Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wild

The U.N. is in session, the East Side of Manhattan is packed and rerouted and swarming with official cars, angry cabs, rushing pedestrians, and the usual delivery trucks blocking what few lanes remain open. So I choose to drive my little grey Toyota right into the thick of it, in the middle of rush hour, to take Hedgehog to a dentist appointment that could better have been reached by subway.

Me? I guess I'm just a thrill-seeker, more now even than I was at 20. At 39 years old, I have two outlets left for this feeling that pulls me outward: driving, and writing. The writing is good, I can be anywhere and anyone I want to be on the page. But facing Manhattan down is a whole other happiness and freedom. The streets and highways of midtown are my special place. All around me is chaos, but at the wheel I'm in total control. I mean total. I'm weaving to avoid the traffic cops and cones, fearlessly merging, honking at the guy who thrusts his baby carriage in front of me, the cab that cuts me off. I'm safe, of course, but bold in a way I would never have to be, just walking down the street pushing my shopping cart full of dinner groceries. For just a few minutes there, today, I owned Second Avenue between 57th and 34th.

What a feeling.

44 comments:

The Unbearable Banishment said...

I work on Park Ave. just two blocks from the Waldorf where they all stay. (Except for Ghadafi, who sleeps in a tent, that idiot.) The neighborhood has been in complete lock-down all week. Lots of guys in black suits with ear pieces waiting in line at my deli. Also, men in uniform carrying machine guns patrol Grand Central. It's like a movie.

C.M. Jackson said...

you are a wild wild woman---I felt the adrenaline rising as read about your flight up second avenue! "Today you owned 2nd avenue..." Great post! c

Brian Miller said...

haha...you owned scond avenue...stay wild and free leah! and hope the traffic clears...lol. happy tt!

subtorp77 said...

You're not wild...you're insane!-LOL! Then again, Boston traffic fares about the same...

Saw the UN demonstrators on a CNN feed-OY! But like yourself...I'll not elaborate, here :) Cool take on the theme, Leah!

willow said...

I've braved traffic at the wheel in Chicago and Philadelphia, but not New York. Sounds thrilling!

MJ said...

driving, and writing, and sex...

Do not attempt all three at the same time.

Although there was this time when...

Never mind.

underOvr (aka The U) said...

Leah,

Growing up in Chicago, I never imagined a place that could rival it for my attention; New York is that place. The traffic (pedestrian and vehicular), buildings, restaurants, sights and people convey that energy one does not find outside the confines of a large urban setting.

I can now say, "I know someone who once owned Second Avenue between 57th and 34th."

U

Wings said...

Driving there would freak me out. Heck, driving in Boston is bad enough!!!

Skip Simpson said...

I guess it would be a tad better than being a "Prisoner on Second Avenue."

Hunter said...

Sounds like you're quite the charioteer. Like Xena, but with a Toyota.

Jill said...

OH...don't mind me....I will be an hour on the two mile trek into the village in my horse and buggy!!! It is a wild life I lead!

RULE THE ROAD GIRL! Rule the road!

Megan said...

I know exactly what you mean. In the L.A. kind of way, that is. Totally different type of driving, yet totally the same feeling.

Pwn it, Leah!

savannah said...

*sigh* i think i'm cruisin/breakin the law when i get the lexus up to 80 on I-95, sugar! i am so old now! ;~D but, seriously, hats off to you, sugar! i never drive in NYC! xoxoxo

e said...

I wish I had your moxy re: the driving...As for the writing and sex, I'm in complete agreement. Happy TT and L'shana Tova!

Baino said...

I don't think I'd ever drive in New York . . I'm more of a wide open roader myself. Although I understand the control freak in you . . I'm a terrible passenger for that same reason.

Alan Burnett said...

Yes, sometimes, just sometimes, I feel that kind of wild abandon when I'm behind the driving wheel. Great piece.

Ronda Laveen said...

Toyota? What a feeling? I think you should contact Toyota about making a new commercial since their jingle is Toyota! Oh, what a feeling.

Loved this wild, woman post.

Scarlet-Blue said...

You nutter!
I challenge you to cross the pond and drive on the wrong side of the road... down a country lane. You'd probably love it.
Sx

kylie said...

i cant imagine driving in NYC but you never know.
you're right, driving, writing and sex all give a special kind of high

i must make sure to enjoy the drive to work, the writing is kind of blocked right now.....

Tom said...

you're brave...i totally hate driving on busy streets! But i do take on a different personality when driving, doesn't everybody?

Karen ^..^ said...

Awesome!!! I love your devil may care posts like this one. Makes me want to put on a scarf, some sunglasses and some white kid gloves and ride shotgun. I'd love to try driving in NYC just once.

As it is, driving here in Melboring is pretty tame in comparison.

Hmmm... Sex... Don't remember it.

:(

merelyme said...

Fearless!

Soon we will be able to say Fearless AND Forty - and that is no oxymoron!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Brave woman -- midtown has been a zoo this week!

Eric said...

I have driven in Manhattan three times, and each was more exhilerating than most carnival rides.

nick said...

I'm right with you on driving, writing and sex. All very liberating experiences. Potentially total control as you say, very cathartic when so much of daily life is so restrictive and cautious. City driving is a great challenge, really sharpens the wits.

Leah said...

UB: it's incredible isn't it? Makes pretty interesting sight-seeing, if not ease of transit!

C: I always go to my calm place when driving in those situations and only after I get out of the car does the adrenalin kick in! It really is pretty wild though...

Hi Brian: I will try my best to stay wild and free! and you too! hope you guys had a great birthday celebration--

Subby: I am totally insane! In a good way...at times...we drove past masses of protesters the other day too. Kind of interesting.

