Where’s Scorsese When You Need Him?
Well, these bits of city I see gliding by don’t look anything like I imagined, and I imagined a lot.
I don’t see King Kong, and I don’t see any East River, the one Goodfellas throw the bodies into. And don’t tell me not to end a sentence with a preposition. I will if I wanna’, on accounta’ I’m an English teacher who breaks the rules whenever I wanna’. Gangster-Goodfella English teacher, that’s me, the one who scoffs at rules. You’re just some Mook who’s reading the story. I’m the one’s who’s telling it. No offense, I’m only trying to get the reader’s attention.
That’s me again, Mister Up Close Personal and in your Face. It’s only when it’s personal that you get offended. So I’m trying to offend you, trying to get under your skin. Getting under your skin is the hook. So much for true confessions, now back to the story.
So I ask the taxi driver, and no, it’s not Travis Bickle.
“Where we at?”
Oh sh*t, ended another one with a prep. Better get used to it, and while you’re at it, mistakes in spelling, grammar, and composition. I’m an equal opportunity rule breaker. The cabbie is wearing a blue turban and sporting a steel bangle on his wrist. I betcha he’s from the Punjab.
“This is Queens,” he announces.
“Are you a Sikh?”
“Yes!” His eyes flash like a Kirpan in the rear-view mirror.
“From the Punjab?”
He seems surprised I identified him so quickly. Even Barb looks at me in amazement. I’m starting to have a good time here. I get to show I know something about something in a completely strange east-coast environment. This makes me feel secure, and even more than that, now that we’re off the plane, Barb is holding my hand, relaxing me like a coconut shell worth of Kava. I got the info about India from my daughter Michelle when she worked for Subway Sandwiches. She’ll probably deny the story.
Her boss was a Sikh, and when the California State Health Inspector was supposed to come by unannounced, to inspect the temperatures of the refrigerators, or expiration labels on prepared foods, she’d get a call on the phone.
“Tell your boss the inspector is on his way,” a voice would whisper, “He just stopped by my place.”
Elle would have to rush around and change all the labels on the prepared foods and bring them up to date. The call was from another Sikh, his partner. Sikhs are real entrepreneurs; they know how to slide around regulations. After all, they were run by the British for nearly a hundred years.
So the city here looks like some sort of city, and I can believe it’s Queens because many of the houses are brick and look like the opening sequence to King of Queens, the TV show. I just don’t see any UPS delivery trucks parked outside. Huge square brick buildings dot both sides of the freeway, like the projects back in LA. For some reasons there are a lot of Gentleman’s clubs. So close to the freeway isn’t always the best part of town. But there is no Rhapsody in Blue here. I needed taller buildings to rhapsodize over, something more substantial and romantic. I need the flow of Old Man River, or in this case the Hudson.
Gentlemen’s Clubs and bricks weren’t going to do it. But as it turned out, a symphony of a city was just minutes ahead. He wasn’t driving like a maniac, and I complimented him on it.
“I leave that to the cab drivers in Mexico City” he said. “My wife said if I drive like an idiot, she’ll give me my marching orders. Unfortunately, I’m in love with the woman and do what she suggests. She graduated magna cum laude!”
His teeth sparkled a smile in the rear-view mirror.
“I have a smart woman too, I knew it from the moment we met. Now get us to Metropolis, and let Romance take care of the rest.”
I hope all these true-life adventures of mine are always “to be continued”, at least, until I drop dead.
To be continued…
©Steven Hunley 2016
https://youtu.be/EUrUfJW1JGk New York New York- Frank Sinatra