I went over to Michael Andrews Bespoke yesterday to pick up my shoes, and the studio was ever so slightly hectic, with two people getting fitted and otherwise serviced for a suit. Even so, Marian washelpful and helped me with my shirt order. She recommended a dark gray chambray that I liked and was intrigued by. She brought the idea of black contrast pick-stitching. I gave it some serious contemplation and thought about what it would look like. While I was mulling it over, Marian excused herself to deal with another customer. Michael stepped in shortly, having arrived from jury duty. He was the one in charge of fitting the shoes, and unfortunately they didn’t feel quite right. The fit was fine, but as I walked around in them, I realized that the heel cup wasn’t quite high enough. My heels slipped halfway out the shoe every step I took. I hate to be “that guy”, the type of customer who makes a fuss over everything, but fortunately Michael was very gracious about it. His integrity dictated that I should not have to pay for a product that I was not satisfied with. It’s the same way I would run my own business. Even so, I hate for an honest man to lose out. I assured him that should the heel cups ever be fixed, I would be more than happy to purchase them.We went back to my new shirt order. After much deliberation (when don’t I take forever when it comes to clothing?), I ended up with a black Italian cloth in the super 120’s for my new casual shirt. He suggested an Italian collar, but it was hard for me to imagine what that would look like. Because Michael didn’t have any examples of it, and because I’m more conservative than flashy (I’m not brave enough to try something like that, not at those prices), we went with a normal collar. It would be soft though, so as to compliment the casual nature of the design. Unusual for my simple tastes (Luanne calls it boring), I decided that I wanted to add a splash of color: my black casual shirt would have burgundy thread for the button holes and the button connection (or whatever its called) as well. It would also have an interesting striped contrast on the inside of my collar and cuff, colored in dull red of course. For the cuff, I chose a two button notched style. I had originally wanted single cuffs so I could use red silk knots, but with the red button holes, it’d be more than enough. Besides, the two button with notch already adds to the distinctiveness of the design.After spending more time there than I thought I would, I realized that I was late for a delivery. I left and walked along East Houston, trying to hail a cab. I needed to get home as quickly as possible. Dressed in my expensive suit, you would think any cabbie would be happy to pick me up: I would imagine that well-dressed gentlemen are more generous. Regardless of the way I dress, I am always generous in my gratuities in the same fashion as Jimmy the Gent. So when I encountered ten cabs in a row that already had customers in it, then another three cabs that outright declined to take me as a passenger (two of them tried to ignore me), I wondered about the existence of karma.
Not being able to hail a cab was frustrating. I started walking rapidly to the subway station, but I would find out after a few minutes that I should’ve laced up my shoes better: my right calf suddenly felt fatigued. I opted to jog instead, as that would apparently relieve me of my poor power-walking form.
An hour later I would get out of the subway station. And just my luck, a white livery cab pulled up. The young black fellow driving it gestured at me, inquiring if I needed a ride. My twisted right calf and sense of urgency made the snap decision to take the cab.
I got into car and realized that in my haste I could’ve just entered a serial killer’s deathtrap. I discreetly checked the locks and as expected, they worked just fine. This happy looking driver was no murderer. Or at least he didn’t use his day job to do it. The car was well kept: no funky smells, leather seats free of stains. I told him my destination and off we went. I liked the music he had on and asked him what itwas.
“Africanmusic. What do you like about it? The beats?”
I enjoyed the cheery tones and the beat, the whole shebang, and I told him so.
“This is from Guinea,” he explained.
“Where can I buy some of this music?”
The fellow was cheerful and amicable. It was a pleasant ride. When we reached our destination I asked him, ” How much do I owe you my friend?” Billy Donovan would not approve of my form of address.
He looked out the window at my home, presumably to judge how much money I could really afford. He quoted me $8. I handed him a $20 and told him to give me $10 change, telling him to keep the rest. He was apparently surprised at my generosity. Bidding him a good evening as I exited the cab, I thought to myself, “Fucking yellow cabs…you missed out on my generosity. Assholes.”
This all reminds me of this time that I took a yellow cab from Manhattan to Queens. I discovered that I didn’t have enough cash to pay the cabbie in full. Of course, I did have a credit card on me. I told him that I would pay with my card but that I would tip him in cash. The Pakistani fellow had the gall to start bitching and moaning about using the credit card. I explained to him again that I would be tipping him plenty in cash, but that I needed to cover the actual fare with my credit card. He didn’t seem to understand and contorted his face into an immensely annoying expression of complaint. I ended up tipping him anyway simply because I do so on principal: the fellow doesn’t normally travel to Queens, and probably wouldn’t be picking up any fares in the area. In retrospect, the fact that he got lost trying to get to my destination combined with his poor customer service should’ve earned him no tip at all. In fact, I was pissed enough to vengefully fantasize about leaving his cab without paying. I’ve never heard anybody bitch so much about getting paid and tipped.
It used to be that cabbies knew the city inside and out. If I recall correctly, to get your hack license back then, you needed to pass a pretty intense test of your geographical knowledge. I mean, really, a cabbie’s stock in trade is his knowledge of the city and how to navigate it. That’s your fucking job for chrissake. Why the hell would you expect me, the customer, to know how to get from point A to point B? It’s one thing to ask, but to actually imply that the passenger has an obligation to know? Fuck off.
I guess I like livery cab drivers better. The night I was invited to Luanne’s house for dinner, I took a cab from The Chocolate Room to her home. The driver was a Jordanian fellow who went by the name Nicky. Friendly guy, a hard worker who drove the mid-day shift for all seven days of a week. I liked him enough to ask for his number so that I might call on his services later that night (wow…I just realized how gay that sounds…). Luanne, the voice of reason and wise frugality, convinced me to take the train home: the station was only four blocks away. But because it was raining a little harder than I would’ve wanted to subject my bespoke suit to, I ended up giving Nicky a call.
Nicky and I made our way from Brooklyn to Queens. Although he got lost on the way, he was gracious about it. When I got to the front of my home, I asked Nicky how much I owed him. On the previous ride, I gave him a $20 on an $11 trip, a gratuity that he appreciated deeply. That’s why I was so disappointed when he quoted me $35. I was told by the car service that it would only be $28. I casually brought this up, and Nicky bashedly said, “Oh yeah, you know, thirty, thirty-five…whatever you want, because you know, it’s like we are friends now.” I ended up giving him $40 because that’s what I felt the ride was worth: I didn’t have to trudge through the rain in my nice suit and my nice shoes to sit on a subway for an hour with a transfer as an added bonus, all at the ungodly hour of midnight. As I exited the car, Nicky extended his hand. We shook, and he wished me luck, presumably in life overall. He told me that I made his night, and I was glad to be able to provide someone with happiness through my generosity.