2010: The Year in…. Cabs

I think cab drivers are a microcosm of the larger society and that if a sufficiently large sample is analysed, one can gain critical insights into the mind of a city. This has to be the year where I used cabs the most. Tight deadlines at work, atrocious weather conditions, moving houses and a few late night jaunts around town conspired to leave me needing cabs at various times this year. The downside was largely financial – I ended up racking up significant costs on renting cabs over the year. On the plus side, I think I gained a window into the mindset of this city.

The experiences were largely good. In general, the cabbies provided a lot of friendly banter on a variety of topics – the shambolic performance of the Scottish National football team, Wayne Rooney’s theatrics in the bid to snatch an enhanced pay package, the delights of summer in the shape of scantily clad women, and pregnant Nigerian women and their inclination to take cabs even over short distances and the like. There was the occasional complaining cabbie who had stories to tell of how the city’s taxi regulators milked him of the genuine profits he made; or more regularly the one who bitched about the weather.

There were the touching stories too – the bloke whose niece was dying of cancer and had been sent home to die in peace, the one whose children had ganged up to wring a couple of hundred pounds worth of Christmas gifts from his grasp and the one who knew someone who had fallen victim to a Nigerian scam artist.

I had the pleasure of meeting a few thinking cabbies too. There was the one whose immersion in Ian McEwan’s ‘Solar’ I was loathe to disrupt, the one who wistfully harked back to memories of night life in Port Harcourt sandwiched between two buxom lasses, and of course, the ex-professional footballer (his claim, I didn’t verify anything).

Inevitably, three questions never failed to come up… “Where are you from originally?”, ” How long have you been in this city?”  and “Where do you work?”

12 comments

  1. Nefertiti · December 17, 2010

    I loved where the other blog was going. I was caught up in the rapture of the words on the page. Damn, I've missed blogville.

    Don't stop, Don't stop! 🙂

    Like

  2. theOOhj · December 17, 2010

    Haha.. Sisterly… I hail o.. We have missed you too.. gaaan.

    Like

  3. Zena · December 17, 2010

    lol, aren't those always the questions?

    Thinking about it, I've had my share of experiences with Cabbies. The most recent an Indian man telling me I'd make a fine bride for his son, until he asked me where my family was from…."African?" he asked, "We can skip that part" ask me how old his son is…. 45…..I understood the "skip that part"

    Like

    • theOOhj · December 17, 2010

      Haha… Epa is looking out for his son o…

      Like

  4. Jennifer Abayowa (Ja · December 17, 2010

    "Where are you from originally?" always comes up everywhere I go, cabs or not.

    PS: If you ever write even as little as a short story some day, I'll buy it. I love your posts. 🙂

    Like

    • theOOhj · December 18, 2010

      Haha.. I guess cabbies talk to lessen the boredom… As for writing, that coming from you is a huge compliment.. Thanks!

      Like

  5. Rayo/Brilliantly Me! · December 18, 2010

    Funny…those very questions are popular here too.

    From my experience, female or very old (or both) cab drivers provide the most insightful and memorable cab-ride conversations.

    Like

    • theOOhj · December 18, 2010

      I had a couple of very old cabbies too.. Both had been cab drivers for greater than 30 years and our conversation focused on how the city had evolved. One stopped briefly to point out a tool shop that had operated continuously for 45 years..

      Thinking about it more, I remember at least two female cabbies. One chatted about the city's plans to reduce garbage collection to once a week, the other was heading out to meet her daughter in Australia..

      Like

  6. Ms.O · December 19, 2010

    heheh Just like me, I spent a considerably large amount of money on cabs this year. Took one every Sunday to and from church. and at least twice during the week. SMH…Next year I am doing better

    Like

    • theOOhj · December 20, 2010

      Same here… #NextYear.. 🙂

      Like

  7. Tomi · December 21, 2010

    I think cabbies have the most interesting jobs in the world! They get to meet all sorts of people:) All sorts! Their stories would make a good novel!

    Like

    • theOOhj · December 24, 2010

      My sentiments exactly….

      Like

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