Taxing journeys


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So, my car is in getting fixed, following the South Coast prang.  So to get around for work, I have been relying on cabcharges and have been sampling Sydney’s delightful array of taxi drivers.  I’ve had some colourful ones.

Not counting all the boring silent ones, here’s a quick rundown of some of my favourites this week alone.

-An absolute champion old guy who talked about politics with me for the whole trip.  He was totally stoked about Rudd’s apology, was totally down with the Wollongong Council scandal, and could make intelligent barbed attacks on most of the former Federal Lib frontbenchers, as well as most of the State ministers both in government and opposition.  Best cab ride in a long time.

-On the same day, I got a driver who was the polar opposite.  A rough transcript of our conversation;

Rude Taxi Man (RTM): What you do on weekend?  You didn’t go mardi gras did you?
Me: No, I just had a quiet one
RTM: We have too many diseases in this country already.  That’s what I think.
Me: Sorry?  What do you mean?
RTM: Too many diseases, we shouldn’t let those ones come.  I won’t work on the mardi gras night.  I’d rather starve than… ya know… *waving of hand in air dismissively*. Why would you go?  What you gonna see?
Me: *dumbfounded silence*   
RTM: Have you been? 
Me: Yes, I’ve been many times.
RTM: *angrily* Oh, why you go?  What will you see?  Why would you go to look at that?
Me: I’ve gone to support friends marching in the parade , and to see people in amazing costumes, celebrating their individuality and relationships… and really, it’s such a huge Sydney event.  As a  Sydneysider, you’ve just got to go at least once, it’s such a spectacle.

RTM: *snorts* It’s… it’s… terrible, that’s what it is.
Me: Sorry, but I completely disagree.  I think it’s great.
RTM: Well, I can see you think different to me then.

The rest of the ride was spent in stony silence, except for the occasional grunt from the driver as he tried to accidentally nearly clip my side of the car on poles and parked cars at every possible occasion.

-This afternoon I had a mental cabbie who was tearing up and down the tiny tiny backstreets of Birchgrove, where there is only room for one car to fit down a street, but they are two lane roads.  He almost hit 3 cars within my first 5 minutes in the cab.  One of the men in the cars actually wound down his window and said "hey mate, you need to bloody slow down on these streets". He asked for directions, I said straight, so he veered sharply right around a corner without looking.  I asked him to slow down… "the speed limit is 40 kms on the Balmain peninsula, you know that don’t you? I’m not in a hurry" "yes yes miss" he said, while narrowly missing a woman and her pram and slamming his foot on the accelerator.  I wanted to get his name and make a complaint, but I was too busy clawing my fingernails into the side door in fear and I couldn’t read his license because I was being jerked back and forward by his random and sequential slamming of the brake and accelerator… the cab rattled and shook like a car that had such a hard life it was barely staying in one piece… the only reason I didn’t get out and get another cab was because then I would have had to pay, because my cabcharge would be used. Scary.

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