Sunday, 15 March 2020

Conversations with taxi drivers: Fifteen

This is the fifteenth in a series of posts relaying conversations I have had with taxi drivers. The first of these posts appeared on 6 June 2018. 

3 February

I had to go to the hospital due to a panic attack during which my heart accelerated and ran, at times, erratically. The crisis resolved itself without any intervention before the ambulance arrived, but they took me to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital anyway. I stayed there for several hours while the staff did some tests, and a bit after 1am a doctor discharged me. I walked out into the night, on the way exchanging some friendly words with a very large man sitting on a seat in the hospital’s waiting room.

Outside, I headed to the taxi rank and saw a cab waiting there with its light on. Just then, another cab came down Missenden Road with its light shining, declaring that it was vacant and looking for a fare. It didn’t stop for me, however, and when I got to the rank the cab waiting there no longer had its roof light on; the driver had evidently seen me being avoided by the taxi coming down the street and had decided he didn’t want to transport me home. I told him I had to get there and he gave me some story about waiting for a fare who had already booked him.

So I gave up with him and walked up toward King Street and saw a woman coming out the Marlborough Hotel’s rear entrance. She met up with a man on the pavement out the front of the establishment who was talking with the driver of a cab parked at the kerb. I walked onto the carriageway and hailed a cab, but then the man who had been talking to the other cab driver, and who was drunk, called to me and told me that the cab at the kerb was empty.

When I got in I asked the driver what the problem had been and he said the young man had no money. I told the driver where I wanted to go and we set off, heading north. I told him about the cab on Missenden Road and he said nothing. He looked Indian-born and I asked him if his car was a hybrid. He pressed a button on a dashboard display to show the drive system working and I said I was buying a hybrid RAV4. He said that he liked the look of the new RAV4 and I said that the 2019 model was the first with the new design, which has a large, open front grille.

As we got near my place, driving along Bank Street, he headed into the opposite lane. No cars were coming our way so there was no danger but I thought it was strange for him to make this manoeuvre. In my street I paid using EFTPOS and walked to the side entrance to the building and used my fob tag to gain entry, then went upstairs in the lift to my home.

No comments: