Those of you who know me also know that I am all about new experiences because in the words of a good friend “you have to try everything once or you’ll die stupid.” I’ll be damned if I’m going to be stupid.
On a recent trip to New York City, we walked out of Grand Central Station onto the streets right at rush hour, so finding a cab was almost impossible. We started walking in the general direction of the hotel, hoping to find a stray cab. I forgot to mention that at that moment it also started raining. Watching him be the perfect gentleman and carrying both of our suitcases compelled me to contribute, somehow. So, when a pedi-cab driver looked at me and asked if we needed a ride, I said yes. The driver fit the two of us plus our suitcases in and began pedaling.
Now I started feeling guilty about exploiting this young man from Azerbaijan. I mean look at him pedal with all his might under the rain. We should be ashamed of ourselves. To lessen the guilt we kept throwing words of encouragement his way.
“You are so strong and fit.”
“Wow look at you leaving all the other pedi-cabs behind. So competitive.”
Every once in a while he’d turn around, smile and ask if we were ok.
“Oh my God, yes we are fine. How are you doing?” (carrying all our weight. You poor foreign-born man. He was probably an engineer in his country. Now look at him lugging us about in a cab. I feel like I’m in Thailand.
“I feel bad for him.” I whispered to my partner.
To change the subject he decided to focus on the positives.
“Look. We are in New York City together experiencing something we have never experienced before. That’s what life is about. Right?”
I just kept looking at the street numbers so the ride could come to an end and this poor man could rest already. To give you an idea, it was probably a mile or so. A 5-dollar cab ride.
We finally made it to the hotel. The man then took us to the other side of his pedi-cab, where the rates were written. “It is two dollars per block, three dollars per person. So for the two of you it comes to 68 dollars.”
I imagine every time, right before turning around, he was probably counting bisto-do (I don’t know twenty-two in Azeri so I said it in Farsi), bisto-se, “how are you guys doing?” you fools, sio-se (33), sio-chahar (34)…
Oh well. I suppose you can live stupid or die stupid.