Wackies & Loonies
Monday November 23rd 2009, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I suppose one of the things that keeps this job so alive
Is the unpredictability
Some drivers can’t cope with too much of it
So they sign themselves up for regular runs
Whereas I can’t cope with the groundhog effect
So I sign up for nothing
This morning started fairly well
Until I was called to a school job as I was dropping on the outskirts
I had done this one before
Wacky dad…normal son
Who goes to a wacky school
On my last visit here
The dad came out first and wrote down my number plate
Before disappearing inside
When I asked the son what he was doing
He replied…”Oh he’s a nutcase”
I knocked on the door…and nutcase answered
He turned side on and looked at me over his shoulder
“You don’t collect my son until half past…ever”
I sighed and looked at my watch
It said 8.27
I looked back at nutcase and paused for a moment
Then I turned and left
I could go and sit in my cab for 3 minutes
But I wouldn’t do that on principal
I started the cab and got out of Dodge
Knowing that I was the only cab anywhere near Dodge
And that the kid would be most late for school

That had spannered the flow of the morning
Then fortunately the data unit beeped into life and sent me a job
But unfortunately… it was from a banned address
I knew…because I had banned it myself
And I had posted the new ban
Because the man was already banned by all the cab companies
But he just keeps coming in under the radar somehow
Maybe he is proving that banning someone isn’t possible
I looked at the screen for a moment
Considering sending it back
Considering being well behind by 10 o clock
And then accepting that my morning was going wonky anyway
So I drove to the address
It was a good job that I did
Loony tunes came out in his dressing gown
Asking me to wait for a minute
Then one of his son’s got in
A few minutes later followed by the other son
There was a sombre atmosphere in the back
LT stood at the door
“Maybe you should wait until they’ve brought the body out”
There was silence…then he closed the door
Somebody had suddenly died
I was guessing that it was a friend of the younger son
It occured to me that if I had sent the job back
He would have probably turned up at our office on a rampage
The address was next to the main central park
A police car and ambulance were already in attendance
My curiosity burned
Enough to buy a paper later on
Enough to watch the local news
But nothing was forthcoming

I returned to my rank
And was the only cab there
The hobos were out in force
A good dozen of them
Golden cans of Special Brew
Black cans of Tennants Super
A gradual increase of heroin and drink injuries
Of bloated…rotted limbs
They sealed off the area between the rank shelter and the park bench
No public will pass this way
Prefering to walk around the rank shelter
I have decided that I no longer find them amusing
No…I want them gone
I discussed it with another driver
But he said that neither the cops or the council would do anything
I sat pondering
Hatching a plan
Maybe the key would be not to move the hobos
But move the bench
A white van…hi viz jackets…tools
Nobody would stop us or remember us

After a few jobs dallying around
I got called to a cafe on Hove seafront
The other cabbies affectionately refer to it as “Peg Leg’s”
It’s actually the new cafe of Heather Mills
In a city bombarded with cafes
It’s nothing special
My job was to collect a parcel of food and drink
And deliver it to the mental hospital
When I arrived I noticed that it was a ward that I had never been on
I took a right..walked down the corridor…and pressed the intercom
I was told there was no access through this door
And given further instructions
So I followed them to another ward
A woman greeted me
She told me the food was for someone on the top security wing
And directed me to “The Airlock”
I had to pass a series of observation rooms
Which all appeared to be empty
And then waited for the woman to turn up
The airlock was two big doors a metre apart
She opened the first one and ushered me in to the space
Then closed it and opened the second one
A guy appeared very quickly
Unshaven…big staring eyes
Constantly moving like a low frequency vibration
He smiled at me and passed me a tenner
Asking me where I was from
He quickly fired off two jokes about Hull
I can’t remember what they were exactly
Because I was curious about his accurate Hull accent
Throughout…the woman kept exactly between us
Until we backed out and closed the airlock

One thing learned in the process of constant driving
Is wariness of certain drivers
As I am in the midst of the hum de dum of my journey
A car up ahead seemed to brake for no reason
It woke me up
I acknowledeged an unpredictable driver up ahead
He was tootling along
Varying his speed between 30 and 20mph
Quite randomly
We approached a mini roundabout
He took the turn right only lane
I took the straight ahead lane and accelerated to get him out of the way
My mistake…never assume anything with these people
He carried on ahead just like me
The gap ahead was for one vehicle with gutter space either side
We jammed into it exactly side by side
So close I could have leaned out of the window
And jiggled the ladies earings
Both of them were oblivious to my prescense
At the next roundabout I stared into their window
Still no reaction
It was a pair of pensioners
They were driving in a world
Where everybody else had disappeared
Miles and miles of empty roads and ghost towns
One could almost look forward to being in such a carefree world

