Last evening, due to even more extreme than usual subway delays, I spent an inordinate amount of time making my circuitous way across the City to get to my bridge lesson. The paralyzing cold had finally broken so instead of boarding the train at my corner I walked the 12 blocks to the Q (crosstown train). When I descended into the subway on 57th & 7th I discovered that all the trains heading to the Upper East Side were not only delayed but one seemed stuck at the station platform. With a mixture of admiration and fear I stood peering into the interior of the last car with doors shut and lights on while the rest of the train remained out of sight in the tunnel. Here, right in front of me, was a car full of obviously seasoned straphangers casually reading, looking at their phones or sleeping while the train stood stock still unable to even open its doors. The calmness and equanimity of the passengers trapped inside was a total mystery because I on the other hand, was standing on the platform freaking out, positive that if I had been on that train I would have been hyperventilating and grabbing on to total strangers for reassurance! Finally, reason prevailed and I realized I wasn’t actually on that train. I was free to leave!
My next “challenge” was finding a cab which I was sure would be impossible considering the subway mess. Cherishing my freedom I climbed the stairs and lo and behold a cab pulled right up! I considered my double luck in the last few minutes and thankfully hopped in when suddenly, voila, I was faced with my next challenge, this time more frustrating than fearful. In my panic then relief I had forgotten I had a full blown case of laryngitis! As I tried unsuccessfully to tell him my destination the driver whipped his head around, fortunately before pulling out into traffic, and gave me a look of complete impatience and annoyance ( note, NYC cab drivers are not always sweet and even tempered no matter what you’ve heard!)-was I kidding his face seemed to say, this is rush hour and my fare is sitting in the back seat wasting my precious time?! I finally managed to shout whisper the address. To his credit he managed to get to the right place without asking me to repeat the anything!
By now you might be thinking this was enough drama for one evening but I remind you this is NYC! Miraculously still on time, I left the cab and headed to my bridge friend Mel’s apartment bldg where our group was meeting for a private lesson. Mel’s lovely non bridge playing fiance Paula was just leaving as I arrived so we stood outside chatting for a few minutes (she chatted, I pantomimed). Upon entering the lobby, struggling to tell the doorman/concierge Mel’s apt number, he quietly informed me that Paula had just left! Without thinking I croaked out “I know”! Now what? Although totally innocent I found myself shout whispering to a complete stranger the reason I was going to Mel’s apt when Paula wasn’t home! Then, in both categories of “you can’t make this up” and “only in NYC” it turned out he had the exact same vocal malady. We wound up new best friends offering each other cough drops and cold remedy advice!
I happily entered the elevator knowing I was safe from subway trauma ( for now), had successfully arrived at my destination without uttering a word out loud and had protected two reputations in the process!