Case in point. When I left Orlando, there was a huge controversy brewing here about allowing Uber, a “radical” new form of taxi/pickup service, to become licensed to do business here in OTown. Yes, I’ve heard of this company before but never had much of an opinion nor any personal experience. But sure enough on day one in NYC I’m standing on a street corner with my son, who several years ago successfully transplanted himself into Manhattan residency status (pause for slight moment of pride coming from this FL mom. . .), and after no more than 30 seconds of watching multiple open cabs pass us by, son gets on IPhone, pushes his Uber app, and in less time that it takes to say ‘in a NY minute’, a clean and tidy Uber vehicle has located us via his app GPS and pulled over to the exact curb where we are standing in downtown Manhattan. Son opens door, reconfirms his identity with Uber driver and we proceed to get in. Driver reconfirms where we are going, offers us fresh water and minty chewing gum (a surprising touch, oui?), and before I can say, “What’s wrong with waiting for a normal, maniacal, foreign-speaking-speed-racing NYC yellow cab driver who will overcharge us?” we are swiftly and safely delivered to our destination. Further, son confirms with pleasant, nicely dressed and polite driver the total amount including gratuity for said transaction to be placed on the account associated with his Uber-app and email for receipt of same, then voilà. We are out the door and in the restaurant with no time for me to even fumble in the seat and refresh my lipstick. Huh. I can definitely see why the regular taxi cab people are fighting against this ‘radical’ service method. Yeah. It’s a no brainer to understand the value of safe, polite service vs. (potentially) crazed drivers and stinky, broken down cabs. Say what? Hello, Orlando, are you listening?
NYC lesson #1 on this trip. NYC is #1 in world dominance for a reason. Apparently they just think clearer, at least when it comes to transportation issues. Enough said.
Moving on, there were other, more subtle lessons and experiences to enjoy, but that one kind of slapped me in the face. In a city that seems really, really complicated to those of us who don’t live there, they have managed to simplify a very basic need, that being to get from point A to point B and leave the hassle behind. Go figure. (I’m still puzzled about a few other basic tenets with regards to living in the big city – like serious grocery shopping when you have no car to haul everything home and, really, what happens when you can’t resist temptation to buy a full case of toilet paper? Do you actually haul it onto the subway and pluck it down in the seat next to you? Yikes. I feel lucky to shop as I want in the knowledge that my SUV is waiting to be filled to the brim out in the shopping center parking lot, but to each his own, right?)