Mr. Wow Blog
Mr. wOw’s Big Scary Cab Ride
12:00 am | December 14, 2010

Author: Mr. Wow | Category: Point of View | Comments: 57

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Our intrepid reporter has a Taxi Driver experience for the new millenium

About a week or so ago, Mr. wOw and an old dear friend decided to go see Miss Joan Collins in her cabaret debut at Feinstein’s at New York’s Regency hotel. What fun. (The Regency has always held a special place in my heart, as it was there I first clapped eyes on Miss Elizabeth Taylor, back in 1973, amid much rioting and mobbing and paparazzi madness.)

So I tell my friend Bill to meet me at the hotel. He lives on the Upper West Side. I come in from Hoboken, NJ. Arriving at the Port Authority, I am running a teensy, tiny bit late. So when I snatch a cab outside the PA, the fact that the guy drives like a complete lunatic isn’t as upsetting as it usually is. I’ll be on time.

We arrive at the Regency. I need only cross the street to meet my friend. The fare is about $8. I have a $20 bill and intend to give him a two dollar tip. I hand him the twenty.

“Theese is false money! Theese is counterfeit! No accept!” He is screaming. Like, loud.

Mr. wOw is calm-ish. “Uhhh … no. This is a real $20 bill. Honest. May I have ten back?”

“No, no, no!! Counterfeit! Phony! You know it. Why you give me false money. Give me real money!”

“This is real money. Are you kidding? Give me my change and let me get out.”

“You are liar! False money! I call cops!”

Mr. wOw is now both scared and furious.

“Fine, call a cop.”

“No cops! Give me real money. Use card!”

Well, as it happens, Mr. wOw did have a credit card on him, though he usually doesn’t. I was obliged to cut my cards and cancel my accounts years ago. I was very silly with cards. The one I carried is actually a joint card with B. that he keeps unless I really think I’ll need it. But … I was not giving in to the madness. My twenty was fine. The only other bill I had was a fifty.

“All I’ve got is a fifty. Want to change that?”

“No fifty, no twenty, phoney money! Why you try to give me phoney money?! Use card!”

Mr. wOw has now settled in. “I’m getting out if you won’t accept this bill.”

“No! I call cops!”  And he gunned the car and sped up Park Ave.

Then he stopped short. “I call cops. I take you to jail.”

Mr. wOw has entered a zen mode. “Fine. Call a cop.”

We sat for several minutes. I tried to open the door and just step out but he put his foot on the gas again and drove further up Park.

“False money, false money!” he screamed again.

“Take me to a fucking cop.” I said, calmly.

Then he drove around and around for a while, running red lights. Every time I leaned out the window, hoping to scream, “Help! Get a cop!” he gunned the motor. Finally, incredibly, we arrived at a police station.

“This is police station,” he announced.

“Fine,” I said, “Go get a policeman.”

He hesitated, but then he got out and went inside. I opened the door and stood halfway in and out of the cab, holding my dubious money.

Shortly, Mr. Crazy returned accompanied by two young and nice-looking policemen.

I was dressed like an adult and held out my hand, “Officers, I am so sorry. But this … gentleman … thinks I’m trying to pass on counterfeit money and he would not accept it or let me out.”

Mr. Crazy is babbling. The cops look at the bill. “It’s fine. It’s real. What’s your problem?”  The cabbie is now almost speaking in tongues.

“How much change are you owed?” asked one of the cops. I told him. “Give this man his change and go away” they said to the driver from hell.

Ah, but Mr. wOw was now very late. “No!” I said, with some petulance, to be sure. “I want him to drive me back to where he left me off. I’m late.” I probably stamped my foot a bit, and tossed my grey hairs.

One of the cops (the really cute one) took me aside. “Come on sir, do you really want to get back in the cab with this guy? He’s nuts. You can grab another cab right here. Just let it go.”

Hmmmm … I didn’t say, because I don’t care to argue with the police (even if they are hot) that shouldn’t they be questioning this nut or taking his name and license … or something?! And don’t call me ‘Sir!’”

