…New York Morning
I woke up late this morning after pressing snooze no les than four times. I’ve been making a bad habit of this lately, but it’s probably related to stress at work, my home publishing project that is now mercifully finished, and my utter lack of enthusiasm about showing up early at the office. The evening before I was at a Board of Directors’ meeting at one of the member’s apartment—a quaint little thing: eight rooms on the 15th floor on 5th Avenue overlooking the Park and Temple of Dendor’s glass cage at the Met. It’s like a set on Gossip Girl…but it’s real. I don’t even *want* to know what that flat cost in the early 1900’s when her family bought it, let alone its current market value. Anyway, I woke up in my own decidedly humble but cozy abode about an hour later than I’d wanted to and rushed out to work only having packed about half of what I’d need for this weekend’s excursion to Florida.
I hopped on the Vespa and all was going according to plan despite my lack of morning coffee: the skies hadn’t opened up with rain and traffic getting to the Manhattan Bridge was reasonable. I pull up beside a small school bus, one of those miniature 20-seater cheese wagons that don’t take up the whole lane, and I waited calmly for the light to turn green, allowing me to zoom across the bridge and onto the other island. I was more than a little confused when the traffic cop supervising the HOV lane on the bridge waved me over in the middle of the intersection.
“License and registration,” the painful phrase that makes every motorist wince, regardless of his or her offense. I’d been caught lane-sharing by one of New York’s finest, and wouldn’t you know that he was actually going to enforce the law, unlike scores of his colleagues. I pull over, take off my helmet and shake out my dark blonde hair, hoping that some element of cuteness will predispose the officer to treat me kindly.
The problem was that I knew I was in the wrong. Lane-splitting is against New York State law, and things would only get worse when I opened my wallet to show my documentation. I will submit it for you, humble reader, in list form, so that it mystifies less. My good friend the police officer was quite confused, although I did my best to explain.
1. From New York State: license plates and vehicle registration
2. From Virginia: standard class diver’s license
3. From Florida: motorcycle test waiver (temporary license) expired in…December 2006 (oops!)
After a long lecture on my personal safety and several trips from the patrol car to my vehicle to the other detained vehicle (traffic violation unknown) back to my vehicle, the officer finally realized that in a bureaucratic SNAFU I was not licensed to drive a motorcycle in the state of New York. This meant the Vespa was also verboten.
If I were more of a talker, I could have gotten into all of the particulars, as I tried to do at the DMV the following week:
1. that I had been conscientious about plates and registration and updated them when I moved (and this is the most obviously observed violation)
2. that the only reason that I’d transferred my license to Virginia before leaving the country in 2006 was to vote against the arch-villain George Allen in the Virginia senatorial elections, and it wasn’t really my state of residence.
3. that I used to be a legally licensed motorcycle (and Vespa) driver in Florida, where they had out these things like candy compared to the New York test requirements, but I left the without switching my temporary paper license to a real one due to some minor “events” in my life at the time including but not limited to the subsequent inconsequential happenings:
a. the World Cup
b. the end of my indentured servitude to the Miami-Dade Public School system
c. being diagnosed with and getting rid of CANCER (skin cancer, yes, but still serious!)
I was a little busy. I am also a terrible procrastinator easily incensed by behemoth bureaucracies.
Thank you for indulging my excellent rationalization.
That Friday, I was unbelievably lucky. This luck would not continue to hold out, but for the time being the Fates smiled upon me. The officer let me go without so much as a ticket, free as the summer breeze that whips through the cables of the Manhattan Bridge. “Hallelujah!” I cried in my head, this could have been so much more of a hassle.
I continue on my merry but nervous way up and over the East River, then down to Canal and up Allen, like I had done on so many mornings before. I make it to First Ave and get stuck behind (you guessed it) another schoolbus.
There is absolutely NO way am I getting in trouble the traffic cops twice in one morning, so I wait patiently behind the cheese wagon until traffic clears up. As I stare blankly ahead into the back windows of the bus, it occurs to me that there are a bunch of teenage girls there, acting far to rowdy for an early Friday morning. Safe in my helmet-bubble I sigh a little thanks for the fact that I’m cut off from the noisy chaos that seems to be happening in the back seats.
That’s when I got flashed.
Yes, the ringleader took off her shirt in the window and jiggled her bra-less chest in my direction. I was so pissed that I just saw breasts before 9:00 am that I didn’t even crack a smile. No reaction whatsoever, except perhaps a small scowl. Apparently this was not the reaction that little miss exhibitionist was going for, and continued to bounce about, encouraging her friends to lift up their shirts too. At this point, I’m fairly incredulous that I have to sit here on my bike and wait for the damn light. I almost wanted to unzip my jacket and gesture at my own modest A-cups, the gesture equivalent of “Hey, dumb fuck—I’m a woman too, what now?” but after about 15 seconds of pondering that I realized that the girls on the bus probably thought I was a man, on my scooter dressed in pants and a wind jacket.
Where else are you going to find moronic teenage flashers in Chinatown on your morning commute? Only in New York.
Nudity, a brief shakedown with the NYPD, and then off to work. Just another morning, I guess =)