is much farther away than you remember, and it’s always pretty depressing walking this west of Broadway past one or two in the morning. That buzz of life and activity that defines your mental definition of Astoria, you question whether it ever existed in the first place as you gaze out at the desolate parking lot on the corner of 21st and Broadway, the Rite Aid, the Post Office. What happened to the White Castle?

12. But you go inside and, seriously, you didn’t expect it to be this crowded. Where are all of these people coming from? Why doesn’t anybody else look as dead as you feel on the inside right now?

13. They seat you right away and, even though you knew you just wanted a burger, this menu is huge, and maybe you want a milkshake, or a waffle, or some fried calamari.

14. You ask the waiter for just another minute, and he disappears for twenty. Actually getting food feels like an eternity. You have all the time in the world to mull over what you’ll order.

15. And when the waiter finally shows back up, you surprise even yourself when the words, “I’ll have a Monte Christo please, and a Coke,” come out of your mouth.

16. When Bill says, “What’s the Monte Christo?” you don’t even remember, and the waiter already took the menu away, but it must have looked really tasty.

17. And while the walking to the diner took forever, and the ordering took half a lifetime, the food shows up two and a half minutes later. It’s the Monte Christo. It’s French toasted challah topped with hot turkey and ham covered in melted Swiss. The waiter gives you a little monkey dish of butter and maple syrup, again, you had no idea, but you think, whatever man, he gave it to me for a reason.

18. And then you blink and you’re walking out of the diner, only having the vaguest idea of having devoured something delicious, the corners of your lips coated with the residual stick of mapley deliciousness.

19. And then you blink again and you’re back at your place, you’re lying in your bed trying to go to sleep but, even though you couldn’t keep your eyes open toward the end of the night at Bill’s, now everything’s kind of buzzing. But it’s not a buzz, buzzing, it’s like just enough of a buzz to keep you up. And the sun’s starting to come up and that’s not helping you drift off either. All you’re thinking about is how you overdid it, how you were looking so forward to this weekend but now it’s over, and tomorrow’s shot, and maybe some of Monday too.

20. You wake up in the morning and the hangover is soul shattering.

21. There’s nothing in the fridge. You place a takeout order to Brooklyn Bagel, and the guy has you on hold for like fifteen minutes. You know that this is only the tip of the waiting-around iceberg here. You’re on the phone, lying in your own misery, while the rest of Astoria is out and about, they’re all awake, they’re all currently standing on line at Brooklyn Bagel. They take the priority, OK, take out calls for lazy assholes too hungover to put on a pair of pants, they’ve got to wait.

22. You order your two everything bagels with bacon egg and cheddar, you’re half gallon of Tropicana Some Pulp OJ, and no, you’re not being obnoxiously over-specific, it’s the take out guy. Everything you order has at least two or three follow-up questions. Cheese: what kind? OJ: what size? How much pulp?

23. And what time is it anyway? Twelve-thirty? That’s actually not too bad. Maybe some of Sunday night can still be salvaged here. I mean, it’s still kind of late. You’re not going to go running in Astoria Park or anything, but maybe drinks later at The Strand? I’m just saying, it’s not like it’s three, or four. Twelve-thirty, you can still get breakfast at twelve-thirty.

24. And then the food finally shows up, you hadn’t anticipated the shame of having to confront another human being in your current state, really hung over, disheveled, desperate for food. All while this other person is, what, he’s on a bike delivering the food that you couldn’t get yourself to get dressed and wait on line for like everyone else? Maybe if you just give him a big tip, like a seven or eight dollar tip, maybe he won’t think you’re such a loser. He must party every once in a while, right? You guys are just on different schedules. Just like an eight or nine dollar tip.

25. The food, it’s great, but it’s just like your grandmother always said when you were a little kid, that thing about your eyes being bigger than your stomach. Because yeah, you were really hungry, and sure, two bagels seemed like a good idea at a time. But two bites into that second sandwich and it’s obvious the extra money that you’ve wasted. Maybe you’ll eat it later, but probably not. More than likely it’s going to sit there for the rest of the day, a cautionary tale, a reminder when you go to order dinner that, hey man, just take it easy OK? Maybe you only need four tacos from Los Portales, OK, not eight. That’s just excessive.

26. And when Bill calls you up at four and you’re like, “Bill, did you just get up?” and he’s like, “Yeah man, when did you get up?” you don’t have to be honest, you can just say that you don’t remember. But take a look, OK, that’s a guy who doesn’t have his shit together, OK, you can’t sleep until four in the afternoon, man, this isn’t college, all right, this shit isn’t cute when you’re almost thirty.

