Flying High

I have a bit of a sordid tale to tell.  My mother would faint, for a number of reasons, if she heard this one.  Pray the Google Gods keep this one from her view.
+steph wanamaker, a fellow google plusser,  shared a thought provoking post this morning regarding taxis and cab drivers, and all sorts of cabbie related trivia. She asked in what cities we’d taken cabs…and I was reminded of frequent cab rides from my Kew Gardens apartment to either JFK or LaGuardia, back in the mid 80’s when I flew with TWA.
I was 23, naive, and on top of the world after landing my dream job as a Flight Attendant, after 5 extensive, painstaking interviews.

My roomie, Barb, had a boyfriend who modeled.  A Lot.  He was on covers of magazines, in catalogues, and in fact, all their children continue to model, and when they were small were featured in The Gap ads nationwide.  So, anyway….she convinces me I need to get some photographs taken for a portfolio, and gives me the name and number of a ‘gentleman’ who could do the job, for cheap.

So…I call up the man, and make an appointment.  He gives me directions to his “studio”.   I dressed in a black knit dress, with a plunging back and boots…teased my hair up as high as I could get it, did my make up, and called a Taxi.

On the way to the address, in Brooklyn, the driver struck up a conversation with me, asking where I was headed, what for, etc.  At first I was reluctant to give him any info, but he seemed friendly enough, so I told him I was going to have some shots taken for a modeling portfolio.
When we pulled up to the address, the driver, his name was Anthony, said….”Hmmm…You know, this looks a lot like a residence to me, not an office.” In fact, it was an apartment inside an old walk-up.
Anthony then says…Do you KNOW this guy? and How are you getting back home?”
I said, “No, it’s okay… I’ll just call for another cab.”  He offered to wait.  I declined, imagining the ticker running and me not being able to pay the fare…
The Cabbie insisted. In fact, he said, “NO WAY, I’m waiting here for you.”

Thank God/Zeus/Buddha/and Stevie Nicks he did.
As it turned out, the photographer was a sweaty shirtless old man, with torn magazine photos tacked to the walls. After a few uncomfortable poses and the exchange of money…He told me that lingerie models were in high demand, and made MUCH MORE $$..and he tried to convince me I needed to disrobe.
At that point, I told him my ride was waiting for me just outside, and I decided the ‘session’ was over. I ran out of there so fast…. But, in his defense, I did get my (fully clothed) proofs, as promised in the mail a week or so later.
Anthony the cabbie was waiting, and could see I was clearly shaken.  He asked how things went….”Okay”, I said….and then asked me if I smoked.  I assumed he was asking me for one of the Marlboro Lights I carried in my purse back in those days, so I pulled one out.
I was mistaken.  Anthony lit up something a bit more potent, told me to hop up front with him, and we took the long way back home to Queens…, The angel in disguise named Anthony, who drove a cab, took me on a long guided tour of NYC, Brooklyn, and showed me around.  And yes, I’ll admit, on that particular day, I made a new friend, and yes…. I did inhale.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers ; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares