By Chris Bauer
I’ve always resented the jerks who try to merge onto the Brooklyn bridge entrance heading downtown on the FDR. Like the good Catholic boy that I am, I’ve always made it a point to get into the far right lane in plenty of time so that I won’t slow up traffic; anticipating the exit that will take me to my Brooklyn home just across the river. Nearly every time, I sit still in my car or cab for at least a few minutes while the last minute cheaters clog up the line trying to squeeze into the exit lane in time to get on the bridge. Sure, I allow for the occasional out of towner, and day dreamer who may have spaced out and missed their chance to merge earlier, but the majority of the stoppage comes from the dark side of NYC mentality, which is “the rules don’t apply to me”.
But like everything else in New York, there’s an upside to every pain in the ass; like when you get stuck on the subway and leave with a girl’s phone number for example. I was in that line of cars waiting to get on the bridge once, at a dead stand still, when two livery drivers got into it during the merge onto the bridge. In that way that things can escalate in a big city, their repressed rage exploded and one of the drivers got into his car and angrily ran over the feet of the other driver, and took off across the bridge. Uninjured, but angry like a bull, the other driver dove in his car and took off in chase. Idling in that traffic behind them, I saw the whole thing. I looked at the stunned driver in the old Honda next to me and we met eyes.
“Did you see that, man?”
“Yeah,” I said.
He looked at me and said, “Hey, are you that actor?”
And in a flurry of vanity that would make any actor proud, I said “yes!” not even considering that he could mean anyone.
He grinned and let out one of those deep Brooklyn laughs; “only in New York man!”
And as is the case whenever anyone says that, he was right.