1. New York City. Sunday, noon. The ride starts at 55 Church Street. The cabdriver asked me where I was from, so I asked him where he was from. He said Pakistan, then rushed to say that he's all American now, here for 20 years. Where in Pakistan? Lahore. I ask what I always ask about cities I don't know: Is the architecture beautiful? He talks about how the city has changed so much in the last ten years, something about all the new and not very good buildings that have detracted from the beauty of the old. It used to be so clean. He used to know every tree, which ones were good for climbing, and where the bird's nests were.
2. Madison. Sunday, midnight. The ride starts at the airport. I say I was happy to see cabs waiting at the airport so late at night, and he explains how the company monitors the websites and knows when there are planes coming in. I say my plane was late because a plane in Cleveland skidded off the runway in the ice and snow. Talking about the weather, he says he finally bought some "choppers," which I learn is the name for a type of heavy mitten. Around here they make them out of deerskin. But out in the west, maybe elkskin. "Choppers," weird. I never heard that term before. I guess they're for chopping wood. Yeah.