I let it go. And I’d been so rattled I hadn’t thought to look at his name and number. I feared for the life of his next victim.

Finally, I arrived back at the Regency. Lucky me, Miss Joan Collins was running a bit late. So there was still plenty of time to tell friend Bill my tale of taxi terror — to eat, drink and observe the particular types who attend a Joan Collins performance.

Let’s put it this way — Mr. wOw felt very young and very butch. And happy to be alive.

Comments:
  • kermie

    I was attacked at 59th and Lex last Wednesday, 4 PM, trying to get out of a crowded train.  This deep- voiced-person screamed all the way from from 86th Street–just to scream.  (Yes, it was a local.)  I was unfortunate enough to be packed right behind her.  She was also huge–I did not know it was a woman until after the incident.  When the train pulled in, I said my “Excuse me’s!!!” to get past her, but she wouldn’t budge.  I felt a large paw on my back, literally shoving me from the back of the car all the way to the middle of the platform.  Luckily, there was a large crowd, otherwise I would have continued flying.  When I turned around, hands on knees, trying to catch my breath, I saw the screamer fixated on me, screaming obscenities through the open door.  Then I heard someone on the train say “Shut Up!” as the door closed and I knew she would take her wrath out on that poor person.
    The fact that your taxi story does not shock me only convinces me more I have to get out of NYC.
     
     
     

    3:33 am | December 14, 2010
    • Baby Snooks

      New York is not for the faint-of-heart.  One of my favorite films is The Out of Towners. A fun film. A not-so-fun experience quite a few have experienced. I’ve had a gun and a can of spray paint pointed at me. The gun got nothing when I asked him if he was nuts and apparently asked in such a way that it scared him although of course I kept walking so maybe he just simply didn’t know what to do when I did. I was too hungover to be scared. Or to be bothered. The can of spray paint looked quite cute in red when I grabbed it and sprayed him.  Screeching “don’t ever come near my coat again you ass***e.” I am obviously not faint-of-heart.  I love New York. But could never live there. 

      They do have hot cops though. Something about them. Different from cops everywhere else. They are so, well, to use Mr. Wow’s word, butch. Super butch. Super sexy too.

      11:12 pm | December 14, 2010
      • Mr. Wow

        Baby, yes they are sexy.  But it is disappointing to pass them and get a load of their conversations amongst each other.  I think cops should  work two years, and then get a year off, with pay, just to get all he crap they see out of their heads.

        Font still tiny, and my replies are not ending up where they should!

        7:50 am | December 15, 2010
      • kermie

        Baby–I don’t know if you were commenting on me in particular, but yours is the first comment to come up in my email since the changeover in format.  Out of town?  I have lived here most of my life and this subway ride is just the latest of the indignities I have had to deal with in NYC.  When I younger and faced with a gun I was so stunned I couldn’t speak–I wasn’t flippant about it.  I could go on with experiences but I won’t.  I am tired of living here.  It is for the young, the well-off, or those traveling through.  Give me a suburb!

        12:55 pm | December 15, 2010
        • Baby Snooks

          Just addressing the “New York Experience” in general and The Out of Towners pretty much sums up what quite a few experience their first time, second time, third time and as you point out, well, every time they walk out the door onto the wild streets of Manhattan.  I grew up on even wilder streets in Houston around oilmen who at least back then occasionally had too much bourbon and started waving the guns around threatening to shoot someone. And occasionally did. Unless the person died, it was usually considered a “business dispute.”  They were always threatening to shoot judges for one reason or another. Oscar Wyatt wasn’t the only one. That said I did get a little scared later in between hangovers.  Stupid to ask if he was nuts. Smart to keep walking.  For the most part, Kermie, New York has always been for the young, the well-off and the ones traveling through aka the “out of towners.”

          I had a friend years ago who decided she’d had enough and moved to Vermont. She moved back to New York a year later. She missed the maelstrom.  You probably would as well.

