Rickshaw to the Ritz

In the past week, I’ve thrown caution to the wind and hopped aboard a rickshaw…twice! Now I know you must be thinking – what the heck is wrong with you? How could you hitch a ride on a bicycle rather than hail a cab, ride the subway or stand in line for a city bus? Simple. Because I have no patience whatsoever and if I need a ride, I’ll take the only set of wheels that are available – even if they’re the two or three wheel variety.
And so, with my decision to ride two rickshaws, I’ve felt as if I’ve been competing in an episode of “The Amazing Race.”  As the wind whipped through my hair and tossed my skirt up into the air (not a pretty picture), I attempted to return emails as my driver (or should I say rider/bike messenger) narrowly avoided pedestrians, trucks, buses and skate boarders. The first rickshaw ride was pretty uneventful, but yesterday’s ride was in a word, harrowing.
As traffic slowed to a crawl during the All Star Parade, I decided to hail a rickshaw to get to my appointment on time. And in one split second, I took my life and my judgement on the lam as we zigged and zagged uptown running stop lights. At one point, I was walked up a city block in the wrong direction while a policeman stared directly at us and I was convinced we were going to get a ticket. Despite the countless traffic violations, I managed to get to the Ritz in the nick of time and then proceeded to ask every woman I saw if she was the person I was looking for. And of course, each person looked at me funny and replied, “Nope, I’m not her.”
While we were initially going to meet near the hotel lobby, she proceeded to change our meeting points several times within the span of a half hour.  Every time I looked at my BlackBerry she was at a different destination – “Meet me at the corner of 55th and 5th… I’m standing under the statue at Columbus Circle…Wait, I’m now at 57th street and 7th.” 
As I walked up and down city streets in new black shoes that were pinching my toes and the sides of my feet, I cursed under my breath and kept trudging along. And while I was tempted to give up or dare I say, take another rickshaw, I persevered and proceeded to plod forward in 90 degree heat. And to be perfectly candid, I pretty much couldn’t stand the smell of myself by the time I made it to my final destination. And like the pair who usually trails far behind on the “Amazing Race,” I pretty much was the last to arrive. All I needed was Phil Keoghan to eliminate me and hand me a stick of deodorant. I guess I should be thankful that my life isn’t a reality show.