Saturday, December 19, 2009

 

The Wisdom of the Taxi Driver

Last night I was DJing at the Marlborough and, failing to find a taxi by phone due to the wintry weather, slithered down the road to hail one off the street. I lugged the Technics, CD mixer, bag of records and bag of CDs into the boot while he watched and we started off with one of those conversations of niceties, y'know "How's it been tonight?", "What do you do for a living?" sort of thing.

Then I made the mistake of slagging off the council for not gritting the pavements which have turned into sheets of ice, everyone slithering about and lots of people falling over, wondering about the cost of gritting versus the cost to the NHS of all the people who'd be using their services that night.

Big mistake. This brought on a tirade against the council, how evil it is and how all the staff should take a pay cut. Forced to defend my Trades Union colleagues, the driver then admitted his politics veered toward the communist.

Me: Ah well, we remember when the Labour party at least had some socialist principles. I don't know who a socialist could vote for these days.
Taxi Driver: Mind you, if that British Party toned it down a bit, lots of people would vote for them.
Me: [silence]
TD: Was that the wrong thing to say?
Me: Well....
TD: Mind you, that Nick Clegg's an idiot.
Me: Nick Griffin?
TD: Yes, that one.
Me: Yes, he's a moron, but a dangerous one.
TD: I'm not anti-semitic though.
Me: Err, good. They just hate anyone who's not white and anglo-saxon.
TD: Don't get me wrong...
Me: [thinks: uh-oh, what now?]
TD: I do like dark-skinned women.
Me: [pauses to think for a moment] Well I quite like dark-skinned women too.
TD: [quick as a flash] I thought you might. Don't get me wrong, but I thought you were a bloke when I picked you up.
Me: [laughing] Don't worry about that!
TD: I was in the merchant navy for 20 years and if I learned one thing, it's not to be homophobic.
Me: Good for you. It doesn't matter what people do if it's not hurting anyone. It's none of your business. Live and let live.
TD: I wish people would do that. Mind you, I don't think we should disarm if everyone else has weapons.
Me: Oh, so you're a multilateralist.
TD: I don't know anything about that. I bet you went to university.
Me: Uh, a bit later in life.
TD: [doing a U-turn at the bottom of Edward Street to turn past the Marlborough] If you'd told me you were a copper I wouldn't have done that.
TD: [as I was lugging the Technics, CD mixer, records and CDs out the boot onto the icy road] I used to be a champion weightlifter you know.
Me: Uh, call it seven quid.
TD: Thanks very much. You seem like a very unprejudiced person.
Me: Well I try.
And shaking my hand, he bade me a very good night, and drove off into the icy night to flummox his next passenger.

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