04 January 2009
A guy in a taxi wanted to speak to the driver so he leaned forward and tapped him on the shoulder.
The driver screamed, jumped up in the air and yanked the wheel over. The car mounted the curb, demolished a lamppost and came to a stop millimetres from a shop window.
The startled passenger said “I didn’t mean to frighten you, just wanted to ask you something.”
Taxi driver says “Not your fault Sir. It’s my first day as a cab driver; I’ve been driving a hearse for the past 25 years”.
A cabbie classic that one. The cartoon is closer to home. Things go wrong with cabs all the time. Especially with some of the older cabs, a million kilometres on the clock and years of life left in them. Bits rattle loose, one speed bump too many, passengers tinkering with the moving parts, or just old age sneaking up on cab and cabbie alike.
And what’s a night driver to do when the workshop is closed, the defect isn’t serious, and there’s people lined up to be driven home? Naturally, the 24-hour servo is the handy-dandy patchit shop, and a roll of duct tape is just the thing to hold a wobbling wing mirror straight. Next time you load your bags into a taxi boot, check out the corners. Like as not there’ll be a couple of elastic straps, the kind with hooks on the ends, tucked away somewhere. You can hold a cab together with octo straps, and if there’s more luggage than the boot can easily contain, just pile it in and use the straps to hold the boot lid down on the trip.
Had to laugh the other day. Driving up Commonwealth Avenue towards Parliament House, and there’s a ratty old Holden Commodore parked on the median strip, a gaggle of young guys standing glumly around. The car had obviously been in a recent shunt, because the front end was slightly bent, bonnet buckled, bumper missing. But obviously drivable, because the bonnet was held on by about a kilometre of duct tape. Checking under the hood would be a major (and expensive) exercise.
My guess is that the lads had come to Canberra to attend the annual Summernats car festival, a three day event where young men spend all their money on petrol, junk food, beer and birds. They head back home on the Sunday, sunburnt a blistering red and running on the last fumes of their credit cards.
Naturally, the local police call in all their reserves for this weekend, which they spend cruising up and down looking for galahs. They haul them over by the dozens, breath-testing drivers, issuing defect notices, speeding tickets. This car held together by tape wouldn’t have lasted long.
I would have stopped to take a photograph, but I had a passenger beside me, and so the opportunity was mist.
My cab’s safe for the weekend. The owner called in my day driver last week, giving us three new tyres and replacing some burnt-out lights. We’re street-legal again.
The cartoon and joke above courtesy of the Irish Taxi website, though I suspect that the cartoon was borrowed from somewhere else. Africa, Ireland, Australia, cabs and cabbies are pretty much the same the world over.