Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Where to look when your driver answers a call of nature.

My regular cab driver sent a back up to pick me up on Monday morning.  I was heading interstate for work again and needed to meet a colleague for breakfast at 7am before our 8am flight.  With the end of daylight savings, I had been awake long before my 5:45am alarm, so I was waiting out the front when the cab pulled up on time at 6:30am.

Traffic was flowing pretty easily until we were about 15 minutes from the airport and then we slowed to a crawl.  I would be about 15 minutes late for the meeting with my colleague but as I had no checked baggage I was relaxed about the flight.

As we neared the airport my driver asked me whether I wanted to be dropped off upstairs at the departures terminal or downstairs at arrivals.  When I saw the carpark going up the ramp to the departures hall, knowing I would have to travel all the way to the end of the road, I was pleased I had opted to go downstairs.

About three minutes from drop off something unusual happened.  The driver turned to me in the back seat and said he just needed to pull over for one minute.  I heard something beeping in the car and thought perhaps he needed to switch the car's fuel sources or something.  Given I was so close to my destination my face must have conveyed a quizzical feeling.  "Is that okay?" he asked me.

"Is everything all right?" I asked.

"I just need to pull over for one minute. Is that okay?"

"What's the problem? Can it wait until after you've dropped me off?"  We were in heavy traffic on a freeway and I wasn't clear about how or where pulling over would be achieved.

"Just one minute.  Okay?"

I decided to be more direct.  "What's the problem?"


"I am busting for a wee. Is that okay?"

How to answer that question.

"Okay with you?" he prompted.

"Mate, I don't think I have much say in it and I don't think my approval is the main consideration."

"Is that okay?"

"Off you go."  Why was I suddenly in the role of primary school teacher?

I averted my eyes.  (It's not clear to me what the etiquette is in this situation, but instincts told me not to look anywhere.)  I stared at the dashboard and noticed that the metre was still running.  Getting paid to take a whizz is a pretty good lurk, especially in this situation.

As he got back in the car, he averted his eyes, but was in a chatty mood.

"Sorry about that.  I hope it's okay with you.  The traffic is very heavy and has taken a lot longer and I just couldn't hang on any longer."

I don't want to talk about it now!  Stop!

Two minutes later I was  greeting my colleague.  It must have been bad that he couldn't hang on for a couple more minutes.  I really don't want to bond with my taxi driver in that way.  Especially first thing on Monday morning.  I suppose it could have been worse.  He could have had a bottle and just gone where he sat.  Where does one look then? How do you listen to something else...? Perhaps I should write a modern etiquette book.

What's the most unusual or annoying thing you've encountered in a taxi?

1 comment:

  1. My cabbie got pulled over for speeding. He got out to talk to the cops and one officer came over to me to apologise for the inconvenience. Didn't worry me as I was on my way home and the cabby had been speeding. The cabbie then complained about the cops and how he didn't have many points left.
    I didn't feel the urge to point out the blindingly obvious that he was breaking the law as I just wanted to go home!!