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new york still works

if you have money, that is.

isn’t that the new york way? well, it shouldn’t be.

if you don’t have money, or you need to go to work in an outer borough, you are pretty much out of luck this morning. that’s the big problem i have with this transit strike. it doesn’t hurt people with resources–it hurts people like the strikers themselves, or people in worse situations.

so here’s the story of my morning so far.

oh, by the way, if you’ve been in a cave, the entire new york metro area transit system, buses and subways, are shut down because the workers are on strike.

i got to work this morning at 7:00–arrived here after leaving our apartment at 211th street at about 5:45. kirk and i got up early and caught a gypsy cab to work. there’s a four-person minimum for vehicles coming into the city, so we shared the car with a lovely swiss woman spending her first night in new york.

welcome to the city, huh?

she was going to penn station to get a train to philadelphia. she was absolutely charming, and we had a very pleasant conversation. and we picked up some other guy on the way downtown. he was going to penn station too. he didn’t talk at all, though. oh well. missed opportunity for him.

it’s a good thing we got up early and got that gypsy cab. a gypsy, if you don’t know the difference, is unregulated and unofficial and illegal. it’s basically an opportunist with a big car who drives around and hopes not to get caught. this morning, you couldn’t afford to be picky.

but the reason that we were smart to leave early is that we beat the rush of the chaos–at that point there were more cars looking for riders than there were people taking the rides. and we got to our destinations for $20 each.

that may seem like a lot, but $40 is approximately what kirk and i would pay a regulated taxi to get home on a normal day. not that we do it that often, obviously, but occasionally we do, and it’s a bit cheaper, maybe $35 with tip, but that’s about how much it is. and, watching the news, it’s apparent that now there are more people needing rides than there are cars. so the laws of supply and demand are taking over, and people are, if cnn is to be believed, in the streets competing for rides, winner take all.

or, more accurately, person with the most money, or person most aggressive, or person more obnoxious take all.

so our driver would probably have made more money on the trip if he had waited a while. but at least now he has time to get back out and make another trip into the city. i’ll bet that the next people pay more than $20.

anyway, kirk and i can afford that for a day, and hopefully the metro north train people will not go on strike in support of the mta train people, and we can take metro north home tonight after the show.

did i mention? we have tickets for chita rivera tonight. can hardly wait. how am i getting home after the show? i have no idea. i have a change of underwear and clean socks, just in case.

what if you make minimum wage? what if your boss will fire you because you can’t get from the bronx to queens? we talked to a couple of people this morning. one guy was going to queens from about 190th street. another woman, earlier, needed to get to yonkers. these people were clearly out of luck.

i feel sorry for the mta workers too, though. they deserve a pension after 30 years of crawling around in the tunnels fixing tracks and what not. and most people are just so wrapped up in themselves that they will just hate the workers and blame them, instead of at least sharing the blame with the government entity that, to be fair, also is at fault here.

there just are no winners here.

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