And so, after weeks of apathy, lethargy or call it what you will, I finally came to a decision to do an “Oasis”.
It’s another one of those words that only me and a select few of my cabby mates use as part of our own language. Only we know that “doing an Arnie” means to return back into the work zone instead of going home after having completed a job that takes you some of the way towards home. The “Arnie” bit referring to Schwarzenegger’s catchphrase “I’ll be back”. So, only we know that an “Oasis” means that after weeks and months of failed attempts at getting one’s life into some sort of order an “Oasis” has to be initiated. Oasis being a British rock band with a single called “The Masterplan”. Get it? It generally applies to me as most of my mates are “caked up” and have fairly smooth running lives. Invariably my masterplans always peter out after a week or two but it never hurts to start another one when the need arises.
So I awoke this Tuesday morning, took my daughter to school, did a few jobs and ended up in North London a few hundred yards from my garage and decided they’d waited long enough for the cab rent. The owner and the manager were both in the make-shift office and, as usual, greeted me as if nothing was wrong. Maybe they genuinely don’t mind their drivers paying them one and two months late, I don’t know, but they’d never let on they were bothered. As I handed over the wad of notes to Jim he said “Fuck me, how many weeks do you owe?” As if he didn’t know. I made an arrangement with him that if it got to the second week and he hadn’t heard from me he could ring me up and call me a few names, that should be a big help towards stop me falling behind in the future.
So with the cab rent up to date I told them of the faults that had been accumulating over the last few weeks and they got to work on the cab immediately. The overheating problem, according to them, was due to a faulty water pump which was duly replaced. For good measure they also changed the thermostat and several hoses and when I was working the cab this evening it was great to see the needle on the temperature gauge on the dashboard reading normal.
Next they finally fixed my broken speedometer. I’d had a new cable fitted a few months back but apparently it was the wrong cable and kept slipping out of the back of the clock. Now the needle moves up and down smoothly and reflects the true speeds the cab does.
As the mechanic brought the cab to the garage entrance for me to leave he yanked up the handbrake and the cable snapped. No spare cable was available in the stores so I had to wait for one to be delivered from Mann & Overton which took over an hour.
I’d arrived at the garage at 9.30am and finally left at 3pm. The early start had already ruined my day so I decided to head straight for home via the supermarket and bed.
When I got home my son wanted me to teach him how to cook a roast dinner as he has now decided he wants to become a chef. Bleary eyed and dog tired I instructed him on the basics and left him to it. After a few hours of instruction and napping in the armchair my son announced that dinner was ready and we sat down to eat a very tasty roast chicken with roast potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, Yorkshire pudding (we have them with all roast meats) and gravy. I went straight to my bed after eating all that and never surfaced till 11pm.
Feeling that it would be a waste of an evening if I did nothing, I went out to work for a few hours. I managed seven jobs in all and managed to meter just over £100, which wasn’t too bad. The best job was from Victoria Station over to Docklands for £27.80. On the way back from there I stopped at the Texaco in The Highway to put some juice in and saw a bucket and sponge next to the pump. The back of the cab was rotten so I grabbed the sponge and started washing the boot lid. There must have been too much detergent in the water as it all foamed up and the more I wiped it the more foam was created. In the end I had to drive the cab over to the tap and hose it all down. I never had a leather to dry it so now that the wind has dried it it looks ten times worse, I’ll have to do a proper job tomorrow.
I also informed my garage that I had missed the tariff increase and they informed me that I could have gotten it done at any time by simply driving round to the meter company in Brewery Road, Islington. I’ll be going there first thing in the morning.
Check back soon.