Thursday, 17 February 2011

the Muslim Travis Bickle

I get a minicab to the studio on a Wednesday night. I love it when I'm there but setting out for a class starting at 7.00 pm when it's already dark and I've been up since 6.00 am is hard work.

I don't usually get chatty ones, even in black cabs, though in Spain it was a different story. They always used to ramble on at me, oblivious to the fact that I couldn't understand half of it. One ended up asking me out to a tango club once, after telling me he was divorced. If he'd been cute, I would have gone.

"Nice day today" starts this cabbie innocuously enough.
"Yes" I agree "Nice to see the sun out" (I'm thinking about Kate Mosse's book, Watching The English, and why we always start out talking about the weather. Not because it's easy, but because even talking about something so neutral, you are sussing people out. And sure enough...) "It was raining yesterday" he continues.
"Mm hmm" I say. In the back of a cab you are a captive audience.
"Some people don't like the rain. But we need the rain. Why do we have the rain? To make this country so green."
"Do you believe in God?"

I sigh inwardly. It's been a long day. It's a 20 minute journey to Hackney. I thought I was buying 20 minutes of peaceful staring out the window, but oh no. I think about lying to pacify him but I've decided to stop being apologetic about my atheism around the religious.

Can't even begin to describe the conversation (or rather, the monologue) that ensued - it started off on God, look at my hand, our hands are miraculous and much more complex than this Vauxhall Astra, someone built the Vauxhall Astra, so someone must have built us, right? A creator! And veered off via the Bible, the Torah, the Koran , Moses turning sticks into snakes like a conjuror (I must have missed this bible story) to why I should visit the Koran online, it contains everything you need to know. Though possibly not natural selection nor evolution.

He's slowing down as we drive through the Olympic development, we're practically crawling down Victoria Park Road as he expounds and waves his hand about. I can tell by that breathless preacher delivery that he's off, he must do this all the time, he is a man who has found the perfect job. He can rant at strangers to his heart's content and they cannot escape. I have the money in my hand for 5 minutes before I can get out the car. I think he'd even pay his passengers to drive around and evangelize at them.


  1. That guy, the guy who 'made' your hands, he also made eye worms, parasites which burrow through the skin, into the bloodstream and commonly make their way to the eye, where the inflammation they cause can make you go blind. Of course, this most often happens to desperately poor people in the third world.

    If you meet the guy again, ask him if he knows why the almighty creator would do that,

  2. Nah, he'll have an 'answer' ready. Nutters, political, religious, always do. Do not engage. I sing show tunes - usually shuts em up.

  3. LC, I know, I really had to bite my lip. If I'd riled him any further he might have taken both hands off the wheel...

    Arabella teeeheehee! I love it! Next time will try a blast of "Life is a Cabaret" and see how they like that.