I knew the car wasn’t going to start. I could have told you that last week without even looking at it. I am a visceral evaluator of automobiles. Ferdinand and I got outside with lunch packed, coats on, and the car wouldn’t start. We live in New York City, but in a particular part of New York City where buses only come every half hour and there are no taxis for hire, but they are everywhere. Piles of them. Queens is where taxis come to change shifts or fuel up or for repair, and they have no interest in picking you up.
We started to run for the corner, because I am hopeful. Hopeful grows in Queens in leaps in bounds–there are more countries from around the world represented in Queens than any other place, but what you need in Queens is practical. Walking shoes, or a cell phone with the number for a limo or the good sense to go back to bed.
We started walking. I stopped five taxis, and they all said no. I said to Ferd, “this is like the Lord looking for a place to be born.” Ferd said, “the Lord had to be born. I don’t have to go to school.” A few hundred yards from the underneath of the 59th street bridge I asked a taxi mechanic if he knew anyone who could give us a ride. “All the taxis are broken here. They’re no good. They don’t go. Where do you go?” I gave him the cross streets. “OOOOOOO, he said. That is far. That is very far.”
We kept walking. And then five minutes later, we heard a horn beeping, and an old, broken down, battered up yellow cab with the mechanic driving it stopped. “Open the door and get in,” he said. “I take you.”
“I love you.” I said. “You are so nice, you are just he nicest man alive.”
“I told myself, it’s a good way for me to start the New Year, to give you a ride. So, I give you a ride.”
We were only ten minutes late. I offered the mechanic money for the ride and he wouldn’t take it. I told him I wished him more love for the new year.
The guard at the front desk let me sign Ferd in and even though I had no ID. I told her I loved her.
I walked home. I beat the bus.
For dinner I made some of the best black beans I have ever made.
1 can black beans well rinsed. To start: 1/4 of medium size yellow onion, finely chopped, 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley, sauteed in a fair amount of olive oil with salt, pepper, and chile if you want it. (I didn’t) Grind a half teaspoon each cumin and coriander, and when the onions are completely cooked through and going golden, stir in the spice. Add one clove of fresh and finely minced garlic to a little nude spot in the middle of the pan, then once cooked, stir the garlic through. Add the beans and a good cup of homemade chicken stock. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, then smash through with a fork. Taste for salt. Serve with buttered rice, tortillas, shredded chix, and here is the clincher: avocado, tomatillo sauce. Oh so good. 1 avocado, 2 roughly chopped tomatillos, 1 clove of smashed fresh garlic and the juice of one lime. Put it all in the food processor and blend just til chunky. Taste for salt and pepper.

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