2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Deer students

On a night when I was feeling rough, full of the symptoms of the onset of a horrible cold, I got a job to pick up some students, to take them to the LCR. I wasn’t exactly feeling party-tastic, but I decided to make the effort and put on Chase and Status to help keep them feeling lively on their way to their Student Union.

The four girls were (predictably) garbed in fancy dress costumes, and kept me waiting nearly 10 minutes, which, when you’re a taxi driver, is exasperating at the best of times. Finally, we set off.

As I approached a side road, I spotted a mother Muntjac deer with her young, hesitating in the road. I stopped to make sure they didn’t panic and run into the road, and the girls in my car squealed in astonishment.

“Look, a deer!” one exclaimed.
“I’ve never seen one before!” said another.
“Are you sure it’s not a fox?” asked the third girl.

Stoic at the best of times in the face of unbelievable student f***wittery, as an Honours Zoology graduate I was simply unable to contain my feelings.

“Oh, dear GOD!” I exclaimed, and smote my forehead with my palm, in despair.

They didn’t notice, all too busy caught up in their own little drama of having annoyed their poor neighbours with their noisy pre-drinks.

We got to UEA. The fare was more than they had anticipated, with the charge for waiting time. Hah. The girl in the front paid the £6.50 fare with a ten pound note, and then insisted that the three girls in the back gave her £2 each.

“But that comes to £8,” protested one of the others, working out the total sum if each passenger contributed the same amount.

“No,” said the girl in the front, who was evidently far from popular with the other girls. “Because two times three is 6.”

Despair reigned.

Christmas Evil

Recent customers were a young couple, who were talking about suitable Christmas films for their four year old boy.

“The Snowman” was my suggestion.

“Ooh, no!” said the man. “No way. It scared me when I was little.”

“It scared you?!” I exclaimed, incredulously.

“Yes,” he replied. “That bit when they are flying through the air, and that creepy song is playing.”

“What, that creepy song sung by the young choir boy, Aled Jones?” I enquired.

“That’s the one,” said the man. “And don’t be fooled by his age. Evil comes in all shapes and sizes. Whoever sang that was the spawn of Satan.”

There you have it. What I thought was a beautiful story full of Christmas magic actually features a song by the son of Satan. Who knew?!

Gallantry

I just picked up an elderly couple who had enjoyed a few sherries at a friend’s house. We talked about Christmas, and also the holidays abroad that they had enjoyed through the year.

As we arrived at their home, the man bade me a “Merry Christmas” and got out of the car, while the lady paid. He appeared at her car door, and gallantly opened it for her.

“Oooh,” she exclaimed. “He never does that! He must be after something.”

The old man grimaced. “Well if I am, it’s not what you think. I’ve got a headache!”

He winked at me, she beamed, and they walked off together happily, leaving me smiling in my car.

Essex

I picked up three students: two female friends returning home together from a night out, and one of those random drunk lads that hangs around kebab shops after the clubs shut, to try and cadge a free lift home with fellow students.

He was trying hard to impress the girls. The girls were obviously underwhelmed by him and his transparent antics. After a few failed attempts, he gave up trying to persuade the girls to let him accompany them to their flat, and asked to be dropped off en route.

During the journey, the cabcrasher and one of the girls discovered that they were both from Essex. She was from Braintree. He announced that he was from Colchester.

The other girl remarked, “I got a train that went through Colchester once. So many freaks got off in Colchester, it was unreal.”

As I smiled to myself, they began to debate which place was the biggest sh*thole: Braintree or Colchester.

The girl from Braintree declared emphatically, “Colchester is the biggest sh*thole. By far. Everybody in Colchester has been stabbed. Everybody.”

The lad in the back protested, “I’m from Colchester, and I’ve never been stabbed.”

Undeterred, Miss Braintree continued: “Yes, you HAVE been stabbed. You’re just too stupid to have noticed.”

A short while later, Mr Colchester got out of the taxi, without offering to contribute anything towards the fare. The girls were surprised and indignant. I was not.

Definite

I picked up four students tonight, three from England, and a third year exchange student from America. Perfect customers, they were friendly, interesting and chatty. Our conversation flowed, and it was lovely, engaging journey. They were all complimentary, each thanking me as they left. The American girl was last.

“You,” she declared, “are the @&£!ing sh*t. You’re in the Top 10 taxi drivers of all time.”

I was grateful for the inclusion of the definite article in her first statement.

Kerb crawling

I needed to pull over in my taxi, so I indicated left, and began to slow down. I noticed two angry street prostitutes having a territorial dispute at my chosen stopping point, so I cancelled my intended manoeuvre and drove around the corner instead. I pulled over and switched off the ignition.

Utterly absorbed in my phone, I suddenly became aware of someone walking away from my car. It was the taller prostitute, who had mistaken my aborted manoeuvre for an attempt at kerb-crawling. As she drew level with my window, she noticed that I was female, and simply turned on her heel, to return to ply her trade on the road.

I do feel sad for these girls. They were tiny babies once, full of life, innocence and potential. Being a street prostitute is not a job that anyone grows up wanting to do.

At some point in their lives, something happened to these girls, and a subsequent chain of events led them to try to sell themselves to passing strangers. As one of my own customers once remarked, “Someone put them there.”

It’s a very dangerous situation to be in, and I really do feel for those women whose lives have been so corrupted that they take to the streets.