It was too beautiful this morning to get into the subway (and, surprise, I was running late), so I hopped a cab and asked the driver to drive through Central Park, so that I could enjoy the beauty that the car exhaust was destroying. But I digress.
The cab driver mentioned how New York has changed since the 1970s even though he believes that there is more crime than the official statistics would suggest. I asked him if he had always driven a cab, knowing in the back of my mind that anyone who didn’t know that you could get the Park Drive going south at 100th Street and Central Park West hasn’t been a cab driver for too long.
No, he was a bond trader and was laid off in 2000 when the bond markets were rocked by one thing or another. He was a golf caddy for a while and he turned down a job back on Wall Street in 2001 because the pay package was too low. Yup, you guessed it — at a firm in the World Trade Center. Ok, Gordon Gekko, in this case, greed saved his life. Actually, he isn’t really Gekko-esque. After all, he is driving a cab. He said the pay package was too low because bond traders were a dime a dozen and people were scrambling to get work. But he had paid off his mortgage and cashed out of equities as soon as he was laid off, so he was ok. Not rich, but ok. Clearly, because he is driving a cab.
A serene cab driver who would rather compete for fares in New York City than go back to Wall Street. Now that is saying something.