I hadn’t been to see my parents since the 14th of May so after dropping my son off at his Saturday job I popped round there. My sister was also there doing a spot of spring cleaning and we commented on how this time last year we were doing the same thing whilst my mum was in Spain with my sick dad. Dad remains in good health but has yet another operation to look forward to on his eye. It’s to remove a cataract which will hopefully clear up his vision in that eye. Mum was mourning the loss of Rocío Jurado, a famous Spanish singer. I had never heard of her but mum was really taking it badly and even shed a tear.
I had meant to start early today but England were playing Jamaica in a friendly and it was on TV so I decided to cook some pasta for me and the kids and watch the game. England won 6-0, a sign of things to come perhaps?
I got out the door at 6.30pm and had to find a petrol station that didn’t have a queue. So many have closed down due to leases expiring and plans to build flats on the property that the few that remain are always busy. The BP in St. John’s Wood was empty, probably because it’s the dearest garage in the area. After paying for my fuel and returning to the cab two American couples walked up to me and asked me to take them to the Mermaid Theatre at Blackfriars. The traffic was slow most of the way. I pulled a couple of strokes to get out of it but it always met me on the other side. After about the third stoke one of the women piped up in the back. Did I know it was in Blackfriars? Yes luv I’ve been a cabbie for sixteen years. Why were we taking so many turns? To get you there quicker, haven’t you noticed the traffic? How much further? About 10 minutes. Then the classic one. We’re not tourists, we live in London. That’s a coincidence so do I. I don’t need this sort of shit but it happens from time to time and it takes a lot of effort not to be rude or lose it altogether. Inspite of all that they still gave me a nice tip and told me to have a nice day. I love Americans.
I was driving southwards on Highgate Road when a man flagged me. Did I know where the Forum was? “Yes mate it’s just there” I replied indicating the said building to him. “Well I need to go past that and towards the railway bridge” he said climbing into the cab. The railway bridge was only about 400 yards away. He was telling someone on the phone of his location. As we approached the bridge he told me to stop by a guy on a phone, I assumed it was the guy he was talking to. As we pulled up the guy on the pavement about turned and walked away. My passenger let out a sigh. I asked what was happening and he said that I should just wait there. Not a word was spoken for five minutes whilst I tried to figure out what the hell was going on. You get all sorts of strange ones in this job and as a rule I never make any comments. After the five minutes were up he handed me a fiver, the exact fare, and said that it was the strangest cab ride he’d ever had and got out heading in the same direction as the other fella. Ours is not to reason why etc etc.
I sat next to Battersea Park tonight eating my Satay Chicken and Rice and listening to Virgin Radio as I regularly do when this extremely camp old geezer walked up to the window and said “are you free?” like John Inman in Are You Being Served, the 80’s TV show. I nearly answered, “I’m free” in the same camp voice but he might have thought I was taking the piss out of him so I just said “yes mate where you going?” He said “I’d love for you to take me to the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Marble Arch” I haven’t heard it mentioned by it’s full name for ages as everyone says KFC, but anyway, off we went. He started asking me all the usual questions that passengers ask a hundred times over then basically tried to find out if I liked cock instead of pussy. Fifteen years ago I would have stopped and thrown him out but these days I humour people like that. I asked him if he thought I looked like I might like cock, he replied in the affirmative. He said he always tried it on with cabbies and sometimes got lucky. Not tonight he never. If as many women chatted me up as men do then I’d be a happy man.