Punk Poet Paradise

Il faut étre absolument moderne

Or postmodern. Which I'm not. At least not absolument. You see, I've never taken Uber. I like taxicabs, particularly the now gone and ridiculously comfortable Checker cabs that felt like I was riding in a limo but without the pretentiousness. Today, spaciousness is offered by taxicab minivans, but they're not the same. Too soccer-mom/dad for an urban vibe, and nowhere as comfortable.

Regardless, I continue to hail yellow cabs, except in the New York boroughs and some Manhattan nabes where the main option is car-service vehicles. When I lived uptown I used car services operated by Dominicans, which carried the perk of a merengue soundtrack. By then there were also many yellow-cab drivers from Haiti and from African countries who politely turned down their volume when what they saw as a white guy in a suit as their passenger, until I insisted they cranked up the sound. Riding through New York to the beat of Afropop, now that was a treat.

I imagine such music can be found in Uber, but I still choose taxis, maybe because they are in danger of extinction and they feed my nostalgia for urban life in the past century. Maybe because it was the only form of transportation Federico García Lorca ever took, even in Vermont. Most likely because I associate them with my marvelous years in New York. In Havana, where there are no yellow cabs, I have used a car service based at the Riviera Hotel that only uses Mercedes. And I abhor the almendrones -- vintage American cars -- that tourists love to ride in. Shit, I rode in and drove such clunkers -- in the States -- because they were all my family could afford. Mercedes-Benz for this Cuban, thank you.

The other big postmodern phenom is Airbnb. This I have used for strictly practical reasons, like no hotels at my destination and/or no money for hotel rates. All things being equal, however, I'd rather stay in a hotel, preferably a good one. My residence fantasy is not a Tuscan villa but a penthouse suite in an elegant hotel in one of the world's great cities. 

Hotel rooms get daily cleaning and nightly turn-down service, there's usually a decent or even great restaurant, a bar where there's a party, flat screen TV with a choice of recent movies, mini-bar and, of course, room service, one of the great achievements of civilization. Great hotels are a marvel. I'm partial to the luxury hotels of Mexico City, where the service is outstanding, surpassing anything I've experienced in the US, but also an inexpensive but beautiful inn in Cuernavaca where the patio was a well tended tropical jungle.

These are not postmodern experiences, though I imagine Arthur Rimbaud in his impecunious youth might have found them absolument moderne. Will the postmodern gig economy wash away such pleasures as taxis and hotels? Peut-être. Climate change may wash away the land traversed by taxis and where fine hotels stand. But neither postmodernism nor global warming will make that much difference while I'm still around. Young people already prefer Uber, and for all I know Airbnb. Tant pis!

Too old to sail a drunken boat, I mostly stay home, read what gives me pleasure and write what I hope gives you some.