May 15, 2003

Night 2 of recycling a creative writing assignment as a blog entry. If I was really smart I wouldn't tell you. But that wouldn't be very honest.

Regular posting will resume once finals are finito.

The cab driver was mumbling to himself in Arabic. Actually, I shouldn’t say it was Arabic because I don’t know for sure. It could very well have been Persian, or Pashtun, or Indian, even, for all I know. He was a brown guy speaking a different language than me, and not to me. To himself, under his breath, in the front seat of the cab at 2 am in New York City.

They call it the city that never sleeps but at this hour it could’ve fooled me. All the stores were shuttered, the only other traffic was the occasional garbage truck. If I would’ve rolled down the window and shouted out my accusation I’m sure the city would have jumped up with a start and insisted it was just resting its eyes. But I’m pretty sure cab windows don’t roll down.

At the club, the comedian had mocked me as I left the room with Melanie’s cell phone.

“Going to call mom and dad and ask for a curfew extension?” he said.

“No,” I shouted back, “I’m calling my grandma.” And I wasn’t kidding.

“I’ll be back a little late,” I said in the hallway outside. “Probably like two.” She insisted I take a cab back uptown, she’d reimburse me tomorrow. I didn’t argue, wasn’t in much of an arguing mood. After all, I was in a comedy club with a model I used to go to high school with. If her psuedo-boyfriend hadn’t been there, too, I probably would’ve asked for that curfew extension.

Then I realized he wasn’t talking to himself. He had one of those hands-free earpieces, he was mumbling into a cellular phone just like I had been doing in the hall of the Comedy Cellar. Maybe it was the dispatcher on the other end, but it didn’t sound like it. Someone was keeping him company. I imagined it was a woman, his girlfriend, maybe, his wife, maybe, waiting up for him. She’d be flopping around their terrible apartment in the Bronx, watching late-night TV, trying to stay awake ‘till he got home. And he was saying, in this unidentifiable undecipherable language, just one more fare, I just have to take this bourgeois brat uptown to the Waldorf Astoria and then I’ll go park my cab and count my tips and I’ll be home by two-thirty.

Or maybe she wasn’t in the Bronx, maybe he didn’t bring her with him when he came to the New World. Her family hadn’t let her come, or they didn’t have enough money for the both of them to make it, so he’s over here saving up so at this time of night she’d be ten miles away instead of ten hundred thousand. Maybe the meter running up my fare is being mirrored by the long distance charges, but on a night like this he just had to hear her voice.

We pulled up to the hotel. I don’t remember what the meter said but I gave him a twenty and told him to keep the change.

And I was thinking, if speculating on things like that and writing them down is what I want to do for a living, maybe here’s the place to learn how to do it.

Five months later, I was in another vehicle, mine. In my home state, in the parking lot of my high school. It was seven thirty or so at night, and I’d just left a dress rehearsal. There was no Arabic spoken in that vehicle. There was one word, in English. It had four letters and it shook my windows when I screamed it after realizing the reason my truck wouldn’t start is that I had left the lights on that morning, coming in at six thirty AM for rehearsal for another play.

Greg gave me a ride home, and told me how proud he was of me applying for schools besides ASU and actually intending to go to them if I got in. I explained the concept of Early Decision: whereby I’d have a better chance of being admitted to NYU if I applied, and probably get more money, but if they accepted me, I’d have to go. When he dropped me off, my dad and I went back to school to jump my truck. When I got home the second time, I finished my online application and sent it off. Yes, the dramatic writing program is great, and yes, the city is an education in itself, but that night I think the primary reason I wanted to go is that I wouldn’t have to drive in New York and if I wouldn’t have to drive I’d have no stupid trucks in which to leave the stupid lights on.

I hadn’t kissed a girl in six months and I had slept probably ten hours in the last week. People have done stranger things than applying Early Decision to their out of state dream schools under those kinds of circumstances.

Posted by DC at May 15, 2003 01:32 AM


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