Katie, Lydia and I are people-dodging our way down a loud and crowded street in New York City. So far we have ducked in and out of two stores, and are desperately seeking one of the roughly four million Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts in the Times Square vicinity. Finally, we round a corner and spot that beautiful green mermaid beckoning from down the block. I’ve never loved her as much as I do right now (and seriously, that’s saying something).We all slip through the doors, and while I get in line to order the girls head toward the back to what we hope is a relatively acceptable bathroom. One of my girls needs the potty, and sooner rather than later.
Turns out, a restroom is harder to find than I thought it would be. The girls come from the back, looks of disappointment on their faces and I’m back out of line, shepherding us toward the street again.
We change tactics and begin looking for one of the bazillion cabs in this city. If we can find one we are only a few minutes from our hotel, but alas, cab after cab is taken. Another two blocks closer to our hotel – did I mention I have one girl on crutches? We’re not exactly breaking land-speed records here – and still no cab has stopped to pick us up. The potty-needing girl is starting to get that panicky look in her eye.
Then, around the corner comes a pedicab, clearly without fare and seeking one. The girls and I look at each other, the same question on all of our faces, and I hail him. Why not? He’ll probably get us there faster than walking, and nothing else is working for us right now.
So we tell him where we want to go, and he quotes a price. We pile in.
We. Had. No. Idea.
In the name of all that is beautiful, and safe, and comfortable, we didn’t know!
Our driver takes off, and all seems fine for about a block. Then traffic starts to back up, which is apparently a personal insult of some kind, because our driver gets a look of consternation on his face, stands up for a better view, and starts weaving in and out of the lanes of vehicles. He is defying all laws of physics and common sense, and our anxiety is growing with each twist and turn.
He cuts left, and a driver yells and gestures out the window at us. He dodges right, and a horn blares.
Don’t worry, I’m sure that delivery truck will stop in time. It will won’t it? Oh my goodness STOP! ACK! WE’RE GOING TO DIE!! I can’t look. Girls, now is the time to brush up on fervent and active prayer and cleanse yourself of all unholiness.
Crosswalk? What crosswalk?! We’ll just mow a few people down as we shoot through – I hear if you can actually spin one around, you get points per rotation.
Red Lights are but a mirage, we sail through unfazed.
The girls and I are gasping, laughing in a nervous shock, and holding on for our dear lives. We take turns muttering under our breath about how we are all going to die, right here in this pedicab, then wincing and squeezing our eyes shut reflexively.
One particularly tight squeeze between two cars that are properly inhabiting their adjacent lanes, and one daughter whips her hand off the outside edge of the pedicab into her lap, looking at me with wide-eyed surprise. “I felt us press by that car!” She mouths to me.
Finally, what seems like three heart attacks later, our “driver” (and I use that term loosely) pulls up by our hotel. We climb quickly out, escaping the jaws of death itself, and hand over the agreed upon fare plus tip. Gladly. Take my money, just let us go! We exchange meaningful glances and keep our mouths shut until we step into the lobby.
As the door shuts behind us we burst out laughing, keeping a hold on Lydia to keep her from tumbling off her crutches. We talk over each other, stopping to laugh and gasp as we make our way to the elevator, then regale our elevator-mates with dire warnings to avoid the pedicabs at all costs.
When we enter our room, two of us collapse on the beds, while the third sprints into the bathroom. Finally.
***** ***** *****
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(We’re slow learners)