In a carefree manner myself
I decided to repair to the tavern after work
A pub meal and a spot of european football
As I stood at the bar ordering my fare
I noticed a group of guys who had gathered to watch the game
Seated in the lower level of the pub
They would no doubt be described as a collection of nerds
Beards…specs…dress code…
But I took great comfort at the site of them
I have fond memories hanging with the nerds back in Hull
It was always friendly…rich in conversation…interesting
And always…a good helping of indulgence

Dozing & Damage
Monday November 09th 2009, 3:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Recently I have got into the habit of nodding off at the rank
It’s a bit of a tasty pleasure
Like falling into a wonderful hole
Safe in the confines of my vehicle
However…I have walked past cabbies asleep in their vehicles
And I would rather not appear to be doing this
So I pull down my sunglasses…remain sitting upright…and fall
But the punter gets in the cab
And says…”Sorry to wake you driver”
How annoying
I thought maybe this was because I hadn’t noticed them approaching
So I started dropping off with my head facing away from the kerb
And still they would apologise for waking me
Today to counter the problem
I stretched out an old broadsheet across the steering wheel
Lowered my sunglasses and slipped into bliss
So I am just another cabbie deeply engrossed in his newspaper
Secretly slumbering
The sliding door opened and a man got in
He apologised for waking me
I may as well stretch out across the seats and don a Dickensian night cap

On the way to the station
Another patch of guerrilla roadworks had risen
But this one had cause for celebration
On the roads off to the sides
Big men with big rollers
Were resurfacing shit surfaces
I had not seen these men with their machines
This far inside the city for a long time
I was traveling down one of the worst roads in town
Upper Gloucester Road
A road that causes my camionetta
To rock and roll
It was this road that prompted me to think of looking for a ‘racing line’
The ‘racing line’ on UGR is simple
I ride with two wheels in the gutter
It reduces the disturbance by half
On many of the other shit roads
I am still searching
And searching for the ‘racing line’
Is a tricky business
Another layer of distraction
Amongst the business of concentration
I have a deep yearning to meet the top dog responsible for these roads
To make me understand
How all this works
Two days later the big men and big machines would disappear
All the roads off Upper Gloucester would be black and smooth
But Upper Gloucester was to remain a mountain dirt track

I was called to collect a group of nurses
The instruction stated they were waiting at the entrance of the Sea life Centre
Here comes the air taxi
A roaring sound from above the Sea life Centre
The wind from the hovering taxi engines blows the hair of the nurses
The speakers send out the warning that passengers are boarding
Ramps lower and the nurses climb the steps into the big flying cab
The cab tilts it’s wings the ramp clamps…lights flashing
And hits boost for NHS headquarters
Yep…would have been good
And the only way they could have been collected
Considering they were standing behind a long uninterrupted railing
On the edge of a main roundabout
I drove past shaking my head
And parked some hundred yards up the seafront
Got out and took a little walk to go and round them up

On the way to NHS admin HQ
A chap on radio 4 was discussing ambulance sirens
It seemed to get the interest of the nurses… so I truned it up a little
The main point was people not hearing the siren
Due maybe to loud music going on in the car
So they had come up with the idea of a powerful subwoofer
That causes vibrations through vehicles in the viscinity of the ambulance
My eyebrows raised and a puff of doubtful air left my mouth
How is some kid listening to heavy dubstep going to define this alien sound?
Will the NHS woofer out-woof the kids woofer?
Is this just going to add to the general confusion and sometimes panic?
As the drivers freeze trying to work out where it’s coming from
No…this is not money well spent
The only solution that I could think of in the discussion that followed
Was to make use of digital information boards
To inform traffic that an emergency vehicle was coming
Emergency staff could then fine tune the system by putting up more digital screens in problem areas
Spencer solves another national problem

Last job of the day from sainsburys
An old (late 60’s) west country woman and her shopping and her dog
I’ve picked her up a few times
Lord struth almighty…look at that short skirt she is wearing
I looked away as she climbed in
She chatted in her cornish drawl constantly
But I couldn’t hear her from the back of the cab
Until we arrived at the house
It’s not easy conversing with someone you can’t hear
I opened the side door
The dog jumped out
And I started removing the shopping onto the street
In the process of turning to and fro
I was caught out
As I turned round to collect some more bags
She had bent over right in front of me…just a few feet away
Oh no…skirt at full elevatation
White lacy underwear on a confusing skinscape
With a big round shit stain in the middle
Oh dear me
As Neil Young would have said
It’s The Knickers and the Damage Done