Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On Cabbies

"I got to warn you mate, I'm depressed." That's what my cabbie said when I jumped in the black taxi today on the way back from a meeting. And then he proceeded to strike up one of the oddest conversations I've had with a local since touching down.

Cabbies are basically the same the world over: some of them are nice and will talk to you, others think you're a captive audience for whatever belief they espouse, and some (my personal favorites) just don't say anything at all. I prefer the last one because I'm kind of antisocial about conversing with someone who will be played in the movie of my life by an actor who isn't even SAG.

This guy started by telling me how immigrants are ruining the UK and how lucky we had it in America. I wasn't feeling particularly feisty (and I noted uncomfortably that I was one of said immigrants, but didn't share this with him) so I kind of went along with it, said immigration was a big topic in the US as well, yadda yadda. He went on and talking about how horrible London was now that Red Ken was mayor, how it was better after Maggie Thatcher got rid of the GLC and no one was in charge of anything, how the congestion tax was causing more problems than it solved, whatever.

I make it a general rule to just smile and nod and ask a few unassuming questions when I'm in an unfamiliar place and people are discussing politics - not only can you not offend anyone that way, but you can also learn a lot regardless of your own political leanings - but I had to say by the time he got on the subject of the dyke cops who were keeping his son off the force, I was ready to protest a bit.

Then we were at my office and I missed my chance. Not that it would have accomplished anything but it would have been an interesting cap to a pretty surreal experience.

Cabbies. Gotta love 'em.

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