          7:52 pm | December 15, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Dear Kermie…good grief!  I’m glad you are okay.  Sorry I didn’t respond yesterday, but I went out Monday night to an event, absurdly, lightly dressed (I thought the scarf was enough)  Woke up with a raging cold, fever, sinus attack, the works.

      One thing…I’m suddenyly finding when I write a reply, the font in miniscule! Although it looks fine when the reply goes up.  Anybody else experiencing this?

      7:47 am | December 15, 2010
      • O E

        You don’t get a cold because you’re out in chill weather, Mr. Wow.  It sounds like you got a virus, a bug from being around too many people, breathing sick air.  Please take care of yourself.

        I agree with you about this font problem.  The whole new format sucks from HOME page to Comments.  What drove the WOW administrators to change to this mess?

        12:46 pm | December 16, 2010
      • Pdr de

        Mr. Wow!

        Hope you’re over the shock of your nightmare cab ride and haven’t developed a phobia about riding in cabs in the future and hope you’re feeling well again. 

        Just writing to wish you a lovely holiday!  Thanks for all your articles this year – I’ve enjoyed them very much.

        6:49 am | December 21, 2010
  • Chris Glass`

    I’d bet the only reason this particular cabbie wanted your card was to scam it. Good for you for going the police route.

    6:35 am | December 14, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Dear Chris…exactly.  But I was getting scared there, when he wouldn’t stop. Despite my show of bravado.

      7:58 am | December 15, 2010
  • Baby Snooks

    I learned early on that walking is wonderful in Manhattan. You have reminded me why. I did take a cab once. I risked being murdered by pointing out that he was not headed in the right direction and I was deducting the $1 he had already overcharged me.  He asked me if I would prefer to walk as he pulled to the curb.  And he lost a fare.  

    Now tell us more about these particular types who attend a Joan Collins performance.

    7:44 am | December 14, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Dear Baby…gaudy.

      7:51 am | December 15, 2010
      • Baby Snooks

        Gaudy? *gasp* I love it…

        9:47 am | December 15, 2010
  • Lila

    Ha!  I know what the taxi driver needs for Christmas!  One of those pens that you use to mark bills to see if they are counterfeit!
     
    … and a healthy dose of common sense…

    8:09 am | December 14, 2010
  • Mary

    Mr. Wow,  What a nutcase you ran into!  Maybe he Wanted your credit card for a scam?  Sounds like he didn’t realy want to go for the cops but was backed into a corner on that one.  PHEW, glad it was safely over and that you could enjoy Joan!  Good that you stuck to your guns too.  Makes me happy that I live the life of a country bumpkin these days.

    9:59 am | December 14, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Oh, I wish I could be a country bumpkin.  As long as I had my music, my books and 500 cable channels, I’d be fine anywhere.

      8:25 am | December 15, 2010
  • DC4
    D C

    I think after something like that, you should get to ride in the Cash Cab next trip you take. 

    1:59 pm | December 14, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Oh, Ben Baily!  Be still my heart.  I’d fail miserably, but maybe we could have a drink someplace.

      7:53 am | December 15, 2010
  • Count Snarkula

    And THAT is why when I have something special booked, the Count books a car service.  However, that WAS a facinating and VERY New York story!

    5:37 pm | December 14, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Dear Count…alas, Mr. Wow does not have the funds to book a car.  Although, come to think of it, Mr. Wow doesn’t have the funds to hail taxis with such abandon.  Years ago, when I was better paid, taxis were the ultimate symbol of success to me (formerly a vigrous walker)  Now it’s  a symbol of my stupidity…but I can’t stand the subways anymore.  I get confused and anxious. 

      8:23 am | December 15, 2010
      • Count Snarkula

        Well, that is just not right.  An urbane wit like you should be financially sponsored.  Like Malcome Forbes sponsored Fran Liebowitz.

        12:00 pm | December 15, 2010
  • Grace OMalley

    What I want to know is when we get to see photos of your outrageous Christmas tree with all the decorations! 

    7:43 pm | December 14, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Soon…I’m a little more depressed than usual this year, but it will be done!

