The weirdest thing I saw today was…

October 15, 2011

a mother supervising her 5 year old child having a pee at the side of the road. Nothing strange with that – it’s happened to us all at some point (the children, not the adults!!).

But surely not outside Arbour Hill prison where sex offenders are housed…


The 10am drunk

September 26, 2011

10am and I’m driving by the Four Courts in the vain hope of picking up a lawyer or somebody on expenses. I’m second in the convoy of taxi’s cruising down the quays so I’m not that hopeful of getting a fare. Incredibly, the first taxi just about misses the guy waving for a taxi. He brakes briefly but he’s gone too far past and he drives on.

Now it’s my turn!!

I pulled in and waited for my prize to get in. However, my prize was a curate’s egg and to make matters worse, he got into the front passenger seat beside me.

He was a young guy, maybe in his mid-20’s. He’d been drinking a lot, and I mean a lot.  But he didn’t smell, which was a bit unusual. Chances are he’d been kicked out of The Chancery, an early house. I guess even they have standards? He’d hadn’t wet himself, so that was some relief (no pun intended – see later). He could barely talk but he wanted to go to a cash machine so he could to pay me. ‘No problem‘, I said, ‘but where to after that?’ There’s lots of cash machines in Dublin but only one place he wanted to go…

Eventually he told me where he wanted to go, so away we went. In theory, it was only going to be a short 10 minute journey.

Half way there, he asked me if I was gay. He didn’t put it like that, of course. I think he asked me if I masterbated. His brain was barely functioning so he was on auto-pilot. He was grabbing rhythmically at his crotch, maybe he was stimulating himself? I guess he was ‘in the closet‘ and he saw another male (me) and it was his sad attempt to finish off his weekend with a flourish?

My normal driving position is to have one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand/arm rotates between the arm rest and gearstick. I can assure you I kept my hand on the gearstick all the time in case his hand came wandering over to my side of the taxi, lol.

I stopped at the Centra on Manor Street because they have a cash machine. There’s also a cash machine on the other side of the road that people use regularly on their way INTO town. Our hero walked past the Centra, up the road a little bit, and then across the road without a care in the world. He almost got run over twice!

Idiot that I am – I forgot to tell him not to get a €50 note out of the machine. So, of course, he got a €50 note and he was my first fare of the day 😦 So goodbye to my float 😦

The fare? €9 and 10 cents…

The Student

September 23, 2011

The mature student jumped in and wanted to get to Trinity college as quickly as possible.  It was the first day of his Masters course and he didn’t want to be late.  It was also 3 years since he’d been a student so he wasn’t so sure about the campus and finding the correct room.

Needless to say, I got him there with a few minutes to spare.  Now it was time to pay the fare.

The meter said €8.10.  I rounded it down and said €8 out loud.  He handed me a €50 note.

As I began to look for his change of €42, he said something like, ‘(garbled) get the 10 out of that‘.  I thought he was saying to make the fare €10, i.e. a €2 tip!!  But then it puzzled me why he was reaching into his pocket for change.

He pulled out a 20c piece and handed it to me.  LOL, he wanted me to take the 10c part of the fare out of the 20c coin and hand him back change of €42 and 10 cent.  No tip at all.

He got out of the taxi, said ‘God bless you‘ and away he went.  I could only laugh as I drove away…

Not so dapper, not so crapper

July 29, 2011

I wouldn’t have stopped for him only I recognised his face.  Or rather his enormous beer belly.  I’d driven him around a few times before but I never got to know him that well.  He intrigued me because he was always going somewhere nice like a threatre or a nice hotel.  But his demeanour never matched his destination.  He spoke with a very thick country accent, usually followed by a toothy smile.  So I never fully understood what he was saying.  All I could do was catch a word or two and assume he was talking about that topic.  Thankfully, our journeys were never that long.

Today, from a distance, he looked quite smart today with his cream trousers, matching ‘cricket’-style jumper, and dark shoes.  Sadly his cream trousers were covered in urine stains.  Like, really obvious piss stains!!  I can’t believe I actually spent time thinking about this…  But I don’t think he’d wet himself (incontinence).  It looked more like he’d opened his fly, got his member out and just…went to the toilet…without aiming.  So it went all over the groin area of his trousers.

Thank god today wasn’t too warm so I couldn’t smell anything.  Or maybe I’m getting used to it?  To add to my shame, I looked at his arse when he got out.  I’m happy to report there were no stains there!

Guys like him drive taxi drivers crazy.  Not because of his lifesytle or clothes.  No, it’s how he paid his fare.  The fare came to €9.90 and he paid with a €50 note.  I gave him €40 in notes and made a pretend reach into my pocket to get the remaining 10cent.  99.999999% of people don’t ask for the 10cent, especially not if they have the means to have €50 in the pocket.

This fecker didn’t ask out loud for the 10cent but he waited patiently for it.  I pulled out a handful of change and couldn’t see a 10cent piece so I had to give him a 20cent piece.  Grrr.

Still, I guess that’s why he has enough money to drink himself so comatose that he can urinate on himself.  All those 10cents add up!!

