Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Conversing with a Taxi Driver

'Shit' I thought, 'I'm late - better ring a taxi'.

A beautiful day for walking, but I had to finish putting together some ideas before my meeting this afternoon.

I lie and paint too nice a picture of myself - lets face it, I had left things to the last minute and hadn't done anything until this morning, and I couldn't face the thought of sitting through a meeting like a kid who hasn't done their homework.

Getting a taxi in Dublin can be russian roulette, without the bullets, but with awkward and often downright weird conversations. Once, a few years ago, I was late to collect my little brother from school, so I got a taxi, with an utter freak.

Me: 'Not too busy this afternoon?'
MadEye: 'Fair to middling. Do you know anyone who will kill someone, you know, like for money'.

Me: 'Sorry, what? You mean, a contract killer, is it? No, I don't' (laughs nervously) Weather isn't too bad'
MadEye: 'Oh, it's easy enough to come by one in Dublin, you know'

Me: 'Really? I haven't em, had the call to try, it just hasn't really come up, you know'
MadEye: 'Sometimes though, it can be an easy solution'

Me: 'Well, I would prefer just to try to talk things out, or maybe ignore someone if they're really annoying me'.
MadEye: 'That doesn't always work. It's not so expensive like'

Me: 'Oh, well, I don't know, I would have thought it would be, but, I have never needed one so what would I know'
MadEye: 'I reckon I could get it for as little as a hundred you know, if I, or anyone I knew needed one'

Me: 'Ha ha...'
MadEye: 'I could you know'

Me: 'Aw well that will never happen, sure that would be terrible, aw no, lets hope that never happens'
MadEye: 'But if it did, you know, and if you, you know'

Me: 'Aw, here we are - this is perfect, you can drop me here. Perfect, thanks a lot, take it easy'
MadEye: (slows car down) 'No problem-o. There you go then, sure and if you ever need...'

Me: 'Thanks again, ha ha, thanks for that, take it easy, goodbye, see you now'

I left in a state of palpable panic.

Now, I know he was probably only 'Buzzing off me head' as some people from hereparts may put it, or having a joke at my expense as others might, but at the time, it was funny (strange) the way I reacted - initial thoughts were along the lines of

'did I mention anything about me, my brother, anyone I know, did I say anything about being annoyed I was running late, is he a hit-man, is this candid camera, should I have taken his disk-plate, has someone put a contract out on me, do I look like a really angry person out for revenge, what was he talking about, did that really happen, who am I, what's happening?'

Aw Dublin, my beautiful city. Anyway the reason I mentioned this was just to totally counter it with my wonderful taxi journey today. We had a great chat about:

a. That lady who won the €115m (is that right? what's a million here, or a million there I guess) - our lives as millionaires, how great it would be, how it might suck a little that all our friends would leave us and that we may have to pay out protection money (this was news to me), although, we would be great charitable types and I would found an Aoife Library (much in the fashion of the Chester Beatty Library).

(please note we had to drive past the National Lottery building, where the hoards of journalists there since yesterday were basking in the sun on deck-chairs - I kid you not - awaiting the lady's arrival)

I also learnt the following lottery related rumours:

1. The lady apparently asked the Gardaí to keep her winning ticket, but they wouldn't, so she had to give it to a bank manager to mind.
2. There is a lady pensioner living in a Corpo flat in Dublin who has €83 million in her bank account. Reliable sources inform me that she won around €3m in the Irish lottery, then fulfilled her life-long dream of visiting her sister in England where she coincidentally won wads on the UK lottery.

b. We chatted about travelling, he told me about his adventures abroad, and again I thought outloud about how I should really travel rather than just talk about it all the time... We talked about how boring it is the way much conversation in Dublin revolves around houses, wages, cars and all that blah. We talked about how silly it is to spend your life working so you have a little house in the leafy 'burbs, when there are adventures to be had, and how it isn't always good to be a slave to a mortgage, just because your mates are into postal codes.

Yes, the problems of the world were lightened and twenty minutes later, dispatched ten minutes early to my meeting I was relaxed and happy.

When a taxi journey is good, and you have a nice friendly interesting driver, it can be better than counselling or taking the bus. (Although as I may have alluded to earlier, when it is bad it is horrid, so beware!).

I think you might have been caught on candid camera.;)
Only I have had crazy conversations with taxi drivers too I would have believed that you were caught on candid camera too.
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