Thursday, October 28, 2010

Driving on a Friday

Another lovely morning birthed. Okay, so that was a lie on at least one count, thought Lenny, fingers digging into the few itchy locks left on his head. If it had been a birth, it'd be the kind of birth that worries. A blue baby, hypoxic, suffocating. Much like the city at this ungodly hour, a lack of screams was more worrying than anything else. Cynicism, chalk it up to years in a yellow cab, with the back of your neck and the seat slowly exchanging color with one another.
Chrissakes, it was still dark out, and they call it a morning.
Christ? That was one to bother the rabbi with-- would that still count as an expletive? As far as the light blasphemies went, it was probably Lenny's favorite, barring the occasional bacon-burger with melted cheddar. In either case, he was pretty sure these things would be glossed over in whatever post-death judgment awaited him when they'd point out that he usually drove the cab all through the weekend.
“What can I say? I tried to make it Kosher, you know, for the Sabbath. I tried, I did, but you guys shoulda laid out something in the Torah about whether or not automatic transmission was on that 'thou really shouldn't'th' list. I at least get partial credit for never learning stick, right?”
That was how he imagined it'd go, with him throwing up his hands, laying thick on the charm. He was pretty sure the G-dash-D would be one to let the schlepping slide for a kidder like Lenny. What's a Jew to do when gas prices are what they are? Maybe, and I'm not trying to complain, but maybe if you'd put the Promised Land in a little further in-land closer to some of that goopy black you instead decided to our neighbours who ain't so fond of us, maybe then a guy could rest easy on the Sabbath. I mean, sure, our guys cracked the atom and made with the power plants, but you could have at least put a little bit more effort into giving us some of that good stuff, that most liquid of assets. Oy.
“Look at you, you're falling asleep back there! You want I should get you a nice pillow and some warm milk?”
The fare, some college-age gunking up the window with an indistinguishable facial oil of some description. His eyes flicker. “Mmmmuh. Need... sleep.”
“Don't be roused to articulation, now, my friend, I wouldn't be able to handle it without having a nervous breakdown. Inadequacy. Not that it's a bad thing, mind you, it's a sentiment that brings people together when combined with that right amount of pity. I know you haven't met my parents, but it's gotten them through hard times, y'know, the kind that really only started after I came along.”
The kid peeled himself from the window, and it was difficult not to immediately think of the sound that comes from undoing velcro straps. “Need sleep. Doctors say we're not getting enough, or something. I'm all for that.”
“Doctors oughta know better. Sleep's only really something for the really young and the really old. Sure, you fall into the former category, and I myself am approaching on the latter like my mother at a chinese buffet, but we are still part of a category that exists solely as a caffeinated milieu that runs from dawn until dusk and then puts a few more hours on the punchcard to cover the incidental expenses you're doomed to bring up because in the end, you just had to have another dessert because not only does it taste so good, but you come from a family where your mother convinces you're anorexic until you're starting to put more on the plate than can be reasonably lifted by the average athlete.”
Traffic was slow, dull, molasses moving up-hill in the tundra. Over the dashboard was a sea of assholes who'd neglected to turn off their turn signals. Honking one-upmanship felt like a necessary pursuit to avoid the urge to put four on the floor and ten grand's worth of repairs into the bumper in front of you.
“Trust me, you get enough to do once you're my age. You don't get to be tired, not a bit. You're too exhausted to be tired. Don't listen to them, what they say, it's the perfect example that two wrongs make a right.”
“Or a left-- at the lights-- the, uh, the ones behind us.”
“C'mahn, that thing was more jammed than a peanut-free PB an' J. Only way we could get it moving would be to do something terrible with something sharp and throwable, and I'm dressed in my good shoes today, so I'd rather not resort to something so litigious at this early in the morning.”
The student shifted back into his seat, eyelids protestingly halving his already glazed-over sockets. “If it's too early, you really should get up at a later time. More sleep.”
Smug little schmuck. Way to win an argument and make me feel inadequate.
“Christ!” Grinned Lenny, but it probably didn't count. Probably.
Just another morning.

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