Nina In New York: Perhaps Our Brains Are Off-Duty
A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is futzing again.
Not satisfied with blaring televisions, reading lights and phone chargers (soon to come), not to mention brand new Jetsons-worthy fleets, they now turn to the evidently vexing issue of roof lights. You know how confusing it gets to have separate lights to denote whether a taxi is vacant and whether it’s off-duty, right? No? Doesn’t that two-part system overload your brain with its inscrutable signals and needless more-than-one-thingy complexity? But, people visiting from Idaho for two days think so.
To take some of the pressure off, the TLC is considering a new system inspired our friends in London, where everything is automatically better and friendlier because they are charming and adorable and say things like “bobby” and “lorrie” and “rubbish.” Very simply, there will be two modes. Lights on (with the word “vacant” occupying the current “off-duty” space) means the taxi is (duh) vacant. Lights off means the taxi is occupied.
I would bet any amount of money that even with this change, we will still see tourists attempting to hail darkened taxis, pizza delivery cars, security trucks, private Escalades, and old people driving old Crown Vics.
Meanwhile, we will all lose out on the opportunity to score that off-duty cab whose driver happens to be going in your direction. And okay, now cabbies can’t mercurially turn their “off-duty” signs on if they don’t like the looks of a person or don’t want to stop in the rain or whatever their unfair reasons are, but can’t they just as easily just turn off their “vacant” lights to the same end?
I don’t see how this resolves anything. Frankly, I don’t see much that needs resolving. Don’t we have bigger fish to fry? Aren’t there much more pressing matters which require problem-solving, like how we’re all unemployed, and there’s another recession looming, and downtown is all Occupied and stuff, and crime is on an upswing, and subway service totally blows, and then horse poop! Is. Everywhere. We don’t need to be devoting all of this time, money and effort to fixing a problem that is really only a problem for people who either don’t live here or aren’t very smart. Either way, they don’t call it an urban jungle for nothing. Survival of the fittest, people. Let’s try to stay sharp out there.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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