One word that is a must-add to your Uptown driving vocabulary is clusterf#*k (CF). CFs are quite common occurrences Uptown. CFs can happen at any time or any place Uptown but they are daily occurrences in the main thoroughfares of the neighborhood such as 181st, Dyckman Street and 207th Street.
CFs are just that, an utter mess of cars, buses and pedestrians all trying to get where they are going without the slightest regard for the next person. Several lights can pass by without anyone actually making any real headway. This helpful manual was created to help you navigate the CFs, without your head exploding while you are driving.
First of all, realize this – you will not be able to avoid CFs Uptown. Denial in this case, only makes matters worse. Acceptance is the name of the game. Like I said, a CF can pop off at anytime, anyplace. You can be driving down a quiet one-way street, when the dude in front of you decides he is going to stop mid-street and talk to his boy he hasn’t seen in years, a traffic back up ensues that the guy in front you is oblivious to. The wrong move would be to honk; you don’t know the man – that very well could be your last honk. The key to dealing with CF’s is developing a Zen-like forbearance for things you cannot change.
Okay, now let’s turn our gaze to one of the main culprits behind CFs, Uptown Cab drivers. Uptown Cab drivers are not to be confused with the yellow cab drivers that ply their trade mostly downtown. While those guys may drive like maniacs downtown, when they come Uptown, they are on their best behavior. An Uptown Cab driver will do WHATEVER for a fare or to get where he is going. No lie, I have seen a cab driver reverse speeding down a one-way street, while eating a pastelito, as he raps to a girl passing by, all the while talking on his cell phone. Honorable mention must be given to the bus drivers, UPS dudes and Ice Cream truck drivers for adding mightily to the prevalence of CFs Uptown.
While I am urging a Zen approach to CFs, it must be balanced with nerves of steel. When one is driving Uptown, you must do so with a controlled reckless abandon. Hesitation will you leave stuck dead in the middle of a CF with nowhere to go. I have seen out-of-towners in the middle of a CF with tears in their eyes.
I say all this to introduce the other major contributor to CFs, the pedestrians. The pedestrians are the worse; they will turn a minor CF into a major CF. This is the key reason it is extremely important that one adopt a “take no prisoners” approach to pedestrians. I know it may sound harsh and I am not advocating that you actually hurt someone. I am just saying that the person walking by has to believe in their heart of hearts, that you will kill them if necessary. If they see that wild look in your eyes, they will know better than to get in your way. Good luck, and may the force be with you!!!