After one of the worst heat waves in recent memory hit the city, and two restless nights in 80+ degree temperature, I finally broke down and purchased a window A/C unit today from BestBuy. Initially I had planned on purchasing the unit from the store roughly 40 blocks from my house on the west side, but alas, they did not have the unit I wanted in stock. Instead, I ended up in the tourist trap mess that was 44th street and 5th avenue. My only other alternative was 20-something street, and I did not want to go that far.
So, off to 44th and 5th avenue I go. Despite a really busy day at work, I was in high spirits when I left the office. Why? Because I knew I was going to be sleeping in A/C heaven tonight, and I was excited about that prospect. I should have known as soon as I walked in the store and it was overflowing with high schoolers on a field trip that trouble was a brewing on the horizon. Instead, I walked downstairs, picked up the A/C unit that I’d paid for online earlier this morning, and walked out with it with the intention of hailing a cab. BestBuy offered to deliver it same day for $30, but a cab ride from my location would be $15, so I turned them down. I thought I was being smart.
I get out onto 5th avenue and spot several other people with newly purchased A/C units on the curbside. I carried the unit up a block or so and stopped so that I had a decent chance of catching an open cab. Mind you, the temperature is still mid-90s, I’ve left work so I’m still wearing professional clothing, and the unit weighs 50 lbs. Some asshat sees me and walks about 10 feet north of me (traffic was heading south) and proceeds to hail a cab. Not in the mood to play this game, I pick up the unit, walk 10 feet in front of him and proceed to do the same. Five minutes later he passes by me to cross the street and snidely says “well I thought that was rude walking past me like that.” Having just mimicked him at his own game I gave him a piece of my mind and lets just say that he felt it prudent to shut his face and jog over to the other side of the street.
Now that my task with him was complete, I continued to wait for a cab. And wait. AND WAIT. Nothing. I figure at this point that the 5th avenue traffic is already going the wrong way (I live uptown) and Madison avenue is one block over. I then cart the 50 lb. behemoth one city avenue block over and proceed to hail a cab from there. Now, New York has this problem. This problem’s called towncar cabs. These little bastards will race up on you and refuse to leave even though you’re looking for a yellow cab. THEN, the yellow cabs that are open race on by because they think you’re being picked up by the towncar. Well, this particular towncar *popped open his trunk* before I’d even committed to getting in, and when I informed him I didn’t have cash and needed a yellow cab, he asked if I would close his trunk. Alright, why not? Except…the damn thing doesn’t close. That’s right, it was broken. After several attempts I told him his trunk was broken and not closing, and what does he do? DRIVES OFF. With an open trunk. Well, okay.
At this point I’ve been attempting to get a ride home for 25 minutes. You read that right. 25 minutes. I’m about to give up and suffer the walk over to a train or wait at the bus stop when a cab FINALLY shows up. The cabbie’s a really nice guy, takes the EXACT route that I want him to take (cabbies are notorious for taking tourists on a roundabout way through the city in order to jack up the fare), and even offers me help with the A/C unit. I tipped him nicely and said no thanks to the help, and made my sweaty way up to my 3rd story apartment into my blistering apartment.
Several hours and one installation later? ‘Tis blistering no more. And the best part? The New Yorker in me is smugly grinning at the fact that it only cost $15 and a stiff cocktail to get that unit home. Take that BestBuy.