      7:54 am | December 15, 2010
      • Baby Snooks

        It’s already the 15th. I promised myself I would at least hang a wreath on the door if you did your Christmas Cornucopia.  Maybe we should just boycott the merry, happy and just be sassy this year? 

        9:54 am | December 15, 2010
        • Mr. Wow

          Dear Baby…No, I’m doing it.  If I let it slide I’d be a lot more depressed.  And certainly not sassy.

          10:47 am | December 15, 2010
          • Baby Snooks

            I doubt I can get more depressed. I think I have a huge red velvet ribbon in a box somewhere. Maybe I’ll stick that on the door. Maybe on Christmas Eve. For an hour or two. 

            3:32 pm | December 15, 2010
        • Count Snarkula

          I thought about decorating and sending out Christmas cards.  But I poured another drink and the thought went away.  Yes, I know, Bah Humbug on me.

          12:01 pm | December 15, 2010
          • Mr. Wow

            Dear Count…I know what you mean—especially pouring another drink. (Or having someone else do it–I keep a dry house)  But, I have B. to consider.  He enjoys the tree and the insane decorating.  I try not to be too much of a selfhish pig. 

            1:21 pm | December 15, 2010
  • Daniel Sugar

    The most terrifying part of the exchange is that he called you Sir.
     
    (I hate that.)

    8:50 pm | December 14, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Dear Daniel…The first time I heard it, I had take to my bed for a week.

      I had crossed the Rubicon. 

      7:56 am | December 15, 2010
  • rick gould

    Mr. wOw
    I hope you get a little Christmas, right this very minute, to lift your spirits ;)
    Here’s my recent encounter with men in uniform. I just got back from New Orleans for a wedding. While there, the fire alarm at the dive hotel I was staying at kept going off…in the middle of the night, of course. The second night, I tried to ignore it, until I heard footsteps running down the hall. Peek my head out the door, whoa, firemen!
    So I end up on the street, tee shirt, jeans and barefoot in the middle of the night. Amongst guests, five fire trucks and lots of firemen… and they’re, ummm, big guys! After an hour in the howling wind, with me periodically inquiring/whining, they let us back in. As I approached the door, I see broken glass from one of the door’s panes. I asked if there was another way in, and they don’t know. I was about to leap over the glass, when one of the fireman says, “Here…” And he and one of his partners each grab me by an arm and lift me over the glass to the other side with ease. I was a bit startled and managed a shivering thank you. I felt like one of those old movie ingenues, but at least I didn’t bat my eyeslashes and swoon;)

    11:23 am | December 15, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Mr. Wow would have swooned.  And then hoped for a little CPR.  Your firemen sound like real gents.   

      1:26 pm | December 15, 2010
    • Baby Snooks

      I was rescued once from a fountain in Washington. They thought I was drowning. It was August. I was hot.  I think Washington gets hotter at night in August rather than cooler. Maybe it was the Jack Daniels. But I don’t think so. The fountain was there. So I thought why not?  Very nice of them considering they didn’t know I wasn’t drowning but merely reposing as they say. They even took me back to the hotel.  It got even hotter at the hotel. In the book I will never write. My night with the men in black.

      3:42 pm | December 15, 2010
      • kermie

        Snooks–You really should write a book.  Seriously.

        1:49 am | December 16, 2010
        • Baby Snooks

          I probably should.  I never will.  I would have to name names for the book to be interesting.  I like to kiss and not tell. 

          6:21 am | December 16, 2010
  • Chip Griswold

    “Take me to a fucking cop.” I said, calmly.” 

    I have made similar comments over the years, but lacked the ability to say it calmly!

    12:27 pm | December 15, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Dear Chip…I acted calm.  But really I was thinking, “NY Post headline tomorow morning!”

      1:18 pm | December 15, 2010
      • Jon Schweizer

        Had it come to that, would that NY Post story have included your real name and a photo?  Because a picture and a headline that read, “Mr. Wow’s Wild Ride” would be like the modern-day unmasking of KISS (not that I wish bad things on you at the hands of an insane cabbie).

