I was running late by about 15 minutes and had just emerged from the subway station at Times Square huffing, puffing and utterly stressed out. This was the third meeting with an important client on an important project and I could not seem to arrive on time.
Walking westward along 42nd Street while facing eastward (in other words, walking backwards), I was delighted to see a cab pull to the corner, about to discharge a customer.
Instantly, my hand went up in the Nazi-salute that is the time honored way of hailing cabs in New York City and sent a silent prayer of thanks to The Almighty.
But what was this??? A blur of big blond hair ran past me towards the cab. Astonished, I broke into a jog and overtook the poacher.
"Excuse me," said I, "but you must have seen me waiting for the cab."
An overly-made-up fiftysomething woman snapped at me with a Texas twang, "Waaaalll, it's not like you were running for it!"
"Hailing cabs doesn't entail outracing other people," I sputtered as we strode shoulder to shoulder, jostling one another. "I was ahead of you, I hailed the cab and it's mine!"
"I'm taking it!" the Southern Belle from Hell proclaimed as we approached the car. I reached for the door and threw it open but the hussy jumped inside. I was stunned, then infuriated.
I've had yuppie scum steal my cabs; I've had hostile rapper-types steal my cabs; I've had little old ladies steal my cabs...but I have never lost a cab to a big-haired out-of-towner.
Fury boiled up in me, threatening to pour, lava-like, down the streets of Times Square, drowning New York's entire theatre district... which would hardly have made a difference yesterday since the strike was still in progress.
"I hope you die," I said calmly, then slammed the door shut on the hem of her coat.
And walked on to my important meeting, horrified yet oddly elated.