If you’ve worked long hours in a corporate job, I have some odd news. In total, you’ve probably spent weeks of your life in a taxi. We’ve spent about two each and over that time, something has become abundantly clear: cabbies are the most fascinating species on wheels.
We happen to really love the variety of characters, authentic outlooks on life and plain weirdness cab rides can offer. (If you do too, you should check out Taxi Driver Wisdom). Here’s six types we’ve encountered in our happy jaunts through the Cabbiesphere.
1. Philosopher Phil
Cried in the office toilet? Dumped by the love of your life? Stepped in a really big puddle? No worries. Philosopher Phil doesn’t operate a taxi – it’s a mobile healing booth. He loves nothing more than to drive around, whistling at how jolly his own life is while sorting out yours at no extra cost. Whatever the challenge, Phil is here to illuminate you.
Problem is, his answer to everything is the same couple of seize the moment and look on the bright side mantras he applied to the last passenger. These are normally contradictory because, well, essentially Phil is a Yes Man – really chuffed with his own lot and just wanting you to feel the same.
So he’s annoying.
But damn. Just as you’re about to shut down, he throws up some genuinely useful home truth.
Could Phil be smarter than you?
Likes: life, a ham and cheese sandwich neatly cut into two triangles, rendering his verdicts.
Dislikes: situational complexity.
2. Ranting Rodney
If Ranting Rodney can help smash The System (politicians, the rich, roadworks, foreigners), you better believe he’s in. In Rodney’s worldview, there are dark forces at play. They’re everywhere. We’re all being conned by conspiracies and misinformation and good old Rod is the only man with the common sense to have cracked it. And he’s here to put it all right.
The biggest con of all, he says, is multiculturalism. Once he gets onto this topic (and he invariably will), The Rage sets in. Being honest, he assures you, it’s all about us and them. He’s not a racialist, he hastens to add. It’s just that life was better when his French and German ancestors Real English People hung out with Real English People, y’know?
Rodney is like an angry whitehead. And has an angry white head.
Likes: how much smarter he is than everyone, migrant ships made of colanders, chicken tikka.
Dislikes: the local council, the Rothschilds, how much it’s changed around here.
I actually recorded a conversation with Ranting Rodney once. Play the audio that heads this post. Ten topics in four minutes. If you can figure out what he was on about, please email us immediately.
3. Hardworking Habab
Habab has the immigrant spirit that allows economies made up of lazy slobs, imaginary financial products, yoga enthusiasts and old people to somehow keep thriving.
Also, he’s better than you. Because Habab works harder than you ever will. He’s pulling 15 hour days to make something of himself in this new country where, most of the time, he’s freezing his ass off. He wants to guarantee his family a better future and he’ll be damned if he’s anything less than a reliable provider.
Oh, and if you dig a little, it turns out Habab was a total don in his home country. Before he resigned himself to delivering idiots to their destinations over here, he was using his engineering degree to design massive bridges and stuff. Or practicing law. Before the courthouse burned down.
Habab makes you feel ungrateful. And inadequate. Also kinda happy you’re not Habab.
Likes: hard graft, not complaining, his wife’s cooking, her understanding of gender roles.
Dislikes: some other category of immigrant, Friday-night trash, the quest to find yourself.
4. Pervy Pete
The eternal tire puncture in the feminist tank (our metaphorical tanks have tires), Pervy Pete is a proper lad who views himself as a roaming Romeo. You caught his eye the minute you hailed him, which is why he squashed the cyclist as he pulled over. You haven’t had time to sit down and cross your legs, Pete is already charming you with that genteel air and fine wit of his.
Keep count: he’ll call you darlin’ three times, before alluding to your fella with trademark subtlety, in an attempt to ascertain whether you have one. Either way, he’s got a real chance here. He knows you’re gonna fall for his game.
Except, no. You figured him out four seconds into the journey. You just wish he’d readjust that rearview mirror upwards.
Pete REALLY needs to keep his eyes on the road.
Likes: your legs, payment in kind, when you drop something.
Dislikes: how uptight you are love.
5. Mind-numbing Monty
For Monty, your life should be about true passion. His true passion. Your entire journey will consist of him skewing the conversation towards his topic of expertise. There’s this one thing (parking fines, Elvis, the cost of the Olympics) he knows everything about and he’s gonna tell you exactly that: everything about it. Your contribution is optional and, in any case, irrelevant.
Monty could suck air from a popped balloon.
Likes: one thing.
Dislikes: changing the subject – please stop changing the subject, it’s very frustrating.
6. Stone-cold Steve
What’s going on in his mind? Does he hate you for looking like a tosser in that suit? Does he despise 23 year olds for affording taxi rides? What’s that smell? You’ll never know. Steve will not be talking for the entire trip.
Steve feels like an empty seashell.
Likes: the moment you get out.
Dislikes: your clothes, your voice, your face.
In short, pay more attention to cabbies. Some of them are fascinating.
That’s it. That’s the takeaway point here. Sorry for wasting your time.