Monday, 5 March 2012

$30 worth of wisdom

The taxi driver's phone was ringing when I got into the back seat.  At least I think it was ringing.  It played what sounded like the soundtrack to a cartoon.  It played for about a minute.  He made no move to answer it.  For this I was grateful.  Blaring out of the speakers behind me was 1950's music, all sung tales of love gone wrong. 

The taxi driver was chatty, but muffled.  He was competing with lost love, shoo-bop-du-wop and had a big Tom Selleck moustache dampening all sound coming from his mouth.

It was 37 degrees Celsius when I arrived in Perth.  It was a nice change from the freezing conditions I'd just endured on Qantas flight 777 from Melbourne. I shared the story with the driver when he enquired about my flight.

"I asked the attendant for a blanket.  You know what he said?"

"No.  What did he say?"

"There are no blankets.  And then his offsider chimed in with the statement, 'we're all hot!'"

The driver wisely replied, "Well, they're probably hot because they're running around fetching blankets for everyone!  You'd think they'd work out what's going on if they've run out of blankets!  People are cold!  Turn up the heat!  That's all they need to do!  Then the stewards can stop running around with blankets and they wouldn't be too hot!  Everyone's happy!"

"You're right, " I said.

"Which airline?"


"Perhaps it's part of their new advertising campaign."  He paused dramatically.  "Fly Qantas.  We're cool."

"Yeah, or 'Fly Qantas.  The fridge in the sky.'"

He thought that was so funny he slapped the steering wheel.

A female singer's sorrowful voice dramatically declared, "You don't love me anymore - I'll step down."

I laughed.  What was she, chariman of the board?  Prime Minister?

"That's dramatic," I said.

"It's what happens now.  With all the horses, " he replied.

What do horses have to do with it?  Maybe it was some obscure reference to the name of the group doing the backing vocals. 

"What do you mean?"

"One in three marriages end with the horses.  You could say they step down."

Was he talking about dressage?  The horses are stepping now?

"Sorry?  Horses?"

"Divorces...divorces.  You know..."

"Oh, divorces.  I thought you said 'the horses'...never mind."

I felt like I was in a scene with Peter Sellers.  They should tell them the moustache is hazardous to conversational comprehension. 

He went on:  "85 per cent of men play up, you know."

"And the other 15 per cent are lying?" I quipped.

"Well you can't be loving one woman when you're in love with another one.  She needs to step down."

"Or the man could step up."

He fell silent. 

Then: "You are a very smart woman."

Is this how he picks up women?  I wondered.

He then explained his opposition to daylight saving and his theory that it's a conspiracy of fast food chains because it's too hot to cook.

"Daylight saving doesn't change the temperature, " I pointed out.

He shook his head.  Clearly I wasn't that smart anymore.

We arrived at my hotel just in time to spare him from further disappointment about my dwindling intellect.

"Enjoy your stay while you're here," he said as he handed me my bag from the boot of the car.

When else would I enjoy it? While I'm somewhere else?

All that wisdom and entertainment for just under $30 too.

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