By COLLEEN LEDDY
I was going to tell you what a wacky trip we just took to New York City, but in retrospect, it’s kind of amazing that we traveled there in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and were pretty much untouched by the devastation it wrecked up and down the East Coast.
We were headed to Brooklyn for my niece Vicky’s Nov. 3 wedding—a wedding planned long before Sandy reared her ugly head. A beautiful, even fun, wedding, with an unexpectedly hilarious priest, and the most wonderful wedding meal of incredible variety.
We left in a rush and a whoosh Halloween night after we established that Maddie was going to take her chances and hope that LaGuardia airport would be open when her 5:54 a.m. Thursday flight from Chicago was scheduled to land in New York at 8:59 a.m.
We had tried to convince her to quickly hop a bus or train to Toledo and drive with us, but she hadn’t packed yet and clearly wasn’t in a spontaneous mood.
We drove our Prius instead of our gas-guzzling van after Rosie and Taylor said they were pretty confident one of their two car rental reservations would actually result in a vehicle that would take them from the Islip airport on Long Island to their friend Diehl’s apartment in Brooklyn.
Sandy squashed their original plans to stay with friends in Massapequa. The guest bedroom (along with the rest of the house), and the car they’d offered Taylor and Rosie for the weekend, were under five feet of water.
Besides slowly picking our way on hilly, curvy, dark roads around massive fallen trees and hanging wires in the roadway on a pitstop to my friend Adrienne’s house in New Jersey, and the shock of seeing the long gas lines, we really weren’t affected by the storm damage—it was our own child who did us in.
I was in the thick of a deep sleep when Maddie called at 7 a.m. to say that there were no taxis on the streets of Brooklyn, her flight was going to leave at 8:30 a.m.,the Yellow Cab taxicompany she finally called wouldn’t be there for more than half an hour, she was locked out of the apartment and standing in the cold, and neither Rosie nor Taylor nor even Diehl was answering their phone.
“What should I do?”
Did I say, “I told you already there are no roaming taxis in Brooklyn like there are in Manhattan?” Did I ask, “Whaddaya, stoopid?” Did I scream, “What are you doing waking me up at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning?!”
No. I said, “Google car service in your neighborhood. Call the closest one.”
Five minutes later, she texted, “Going with Bedstar. In the car. $50.”
“All is well?” I asked. “Tip them well.”
“Yeah, it’s fine,” she texted. “He better take credit.”
I went into crazed mode, frantically trying to type quickly on my tiny keypad with my fat fingers, yelling at David to Google “Bedstar” and call them to find out if their drivers take credit cards, while visions of Maddie deposited on the side of the road in the middle of a bad neighborhood, danced through my head.
“How much cash do you have?” I texted. “Do you see a card reader? Don’t tell him you don’t have cash until you get to the airport.”
“Like $15...worry about it when we get there.”
Still in crazed mode, I offered this inane solution: “If he doesn’t take credit send him to Kay’s and I’ll pay him. Kay isn’t so far from the airport.”
“Ha,” Maddie texted, humoring me. But she asked for Kay’s address where David and I were staying for the weekend.
“He probably takes credit,” I texted so she wouldn’t worry. But I seriously doubted it.
“But don’t ask until you’re at the airport...at departures,” I advised.
“Yup. Getting close. Goodnightiloveyou,” she texted as if this crisis had already wound to an end. But David had just gotten through to Bedstar.
“They don’t take credit...dad called them. Would there be a cash machine at the airport?”
“Hahaha. I hope so.”
“We’re 11 minutes away,“ I texted, and started getting dressed.
Five minutes later, she texted, “Got cash.”
Later, I asked her what was so funny when I told her they don’t take credit and asked if there was a cash machine at the airport. I thought she was laughing that I would call it a “cash machine” instead of an ATM.
“Funny that I was screwed if they didn't. Or the driver was, I guess. I don’t know...I had no idea what would happen if they didn't, but I wasn't about to tell the driver I didn't have cash.”
“Do you still have that emergency $100?” I asked when she landed in Chicago.
I had given Maddie a hundred dollar bill before she set out on her journeys last year...something to tuck away and use in desperate situations—like getting in a cab with only $15 for a $50 ride.
“Ah, yeah, it’s in my room,” she texted in a sheepish, “should have brought that. forgot it existed. next time,” way.
It kind of made me long for the days when she would send messages like this from New Zealand:
“Hey, living on a vineyard picking grapes. In Queenstown getting Internet to apply for ski jobs right now.”