Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fresh air and rosy cheeks

Taxi! Taxi! It was a blustery day in NYC and near time for the taxi shift. All the yellow cabs streaming by ignored our raised arms . . . so we took a pedicab, powered by a large man on a solid-looking bicycle. He pedaled us (sitting in an open air carriage) to our destination in less time than a taxi might have taken.

His fare was much higher, though.

The whole time we sat behind him, I thought about horse-drawn carriages, and its wrongness. How did that compare with hiring a man to pull us through town?

The man would inhale the same traffic fumes the horses do. Though he wasn’t traveling the city streets in his bare feet – especially undesirable in rain or snow – like the horses, he’d be more vulnerable if an accident occurred. True, he wasn’t bridled and hooked to the bike, and he didn’t have to eat raw carrots.

And, the man did it of his own volition; he chose to pedal a cab instead of working in some other field. He was also handsomely paid.

After our ride, he told us he’s done this for a couple years, with much lighter business in January and February. He’s a university student, so he may make his pedicab hours convenient for his academics.

He was very pleasant and flashed a great smile – especially when I asked if he’s thought about wearing a mask to ward off the toxic fumes. Guess that wouldn’t exactly attract riders.

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