I’m heading to the airport at 7:30 a.m. to surprise my mom for her 75th birthday in Florida. My father, two younger sisters and I have tried to surprise her in the past with limited success. She’s pretty smart and picks up on the subtlest of things.
It’s raining in New York City, which always makes it harder to catch a cab. I know I can get an Uber or a Lyft, but I’m not a fan of Uber’s sexual harassment claims and when I took a Lyft about a month ago, I was in a minor car accident. So yellow cab it is.
The driver takes a bit of an odd route, but I try to put it out of my mind. The problem is that I can’t distract myself by looking at my phone. I get car sick very easily and it will make for a very long ride to JFK. I usually get to the highway in about 10-15 minutes, but that time has passed and we’re still going across the city. The quickest way is through Central Park, but this guy has opted to go a different way.
We’re driving down a street that has schools and at just before 8:00 a.m., this is the last place I want to be. We have to stop for school buses, children (obviously. I’m not a monster) and worst of all, speed bumps. I’m audibly sighing in the backseat out of sheer frustration, which may seem passive-aggressive, but mostly it’s because I’ve been holding my breath for what feels like 10 minutes. I know this situation is completely out of my control, so that’s the only way I can handle it.
Finally, we get to the highway and I’m eager to get a move on, but then I notice that the driver is doing the unthinkable. He’s driving below the speed limit.
This approach is unheard of for a New York City cab driver. Who is this monster? Sure it’s only a few miles below the speed limit, but the speed limit is only 40 miles per hour. I want to say something… nicely, of course.
Sir, would you mind driving the speed limit? I’m trying to catch a flight.
Sir, did you know that the speed limit is 40 mph?
Sir, could you hit the fucking gas and fucking move? If I miss this flight and fuck up this surprise for my Mom’s 75th birthday, I’ll never be able to forgive myself… or you.
The last one is tempting, but I bite my tongue.
Finally, we get to the higher speed limit and he goes faster. Thankfully.
I look at the time and try to make a prediction as to when we’ll arrive. My hope is 8:41 a.m. Exactly an hour before my flight. I normally want to arrive an hour and a half before my flight, but that’s a pipe dream at this point.
We keep moving along and no words are exchanged. Then, we hit some traffic. Of course. I start to get incredibly tense and try to calm myself down.
You will make it to the airport in time.
This situation is out of your control.
You will be okay.
There’s a part of me that believes these words, but as soon as I see us stopped dead, my frustration builds again. I want to scream my head off because I know it’ll make me feel better, but I don’t.
Instead I decide to look at my phone, specifically Facebook because it’s so mindless that maybe it won’t make me car sick. It works for a little while, but then I pull up Google maps to see how far we are from JFK airport. 13 minutes. This is now past my predicted time and will put me there, if this is accurate by 8:50 a.m. for a 9:41 a.m. flight.
It’s Friday morning - a busy time to be flying out no doubt. Plus, it’s raining, so who knows when we’ll get there?
I pull up my boarding pass on my phone and don’t see the TSA pre-check mark. I try to log in to JetBlue’s site to see if I can manually enter it. No dice. It’s claiming my username and/or password is incorrect. This makes no sense given that I’ve copied it directly from where I store this information. Then, on another attempt to copy and paste the information, I copy over my JetBlue number.
“Nooooooo!!!!” I scream.
I try shaking my phone to undo what I’ve just done. (If you’re not an iPhone user, it’s usually the only way to make an undo window pop up.)
I look like a nut job shaking my phone viciously in the backseat, but I don’t care. I’ve suppressed screaming my head off for this entire ride, so this is pretty tame by comparison. The driver doesn’t even blink an eye.
Like many things in life, I can’t undo it, so I try calling JetBlue to see if they can add my TSA number. When I click the #2 button to speak to an agent about an existing reservation, it doesn’t work. No matter how many times I press the #2 button or say, “2!” into the phone, it doesn’t register.
I hang up and try again. This time it goes through, but tells me my estimated wait time is 15 minutes - longer than the time it’ll take me to arrive. They give me the option to have someone call me back, and I select it knowing that there’s a chance I won’t be at the airport by the time they return my call. I hate to be so pessimistic. I like to think of it as being realistic.
And it’s not that far-fetched because we get stuck in traffic again. I’m ready to lose my shit, fly the door open and run down the rest of the Van Wyck Expressway to the airport.
I can’t control my anger at this point. I want to scream at this man.
Why the fuck didn’t you go up this street instead of this street?
Everybody knows the fastest way to cut through the city is through the park. What the fuck is wrong with you?!
Sir, I just need to scream out the window out of incredible frustration, so don’t be alarmed. And then, I do (in my head.)
These are my versions of road rage. They’re tempting, but I decide to say no.
No to my anger.
No to looking like an asshole and
No to making what’s already a tense situation (at least for me) even more stressful.
I keep my mouth shut. It sucks. All I want to do is scream, but I don’t. That’s right, nevertheless, I resisted.
Luckily, I make my flight, I completely surprise my Mom and I have a wonderful weekend, but I could have done without the March madness I put myself through. Especially after I stayed up late to watch my beloved Syracuse Orange lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. :(
What would you have done in this situation? Would you have told him which one you wanted to go? Would you have told him off? Would you have screamed out the window or kept to yourself? Tell me below and if you like what you’ve read, please share it and subscribe below. Thanks!