        12:21 am | December 16, 2010
        • Mr. Wow

          I am destermined to unmask myself in the Christmas photos.  I am not a recognizable face.  And even if I was, I sure the kind members of Wow wouldn’t scream my name.  I’m tired of being faceless.  Nameless?  I’m used to that.

          6:04 am | December 17, 2010
  • Daniel Sugar

    When someone calls me “Sir” I look at them blankly and say “No English”.

    12:35 pm | December 15, 2010
  • Haunted Lady
    HauntedLady

    Good grief! What an experience! I’m glad all turned out well and I’m also glad I live in a little bitty town. I don’t know if we even have cabs here and some of the local cops are likely to be cousins of mine. A very different environment.
    In spite of your ghastly encounter, I still think it would be fun to visit NY. I love theater and museums and NY has some of the best.
    Since putting up a tree is not in the budget this year, I’m all atwitter waiting for yours.

    12:48 pm | December 15, 2010
  • Maggie W

    I agree; the cabby wanted a credit card. Did the police allow Dr. Jekyll to get back into his cab to terrorize someone else?   Glad you lived to tell the story, Mr. WoW.
    (WHOA… what the heck is with this tiny font???)
    Years back, I was twenty-five, and it was New Year’s Eve. I was enroute to the airport to pick up a friend. Dead car battery so I caught a cab. The cabby was into racy jokes that kept getting worse along with suggestive language. I noticed a big rig behind us on the interstate, not too far back. Then the cabby’s deep breathing started. I asked him to pull over so I could adjust my panty hose( really wasn’t wearing any). He was more than happy to see that show so he hit the brakes. I jumped out and ran toward the big rig, waving like I was attempting to fly. That nice guy delivered me to the airport. My friend and I caught a cab home. This time the driver was a woman named Charlie married to Wilbur, for twenty-two long, dreary, gawd-awful years. By the time that cabby delivered my friend and me, all three of us wanted to find Wilbur immediately and beat his sorry arse to a pulp.
    Miss Joan Collins.  In a cabaret debut.  Interesting.  Very much so.

    2:04 pm | December 15, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Maggie–No panty hose!?  Shocking, you bad girl.  I’m glad somebody else noticed the font.  What’s up guys?

      Miss Collins in cabaret.  I had more fun in the cab.

      3:40 pm | December 15, 2010
      • Baby Snooks

        My but you are in a mood today. I’m sure Joan Collins has become one of your most ardent admirers at this point.  Be careful if she sends you a flower arrangement. It may be ticking. Maybe it was just the cab ride.  Maybe she really is fabulous. Maybe you should go back and see her a second time. Maybe she can send a car for you.  But I would check that to see if anything is ticking as well. 

        I guess I’ll go see if I can find the huge red velvet ribbon. And stick it on the door. Sing a few lines from “Santa Baby.”  And probably get more depressed thinking about the sable and the platinum mine.  And the checks that aren’t in the mail.

        3:55 pm | December 15, 2010
        • Mr. Wow

          “Come and trim my Christmas  tree/with some decorations bought at Tiffanys!”

          11:09 pm | December 15, 2010
          • Baby Snooks

            I guess we know where Mr. B is headed…

            6:28 am | December 16, 2010
          • Mr. Wow

            Not all all.  I’m not a jewelry guy.  And in fact at this point we rarely exchange gifts. I’m not a big “gifter.”  I’m not too thoughtful or imaginative in that area anyway.  If I get the tree and decorations up, and get my head out of my own ass, B. will consider that gift enough.  As for me—there’s very little of a material nature I want anymore.  And even back when I wanted gifts they were books or DVDs or records (CDs)  I’d made up a little list this year, but then…eh–more stuff.  Do I really need it?

            I do have  a running joke with him about where’s the damn mink after all these years?

