Thursday, September 16, 2010

Because sometimes your Ecuadorian cab driver also makes pianos for Elton John...

Date & Time: Thursday, September 16th from 9-9:30 AM
Location: In a cab from East Harlem to Chelsea

I have moved more times than I like to think about in my less than 4 years here in the city. Moving in the city is a major pain in the ass for numerous reasons I will not go into (at least not today, haha), but my least favorite part is transporting large/numerous items in a cab. Today was my first day at my new school and I had the pleasure of figuring out how to transport the following items by myself: 2 large cardboard boxes (not really heavy), two large canvas tote bags (jam packed with crap and reasonably heavy), and a computer monitor and tower (these things are large, bulky, and weigh a ton). I managed to load all this craponto  a hand truck thing and then I conned one of the only people in the office to help me take the stuff downstairs so she can bring the hand truck back up (leaving the computer on the street? NOT AN OPTION). 

Here is where part two of this adventure begins: trying to get a cab. There were at least 3 cab drivers that slowed down, saw all the stuff I had, and kept it moving. I was annoyed. Hello? I'm still going to pay you the same as if it were just me and I'm not asking for help loading/unloading. Whatever... My assistant (ok, I feel bad cuz I don't know here name... I'm making it a point to learn it so I can thank her again and you know not be totally rude) mentioned that our agency uses a cab company around the corner and she just so happened to know the number off the top of her head. I kid you not, no more than 3 minutes after I hung up with the dispatcher, the cab rolled up. It was a small SUV which was pretty much perfect. 

This is when Marco entered my life...

After we were loaded up and on our way, the conversation began with him asking me if I voted the other day (which was funny because he didn't either, but his excuse was way better than mine). Then somehow we started talking about where we were from. It was at about this point, that he started referring to me as "Pretty"... like it was my name. He told me about how hard it was for him when he first moved to the city from Ecuador back in 1990. This is what he said regarding his embarrassment about not knowing the language and working custodial jobs.

Marco: "Believe me Pretty, it was very hard. I was so embarrassed. There were many times when the tears came down."
Me: "I can only imagine how hard it must have been for you." (such a typical social worky thing to say).

Ok, so now Marco has earned a special place in my heart for being vulnerable enough to share that with me. He then told me about how he started driving a cab and began working for this piano company. He builds pianos and repairs them. He said his company sells pianos to orchestras and Elton John. They range in price from $1500 to $45,000. About this time we exchanged names, but he still insisted on calling me "Pretty." Super awkward. He continued on about his faith in God and how he can't help but be happy and positive because he has so much more than others even if it isn't a lot. Marco gave me his card and I said I'd call him if I ever have the money to buy one of his pianos (which will probably be around never...). He helped me unload my stuff and then we parted ways.

I'm glad I met Marco. I started this blog not thinking I'd have stories like this to share, but Marco was a sweet spot in my mostly bitter encounters here in the city. 

Lesson learned: Believe me Pretty, sometimes having a conversation with your cab driver can make your day.

1 comment:

  1. so glad you made it to your new school home! I know moving is a pain but I think you will be so happy there :) Can't wait to hear all about it.