Willow: I've driven in Philadelphia too, but never in Chicago. Maybe I'll start a US tour--driving as many city centers as I can, and comparing them.

MJ: I could tell you stories!

Leah said...

U: I heart NY, I really do. It's just in my blood somehow. I loved your comment.

Wings: I bet Boston is pretty intense too! I'm sure you could handle NYC!

Skip: hah! I'd forgotten about that.

Hunter: Xena, with a Toyota. I kinda like that!

Jill: truth be told, I like the horse-and-buggy trek too--and I will never forget to RULE THE ROAD! lol

Megan: I'm so sure LA is the same feeling--only the bold make it out! ; )

Savannah: 80 mph on the highway is fun too, and frankly I always feel just a little wee bit reckless when I do that, so I understand...

Leah said...

e: moxy, what an awesome word. Writing and sex are more than enough. I think the driving is just my little extra fun. L'Shana Tovah!

Baino: I am just a little wee bit of a control freak, lol. There's very few people I can sit still in the passenger seat with...and I too like the wide open road, although I tend to get a bit bored after awhile...

Alan: so you know what I mean! It can be so wonderful, can't it.

Ronda: I just read your fantastic driving post too. It was absolutely beautiful.

Scarlet: indeed I am a nutter, lol. I have always wanted to try my hand at that wrong-side-of-the-road driving!

Leah said...

Kylie: my writing has been blocked too...hence the wild rides...I bet you'd like the NYC driving!

Tom: that's it exactly--I have a whole different driving persona. Or rather, a part of me comes out when I drive, a part that I'm not always in touch with otherwise...

Karen: when you make it to NYC, we'll drive around together, sunglasses and headscarves and all--I even have a sunroof now, so that would make sense! xo

merelyme: Fearless and Forty! My new tag line!

Pat!: it has been hasn't it? And the random FDR closures were nuts. I managed to avoid all of them, just serendipitously, and I got to drive a totally apocalyptically empty FDR yesterday! Such fun.

Eric: yes, it is like a carnival ride. Fun, no?

Nick: as usual, you've put it so well. A perfect encapsulation of the experience. Yes, really cathartic.

subtorp77 said...

Leah, fro mwhat i caught from the news blip, most of them were protesting "Quackdaffi's" visit to the U.N., not to mention the President's U.N. address. I couldn't get through the first five minutes of it, so not sure of the out-come( had to cross the hospital with Mom to help her to the other doctor's office )...

Leah said...

Subby, did you read that Quaddafi wore out his first translator? haha. What a lunatic. And boring too.

subtorp77 said...

Leah-LOL! But doesn't surprise me. And to think we( the U.S. )have given blanket immunity to Libya against further attacks( but I don't think Scotland has.... )GAH!

Donn w/2nz said...

If you had seen Kadaffi Duck, would you have floored it? I don't even think that the State Attorney would charge you?

It's too bad that the UN is in the States. It should be in a smallish, non-sh*t disturbing country...like Vanuatu or Italy.

Think of all the money American taxpayers would save?

I admire your pluck. I would go postal if I had to deal with that sort of traffic...especially since it's all f*cked up because the limo of some obese African tyrant in his faux-leopard print moo-moo who has decimated his countryside with machetes and syphons all the Aid money into his Swiss Account is double parked.
I'd lose it!

Pat said...

I remember those days. They are not long the days of fearless driving, overtaking, driving far and wide and strange places abroad. Enjoy! And be careful!

muralimanohar said...

Ha...I feel all that just managing Honolulu peak hour traffic. As in, I might as well be in the backwoods of Borneo. :p Though, I have a touch of an excuse...all this back and forth between the right side and the wrong side of the road makes just getting behind the wheel and pulling out onto the correct side of the road a bit of a challenge, lol!

Maria said...

I am in awe of you. We went to NYC (my friend recently moved out of Brooklyn, btw to upper Harlem on Edgecombe Ave and lives in the same apt building that DuBois did, so she is excited) and our friend quickly taught us the subway system (it was amazingly easy!) If I had had to drive a car, I would have been whimpering.

Abi said...

Wooow you enjoy rush hour traffic in a huge city :o you just knocked me dead!!

Skeeter said...

So many things going on! Very nicely done. Bonus points awarded in the game of Life :-)

Best wishes,

Skeeter

Candie Bracci said...

Nice one Leah!;)

Emerson Marks said...

Driving in Noo Yoik. Blimey, I bet that is a right carry on. Stressful I mean.

Mr. Shife said...

You go girl. I could never imagine driving in a crazy place like New York. I guess it would be quite the thrill.

Auntie, aka Coco's Mom said...

Ah, what a Mother wouldn't do for her Hedgehog!

Leah said...

Donn: the mayor always argues that the African tyrants are good for the city's coffers, but in fact you are right--the cost to taxpayers for all the extra police activity, etc, outweighs all the corner deli coca-cola purchases...

Pat: I think you are very right. These days are not long. I will try very hard to enjoy.

Murali: I wonder how I'd do on the "wrong" side of the road. Sarge says it's really hard to make the switch. Especially right turns.

Maria: the NYC subway system is SO amazing. However, sometimes I just like to be in my own little bubble with my own tunes! Hedgehog prefers the subway, little city kid that she is. That's really cool about your friends' building!

Abi: I know, I'm so so so crazy. ; )

Skeeter: I can really use those bonus points--the game is tricky!

Candie: hi sweetie!

EM: you and your colloquialisms never cease to disappoint me! it is a right carry on all right.

Mr. Shife: I'll bet you'd like it!

Auntie!: hullo Auntie, I've missed you! I would definitely brave rush hour traffic for the dentist...

muralimanohar said...

Well, my dh swears I am nuts, because there are NO problems switching from one side to the next. Yeah, right. But he is a mad good driver..which means maybe you'd do well, too?