27. You’re starting to feel better about yourself, but you remember all of that pot Bill bought yesterday, how you guys barely made a dent last night, even though you just kept smoking, over and over again, you can still feel it on the back of your throat.

28. “Hey Bill, you want to get together and watch some House of Cards?”

29. “Yeah man, I’ve still got all of that pot. You want to grab some beers and come over?”

30. Bingo. And then you head over to Bill’s for a nice, easy Sunday. Nothing crazy, nothing like last night. Maybe just Corona, you know, nothing crazy. And bring the bagel. Someone’ll eat it. Just enjoy it man, you’re still young, just put on a clean pair of pants and go to Bill’s. And fucking House of Cards man, that show is the fucking best, you gotta savor that shit, because you know you’re going to blow through, if not all thirteen episodes, at least six, at least a solid six or seven hours of once-a-year, quality TV.

Too many people, not enough space on the subway

I was taking the subway the other day, it was a Saturday, the trains weren’t running as frequently as they do during the week, and so even though there were less people using the system, all of the cars were just as crowded. It’s like every single time I take the subway, I always find myself standing awkwardly over someone, just way too close. Tell me whatever you want about subway etiquette, but there’s no right way to go about doing anything.


It’s like, I’m an able-bodied guy, and yes, I’d like to sit down if there are seats available. But chances are, there aren’t any seats available. And if I somehow do manage to sit down, it’ll only be like two or three stops before the whole car is full, I’ll feel guilty just sitting there while that old lady is standing not even three feet away. And what’s the cut off for old if you’re talking about an old lady? Seventy? Sixty? How old is that lady over there? I have no idea. I can’t ask.

And I feel like some people can read my guilt, they inch in a little closer, maybe make a pained expression, like if only I weren’t so old, if only I didn’t have to carry this giant cello, or maybe if I weren’t eight months pregnant, I’d be able to stand here without having this guy feel super guilty about sitting down. Eventually I’ll cave, “Here you go,” I never know quite how to say it, or how to accept the inevitable “Thank you.”

I just want to get from point A to point B without having to navigate through twenty-five random social interactions that I never really know exactly how to handle in real time. It’s not that I’m against giving up my seat for someone else, it’s just that I don’t want to have to go through the whole act of giving up my seat, and so unless the car is like totally empty, I’ll just stand, whatever.

One time I saw some guy go to give up his seat for an old lady, and right as he stood, some young punk wearing a pair of two-hundred dollar looking headphones swooped down and snatched it before the intended recipient of the seat had a chance to take the spot. The guy who gave it up made an angry face like, “Hey!” but the asshole just kind of stared off into the distance, smirking. What was the guy going to do, get physical? The old lady didn’t put up much of a fight either because, well, what are you going to do? It’s not like she lost anything. She just kind of drifted back into the anonymous background of the city, all while everyone standing around kind of wished that there was something to be done about this guy with his headphones blasting music so loud that it was impossible not to ignore the thump-thump of the bass escaping well past his own personal space.

What about the performers, the music acts and dance troupes that make you watch some three minute routine before sticking a hat in your face, looking you directly in the eye and saying, “Thank you, God bless,” when I refuse to acknowledge their existence? I feel like a huge dick, every single time. Maybe I enjoyed the song, probably not, but still, it’s not like I asked to be part of an audience. Why should I feel compelled to be a part of someone else’s theatrics?

On my train ride this weekend, I had to transfer from the N to the 7 at Queensboro Plaza. As we crept into the station, I could tell that a lot of people were going to get off, and another lot of people were right outside to take our places. The standard is that you let the people off before you get on, although it’s never that simple, because fifty percent of subway riders just don’t ascribe to this rule.

So sure enough, the doors opened, and I found myself face to face with another guy who didn’t look like he was in the mood to let anybody get off the train first. I used to get really pissed off about stuff like this, in the past I’d have shouted out something like, “Let the people off first!” or something aggressive like that. But yelling at a crowd of strangers, it’s like telling one pedestrian to get out of the bike lane on the bridge. You’re not changing anybody’s minds. Nobody’s listening to you. And so why should I get myself all bent out of shape? It’s just something totally beyond my control as a subway rider.

This guy wanted on, but I also wanted off, so I dodged a little to the right to hopefully make the simultaneous transition as smooth as possible. But it wasn’t a perfect motion, and my shoulder made contact with his for a second. Not a bid deal, right? Wrong. This guy leaned back, and then pushed me with his shoulder, hard, before disappearing inside the train that I had just left.

