The Not So Fast and Not Really Furious
Tuesday night I drove my car into the city for a set, which is something I rarely do. The driving in part, I mean, I do sets pretty regularly. But I took advantage of the fact that on Wednesday there are no alternate side rules on my street and treated myself to a drive to and from my show. It was like I knew I was getting a free cab ride home and I was downright giddy.
Driving home after the show (which went very well, thank you) I had to make a left from Houston onto Bowery and I was in the middle of the intersection on a green light waiting for an opening in traffic so I could turn. A cab pulled up behind me and honked.
Now, the cab could see traffic just as well as I could so he knew full well there wasn’t a gap in traffic coming any time soon, so this must have been one of those preemptive honks, the kind you get when the light is about to turn green and the guy behind you wants to make sure you’re ready. Apparently this cabbie thought there was a chance that I had forgotten I wanted to turn left, even though I was out as far into the intersection as I could go and I had my signal on.
A gap big enough for just me opened up and I gunned it through the intersection, hoping to lose the cab, but he bolted through the intersection too, causing oncoming motorists to brake, and his fare (I’m pretty sure) to pee his/her pants. He swung out into the other lane of traffic and tried to pass me, but the light at the next block was red and we both ended up on the line.
It was time to race. I knew it. He knew it. His fare knew it.
I watched the pedestrian signals for the crossing traffic and the red hand started to blink on and off. I put my car in gear, my foot on the clutch.
The other light turned yellow and my heart started to race. I gripped the steering wheel and took a breath.
As I watched the yellow light, waiting for it to turn red, I heard the cab’s engine rev to life. I looked over and the cab had taken off. I looked up at my light which was still red.
I screamed “D.Q!!! D.Q.!!!” Which, as anyone familiar with drag racing can tell you, means ‘disqualified’ but the cabbie couldn’t hear me, being three lengths ahead of me.
I couldn’t let this go uncontested. He had to know he had been disqualified. My light turned green, I popped the clutch and took off.
This being New York it was about three seconds before we hit another red light and I pulled up alongside him again. With a satisfied grin I yelled, “D.Q.” out the window.
The cabbie had no sense of humor, and apparently no familiarity with the vernacular of drag racing, because he yelled back “Not deke me, deke you!”
I couldn’t race him again because I was laughing too damn hard, but someday I will get my rematch.