It takes some serious cojones to nab a cab in Manhattan.
First, you have to know which cabs are actually willing to pick up a passenger — forget anywhere near 4:30 — you, know when people actually need a cab — because as locals know, that’s when they all change shifts and you, ‘o hapless tourist laden with shopping bags, are SOL.
But how do you attract their attention in the first place?
Using one of my three hidden talents, the ability to whistle really loudly using two fingers and a curled tongue. While amateurs waggle their fingers hopefully, and the rest fling out their elbows and sprint, I can stop a cab half a block away, in the rain. I rock!
My other hidden talents?
At any time of day or night I can tell you what time it is, within 20 minutes. It doesn’t always work, but it’s reliable enough.
I can remember a color exactly enough to feel completely confident buying clothes, accessories, paint and decor and knowing they’ll match what I already own. In Thailand, I happily bought ten yards of raw silk (for a staggering $10/yard) the color of a glacial lake, and it worked nicely at home in my New York apartment.
In the 1990s, planning to become an interior designer and leave journalism, I studied at the New York School of Interior Design. I loved my classes, (except for drafting), and one of my greatest accomplishments was getting an A in my color class. It was taught by a ferocious Swiss woman, whose high standards terrified even the wealthiest Connecticut housewives in our class. We learned to mix color from the ground up, painting tiny box after tiny box until we began to memorize the subtleties involved.
What are your hidden talents?