My rational thinking was gone, and everything inside boiled over with a primal rage. How dare that guy shove me? My jaw clenched and I fantasized about following him inside, where I’d punch him in the shoulder and start screaming in his face about letting the people off of the train before shoving your way inside. But the doors closed half a second later, and my senses slowly returned as I realized that I was just standing there, steaming at nobody, at somebody I’d in all likelihood never see again in my life.

But it’s just a shitty system, the New York subway. Everybody gets all defensive when you talk shit about the subway, they go on about how it’s the biggest transit system in the world, one of the only twenty-four hour means of mass transportation anywhere on Earth. And yeah, I guess if the city had a lot less people, maybe it could be something I’d consider using more often. But every time I need to take the train, I’m always standing, jammed inside, barely any space to breath. Every time there’s a stop, it’s the same struggle as people fight to get off and on. This system was developed like a hundred years ago, and it’s obvious that there are more people than spaces on the train. Why don’t they make it like four or five times bigger? Don’t you think the city would run a lot smoother if there were like a lot more trains? Why does it have to be such a fight just to get anywhere around here?

I’m going, man, I’m out of here

When the going gets tough, man, I’m going man, I’m out of here, OK, maybe if the going gets a little easier, maybe I’ll come back. Maybe, but probably not. Like when the washing machine broke down at my old place, my roommate Bill was like, “Should we call a repairman?” and I was like, “No, Bill, just call the super, OK, it’s not like it’s our washer and dryer, OK, that’s the owner’s problem, right, that’s what you call the super for.”


And the super, he didn’t live in the building, he lived somewhere else. I think he might have been the super for a bunch of buildings. I never asked him, but the few times that I did see him, he was always acting like he had to be going somewhere else, “I gotta get out of here man, sorry, I can’t really chit-chat, all right, I gotta get across town,” totally preempting me from even possibly asking a question, like hey man, maybe you could come upstairs and check out the sink, just, it’s not urgent, but you know, when you get a chance.

“Maybe if we call the repairman we can just have them send a bill to the owner.” That was Bill again. And yeah, it did suck not having a functioning washing machine. It was definitely one of, if not the reason we chose this place over all of the other apartments we looked at. Like that one six blocks closer to the subway. Or the one that had the lofted bedroom, the one with the spiral staircase.

“No way, Bill, come on man,” I remember making my argument, “we have to get this place. Do you know how many apartments in New York City have washers and dryers? Zero. None of them.” And yeah, even though Bill was like, “Well, not zero, I mean, what about this one? This one has a washer and dryer. So it’s got to be at least one, not zero.” I’m pretty sure he was joking. I mean, he’s thick, but he’s not that thick. And he wanted it too. How could you not want your own washer and dryer?

“Bill,” I tried to spell it out for him, “If we get some repairman to come in, you might as well get out the checkbook, because I can see it going down right now, the super’s going to be like, ‘I don’t know boss, I don’t think the owner’s gonna go for this,’ and we’ll be like, ‘Why not?’ and he’ll say, ‘I could have fixed that, all right, I was going to fix that. Why didn’t you guys call me up?’”

Because we can’t call him up. We’re supposed to go through the management company, even though it’s just the owner’s house up in Westchester, it’s not a real management company, it’s just him, I’ve called up, plenty of times, the pipes were clogged, or we needed the exterminator, it was always, “You gotta go through the management company,” even though, the first few times I called, it didn’t make any sense, it was clearly an old-fashioned answering machine at a residential house.

“You can’t just give me your cell number?” I tried to ask the super one time when I caught him in the hall, I wanted to ask about the heat, to see if there was any way to turn it down, I get it, it’s an old building, but this was just a really, really dry heat, non-stop. “Sorry boss, you gotta make an appointment, OK? I gotta get across town, all right? You gotta call up the management office.”

But the management office, the owner, whatever, he never picked up the phone, and that answering machine had to be full, and yeah, Bill kept telling me, “Rob, this place, it totally wasn’t worth it for the washer and dryer.” And that was all I had left to cling to, “Of course it’s worth it for the washer and dryer. You’re just spoiled. You don’t remember what it was like, putting all of your clothes in a big sack, you think, OK, this week I’m not going to put it off, I’m not going to make it like I’m trying to shove every piece of clothing I own into this sack that clearly doesn’t want to close, I’m going to carry that sack over my shoulders, I’m going to walk what, two? Three blocks? You want to go back to that? You don’t know how good we got it.”

Which, yeah, Bill must have gotten attached, even more than I was, which I didn’t think that was possible, “You want to risk putting your own money down on that old washing machine?” and he was like, “Yeah man, whatever, let’s just get it fixed, we can fight with management about the money later.”

Did he just say management? “Listen, Bill, there is no management company, OK, it’s just …” but I couldn’t, I couldn’t get myself to say management company one more time, I totally gave up. You want to figure it out? Figure it out. At least the owner never gave us a chance to sign that lease. I kept bugging the super whenever I’d see him, “You know anything about the lease?” I thought, these guys are going to try to kick us out, jack up the prices, I want this deal in writing, I want signatures. But now it’s like, man, I’m so glad we didn’t sign the lease.

“Bill, I’m out man, I’m going to go stay with my parents on Long Island.” He was like, “What?” Yep, Long Island, my parents have a washer and dryer, my old bed, I’ll just take the train to work until management figures it out. Too bad for Bill, his parents still live in Nevada. Arizona. Something like that. They came to visit once, but it’s a small place, I bailed last second, I said I had a family party on Long Island, but nah, I just didn’t feel like meeting his folks, keeping up with the fake smiling all weekend.

Nah man, too much, I’m out, remember what I said at the beginning? I was like, “When the going gets tough,” because you naturally think I’m going to say, “The tough get going,” but no, I’m out, I’m going, I’m going home to Long Island, I’m calling up the owner and telling him I’m not paying any more rent, nope, sorry Bill, you should get out too man, let me know if you find any cool apartments, I’ll borrow my dad’s truck and we’ll do the move in one swoop.


I was in Midtown today when this old guy pushed open the doors of a bank and yelled out, “Taxi!” at a line of cars on East 53rd Street. It was like something out of a movie or a TV show about New York. It’s one of those things, “Taxi!” that you never see in real life, but that’s everywhere in popular culture. You want to hail a cab? Just shout out the word taxi to the skies and hopefully the livery gods will supply you with a ride.


I turned my head, he was old, I already said that, but he seemed to know what he was doing. I’m saying this as opposed to tourists or out-of-towners, because sure, maybe I could expect a group of people waiting on the sidewalk, too nervous to step out into the lane to flag down a cab, and so they’re just kind of yelling out, “Taxi?” totally unsure of themselves.

But this guy was all business. I’m not saying it worked. But it didn’t not work … what I mean is, he walked out of the bank, he yell out “Taxi!” but the line of cars he approached was idling at a red light. And even if it were green, traffic at this time of day was at a standstill. He had his pick of like four or five empty cabs, and so he just walked up to one.

What was he going for? Because I’ve always thought about this, every time I’ve watched the main character in a New York themed TV show scream out “Taxi!” I’m like, do you really think that the driver can hear you? Do you think he’s out listening for fares? No, you have to flag down a ride. There’s so much noise in the city, it’s really hard for me to believe that, regardless of how loud your voice is, you’ll have any luck in penetrating the closed doors of a car just by yelling.

Maybe he was just announcing his intentions to everybody else, a succinct way of warning off any would-be cab-goers, “I’m going to be the one taking a taxi, and so if anybody else was thinking about doing the same thing, that’s fine, but you have to wait until I’m in a cab first.”

What really bugs me is that, even though I don’t think he accomplished anything by shouting it out, I can’t shake the idea that his immediate securing of a car established in his head this idea that “Taxi!” somehow equals a ride. Listen dude, you could have shouted whatever you wanted, you could have just let out a huge, “Bagel!” and then stepped inside that unlocked backseat door, but I’m almost positive that the two events would be unrelated.

It just bothers me, this idea that you can just go through life shouting out your desires in one-word barks. It’s like when I’m waiting tables and I go up to a new group of people, and before I even have a chance to say hello, someone will just throw “Diet Coke!” at me. And what am I going to do? You want a Diet Coke? Great. I guess I’ll go and get you one.

Seriously, I’ve seen people talk to their iPhones with more respect than they do the people serving them food, or shuttling them from point A to point B. It’s like, “Siri, where can I find a good Chinese restaurant around here?” Come on, that should be the only acceptable situation in which you can skip the pleasantries, ignore the pleases and thank yous and verbs.

This guy said “Taxi!” and got into a cab, and it was so early in the morning, I looked around at the rest of the city, hoping I’d meet the confused gaze of at least one other person, we’d lock eyes and we wouldn’t have to say anything, we’d just have that really confused, “Can you believe that guy?” face on, our shoulders shrugged up almost all the way to our foreheads, and even though I said we wouldn’t have to say anything, I’d probably mouth out something, like an exaggerated, “Taxi? Did that guy really just say ‘taxi?’” to which the other person would respond with a silent, “I know, right?”