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.

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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.

As if…

I picked up four lads who were on a stag do in rural Norfolk. They were staying on a boat on the Broads, but wanted to go into Norwich for the last few hours of drinking. Rather than going the long way round via the main roads, I chose instead to take the back roads to our fine city.

As we travelled through the winding lanes in the pitch black countryside, one of the lads looked up, and surveyed the landscape with confusion.

“Where the @&£% are we?” he exclaimed. “I have no @&£%ing idea where we are.”

Before I could answer, he eyed me with suspicion. “You’re not taking us dogging, are you?”

Leery

I picked up a very drunk older man, who was Very Pleased Indeed that he had a female driver. He made a number of (almost) complimentary remarks about me, and made it very apparent exactly how attractive he found me. He looked like he could be the lovechild of Benny Hill and Les Dawson, and had an expressively mobile face. He asked my name. I told him, and enquired as to his own name.

“Sexy Bobby!” he leered.

I don’t think that my shout of laughter was quite the response that he expected. Bless.

What Zoologists do…

I just had a very lively carful of three young lads and a girl, talking about job opportunities and their plans for work and holidays.
The lad in the middle decided to include me in the conversation.
“Have you lived here all of your life?” he asked.
“No,” I replied. “I lived in Manchester for 8 years.”
“Manchester?!” he exclaimed. “What did you do there?”
“I studied Zoology at Manchester University,” I told him.
“You did ZOOLOGY?! Oh my God, that’s so cool.”
He turned to his friends, “She can revive ZEBRAS!!”

Casual violence

I went to pick up a customer from a local pub. A group of people were standing outside, smoking and talking, and a short way away, a woman was standing by herself, casually waiting for a taxi. She was striking, with funky pink hair, and interesting clothes. As I pressed the “ringback” button on my datahead, I glanced at her again, and suddenly realised that her face and top were covered in blood.

I ran my eyes over the group near her. A blonde woman was standing amongst them, next to the large male bouncer, and she, too, had gouges and blood on her face, head and clothing. The two women had obviously had a vicious fight, been separated, and woman with pink hair was now making her way home. The bouncer clearly had the situation under remarkable control.

The woman with the pink hair came to my window. “Are you going to …..?” she asked calmly, naming a road in the city centre.

“Sorry, but no,” I replied, truthfully, and she retreated back to the doorway before I could say anything more. My mind whirred, but then my customer appeared. I switched into taxi driver mode, and whisked him home, without mentioning what I had just noticed. Several other customers followed in quick succession, and the incident faded to the back of my mind.

Some time later in the evening, I picked up a lively, tattooed woman with gorgeous, shiny hair. “So what have you been up to tonight?” I asked.

She smiled. “I’ve been up the Brickmakers pub for a charity event,” she explained. “We’ve been filming scenes for The Norwich Zombie Project. There were loads of people made up as zombies, with fake blood and everything. It was great!”

I burst out laughing, and explained what I had seen earlier. Relief washed over me as I realised that what I had thought was the aftermath of an exceptionally brutal fight was nothing more than excellent makeup! Phew. It also explained why everyone was so unbelievably nonchalant, including the women with the hideous injuries!