So the pros pack up their laptops and cameras and drift off, and the general public gets its shot at the New York International Auto Show starting tomorrow. For two weeks a year, the place where a car is officially Not Necessary gets its turn as a gearhead hotspot.
Funny thing about being here: The reputation is that New Yorkers have no use for cars that don't have lighted numbers on top, but get here and you'll figure out it's a bit different. A lot of folks know and care and understand; it's just subliminal, as if pushed underground — but not defeated — by the urban environment. Yes, serious enthusiasm is a sort of a cult thing, but that's true anywhere; here, it lives in quiet pockets of surprising intensity.
And New York drivers as a rule may be not be up to the same standard as Detroit, but they do usually know what they're doing. And they play by their very own individual rules, as ninjagin relates in a charming little childhood tale about how one deals with cabs on the mean streets of Gotham:
My aunt is a retired radiologist, and she lived for awhile in NY, and would drive occasionally in the city. She's very thin in build, a very mild-mannered driver, and a very quiet person (you have to strain a little to hear her voice in conversation). My family came to visit one year (I think I was twelve or so), and she picked us up at the airport to drive us to our hotel in the city. My dad pointed out to me that my aunt drove with one hand on the wheel and the other hand resting on the horn button, but things were very quiet on the way. Then, as we were moving out from an intersection, a cab cut her off to cross 2 lanes in a play to get to the other side of the street. The car came to an abrupt stop, she quietly rolled down her window, stuck her head out, stretched out her horn hand to press it completely down, and yelled "GET OUT OF THE FSCKING WAY, A55HOLE!". The cab moved and we were on our way again, all of us quite speechless at having seen something so unexpected. She rolled up the window and continued to drive, and said, very sweetly, "You have to do that, here, or they'll never take you seriously."
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