            12:22 am | December 17, 2010
          • Baby Snooks

            Tiffany’s sells Christmas ornaments. Just in case you didn’t know. You think I bought jewelry for friends from Tiffany’s? I’m nuts. But not that nuts.

            Minks are wonderful. Sables too. Just watch out for men with spray paint cans in their hands.  Fake minks are better. Fake sables too.  Especially if you have cats. They like rodents. But not on you.  I think I just rhymed.
            I think I’ll celebrate Kwanzaa this year. You don’t have to decorate. 
             

            3:21 am | December 17, 2010
          • Baby Snooks

            Well a check arrived, four months late but at least it arrived, so I’m only one month behind on the rent so I will relent and hang a wreath on the door hoping that someone is creating their Christmas Cornucopia and snapping photos to share?   

            10:03 am | December 18, 2010
  • Curious Kitsune

    I live in a smallish city… though considering the fact that we’re second in the state after the Chicago Metropolitan Area, that’s saying something.  Even here we have psycho cabbies, though not many of them.  I almost got broadsided by one who must have thought he was in Chicago or NYC… he viewed a single car gap as enough room to turn left on a four-lane street.  For this area, that’s almost unheard of.
    And as for Mr. wOw’s psycho cabbie… thank god you escaped.  Who knows what else he might have thought phony.  We all want our wonderfully fantastic Mr. wOw quite safe.
     

    4:21 pm | December 15, 2010
  • Lizzie R.

    I’ve never ridden in a cab except in Europe, and the only problem there was the language barrier and funny money, which was to be expected. I am so glad I live, and have lived, in places where all I needed was my car to get wherever I was going. Mr. WOW, your experience was totally unbelievable, and beyond anything I ever imagined about living in NYC. I used to long to live there too. ( One could go blind trying to type and read this  micro mini reply place)

    6:48 pm | December 15, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Dear Lizzie…I’ve had some experiences in my life, and perhaps even scary ones–though I was too young and stupid to be scared.  I did wonder just what the hell I was thinking as got all testy and testosteroned up with this cabbie.   So not me.  I think being all dressed up helped.  I always feel more adult in a jacket and real shoes, rather than the hoodies and sneakers I prefer.

      So, there was chance they’d find a nicely dressed corpse someplace, I feared.

      11:05 pm | December 15, 2010
      • Baby Snooks

        Yes, well, as I noted when I shared my cabbie story, I risked being murdered.  Just as there is something about New York cops, there is something about New York taxi drivers.

        6:41 am | December 16, 2010
  • christine woodley

    Holy Hanna, Mr. Wow!  Obviously, business is down for the Mayor of Crazytown, so he’s resorted to extortion by Visa.  I’m glad you got out with your money and body intact!  LOL @ wanting him to drive you back to the theatre.  You got stone, Mr. Wow!  Merry Christmas. :)

    7:01 pm | December 15, 2010
  • Harriet Shoebridge

    Alright, this isn’t on topic but then again who cares … you don’t strike me as a ‘stickler’ kinda guy.  Anyhow … and brushing aside thoughts of cabbies gone crazy … and before the time comes and goes … Merry Christmas, Mr.Wow.  I see your columns, I read, I smile.  Thank you … (more smiling) … from The Great White North to NYC …

    4:02 am | December 16, 2010
    • Mr. Wow

      Dear Harriet…thank you.  And a very Merry Christmas to you, too!

       The cold I alluded to in one of my replies, continues.  I cannot speak today.  But I’ve been  out of the office for two days, I have to get back. 

      I wish I’d taken those mime classes now.

      5:54 am | December 16, 2010
  • Deirdre Cerasa

    Mr WoW!!  So happy your are ok (aside from the bug)!  You were a very brave soldier and deserve many pats on the back.  Can we get a cop or two over here!  As many other fans have said, I love reading your posts, they make me smile and laugh out loud.  I too, wonder about Joan Collins and the word cabaret together.  Bless you and B.  Have a Merry Christmas.  Think of all of us you look forward to you posts and don’t be depressed.  We love you.

    8:39 pm | December 16, 2010
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