I am in love with New York City. I always thought that it was just meant to be that NYC was perfect for me and that I was perfect for NYC. But I just heard an alternate explanation in the form of a scientific study concluding that danger increases attraction. In other words, if potential lovers meet in a hazardous situation, such as in the middle of a narrow footbridge twisting in the wind, they are more likely to fall in love than if they meet in a safer setting, such as in the middle of the toothpaste aisle at the pharmacy.Early one morning I left Moscow, Idaho. Late that evening I arrived at LaGuardia Airport, New York City. I brought an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar, and a banjo. I had some clothing. I had a tuning fork. I even had fifty dollars to live on for the first few weeks until I got signed to a major music label. I felt more than prepared.I heaved my canvas rucksack into the back of the yellow cab and settled into the back, attempting to exude an air of bored sophistication, as though I took cabs every year. “120th Street and Amsterdam Avenue,” I said with conviction. “Or possibly 120th Avenue and Amsterdam Street. It’s in Manhattan. An island.” I was immediately flung back into the seat by extreme acceleration, then pitched from side to side as the cab swerved violently. “Welcome to New York City,” my driver yelled back at me in hither-to-unheard-by-me accent. Then he ran over a curb, exiting the airport and entering a busy freeway with several inches to spare between our vehicle and those to the front, rear, right and left.
“Aighhhh,” I replied, distracted by the fear of imminent death by car crash.
He looked back at me and continued shouting in a friendly manner, “New York is the best city in the world. If you are here for thirty minutes you are a New Yorker.”
I would have appreciated his insight except that, as I mentioned, he was looking back at me, and yet was continuing to press down the accelerator to the fullest. “Ahhhh,” I responded weakly, feebly gesturing towards the windshield and the panorama of onrushing traffic.
Luckily he glanced in the indicated direction, and immediately wrestled the wheel to the side with a loud screeching sound. “Go to hell!” he screamed, rolling down his window and shaking his fist helpfully at a nearby truck. Continuing on his theme he said, “I’m a New Yorker too! I’ve been here for two weeks.”
At this time I successfully articulated in my mind a question that had been sort of tugging at my brain for the last three and one-half minutes, namely I asked myself: “Did my driver really just take a swig from a bottle of vodka? No, that is not possible, is it?”
My driver took another swig from his bottle of vodka. “Want some vodka?” he yelled.
“Urgggghhh,” I whimpered. “Please oh please oh please, God, let me live.”
We were now hurtling over a bridge and that is when I saw her: New York City. It was night and the lights of the city were myriad and beautiful beyond my power of comprehension. Suddenly I felt the energy of millions of people, millions of dreams and millions of stories. I became one of those people, in a cab with a crazy man and a mere 22 minutes away from being a New Yorker. I was moving very quickly into the unknown. I was terrified. And I was in love.
By the way, if you yourself are looking for love, you may be interested in my latest brilliant business idea: Speed Dating While Being Shot At.
By Dan Emery