New York

A free ride

Going about my everyday business, I often notice potential cameos for a Woody Allen movie. Recently, on a bus, our driver noticed a guy reversing into a no parking area alongside Central Park. He honked his horn and stopped to bellow ” you’ll get towed away. Can’t you see the stop sign? Use your eyes my friend ! ” This is a perfect example of the No Frills solidarity you find in New York. Generally, working people don’t engage in unnecessary chit chat and communication tends to be brief and purposeful,

A regular exception to this rule is on buses where I continue to be delighted by the sense of community which develops between passengers. A few weeks ago, my buddy Nancy and I were coming back from the theatre on the M104 and the ticket machine was broken. The driver’s challenge was to keep to schedule and allow the late night crowd to travel ticketless without explicitly saying so. He used a variety of ‘A Nod’s as Good as a Wink’ techniques to do this and the rest of us enjoyed watching the reaction of the passengers as they were waved on at each new stop. Most of them caught on quickly and a sense of pleasurable complicity developed between us all. One passenger, though, persisted in trying to insert his card, finally sitting down in a huff. He just didn’t get it. Overall, the feelgood vibe on that bus was high.


March 2015: I have to add a post script to this. During Christmas at my sister’s home, my son was browsing Daniel Goleman’s “Emotional Intelligence ” and showed me the very first example in the book : NYC bus drivers


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