Don’t Eat Four Weetabix

July 16, 2011

I got hailed by an elderly gentleman outside the Mater Hospital.  He looked a bit like a settled traveller who lives in the same area and who I drive around some times.  So chances were it was going to be interesting.

He leaned in and said he wanted to explain himself before he got in.  Just in case I wanted to refuse him.  He’d been in the Mater visiting his son and he’d got ‘caught short’ and his trousers were ‘damp’.  Would it be ok if I drove him out to Swords?  ($$$  Ka-ching  $$$)  ‘Of course‘, says I, ‘just sit on this rag‘.  But he offered to sit on his own coat to avoid damaging the taxi.  Thank god for leatherette seat covers!

He wasn’t drunk and he didn’t smell so I was pretty sure I’d made the right decision.  Initially, he spoke in that kind of bewildered way that elderly people sometimes talk.  Apparently, he normally ate 2 weetabix for his breakfast but, today, he’d eaten four!  And it had gotten the better of him.

It turned out he was an interesting fellow alright.  He was from Kerry but had lived and worked in the UK for most of his life.  Now, he was retired back to Swords.  It suited him to live in a small town but be so close to the city.  He was on a waiting list to get into sheltered housing but there was 90 people in front of him.  Not that he was complaining – he was on the ‘happy pills’.

He suffered from depression and, then one night, decided to end it all.  He drank some whiskey and took some tablets.  He rang the Guards, though, to tell them what he’d done.  Incredibly, they suggested he call into them (as opposed to them racing out to save his life).  Even more incredibly, he did go to the police station!  The next thing he knew was that he’d been sent to Portrane Psychiatric Hospital for a couple of weeks.  Once he was there and among ‘his own kind‘*, he settled down and seemed to snap out of it.

(* his words, not mine)

Everything seemed to be going fine now that he was out and on the happy pills.  The one change he did make to his life was now he went to mass every day.  Not because he was a devout Catholic (“I hope Mary, Mother of God, doesn’t hear that”) but it gave him a reason to get up in the morning.

Once we got out to Swords, I finished the journey with my usual reposte to elderly people, ‘You’re home now.  You can put your feet up and have a nice cup of tea‘.  He got out of the car and checked his trousers and jacket.  There was no visible damage to either.  ‘Feck the cup of tea‘, he said with a smile, ‘I think I’ll go for a pint!

I could only smile and wish him well as I drove away.

Miscarriage of justice, bud!

July 8, 2011

My passenger today was getting a very, very rough deal from our legal system.  If he was telling the truth…

About 8 years ago, on the way home from the pub, he (let’s call him Mark) and his pal intervened in a row involving a taxi driver and two passengers.  Once free, the taxi driver drove away while the police charged Mark and his friend with ‘assault’ or something similar.  One of the victims got a ‘bruised eye’.  His friend got 6 months in gaol shortly after the event.  But Mark never had his day in court (and I forgot to ask why).

N.B. Now that I’m writing it down, there’s lots of holes and ‘what-if’s’ but I still found it a fascinating tale.

Fast forward to the present and the police finally caught up with him on a relatively minor 8 year old charge.  They arrested him with an European Arrest Warrant!!  According to Mark, the local police couldn’t arrest him with this warrant so some police officers out of ‘Dublin Castle’ had to do it?

So now he finally had his day in court…

The police were arguing that he’d been on the run for the past 8 years and evading justice.  But Mark have proof that he’d been living in Ireland for all that time – he’d had a job and paid taxes for most of the last 8 years.  His job meant that he went through frequent police road blocks etc but they’d never stopped him.  He’d even bought a house and had a child!  Eventually, it seems the police became aware of him after he’d had a work accident and started using the Social Welfare system.

His barrister asked the police officer giving evidence what efforts they’d made to track him down over the 8 years.  ‘Well, we knocked into his mother’s house one time and got no reply‘.  Hmm…

He wasn’t getting any joy from the judge either and Mark felt that there was a fix going on.  According to Mark, the ‘victims’ in the assault couldn’t claim compensation until he was convicted.  And he was sure one of them must have been the son of a judge or similar.  Hence the treatment he and his friend were receiving.

The judge remanded the case for a third time and insisted it was listed under her name at the next appearence.  Mark felt this was her keeping the fix on.  I said to him that maybe she could see there was something ‘odd’ about the case and she wanted to keep an eye on it.  I mean, who gets 6 months for assault and why would the police track down and arrest Mark after 8 years using an European Arrest Warrant…  He countered with a another guy who got sentenced in the same court that day.  The guy pleaded guilty but wanted a stay of a week because his girlfriend was due to have their baby the following week.  This judge was having none of it.  He got six months, reduced to 4 months for pleading guilty, but his sentence was to start immediately!

I suggested Mark get in touch with a reporter because I’d love to see what would happen if a journalist got involved in it.  It’s such an odd story that maybe, just maybe, it might just be true?

P.S. Stereotypes.

He wasn’t too hopeful about the outcome and he’d been drinking heavily the night before.  And he was going back to the pub to start drinking again.  Afterall, it could be the last time he could drink beer for a few months. I believed most of his story because I drove the guy from the courthouse to one of the rougher pubs in Dublin.  But if I had picked him up at this rough pub and drove him to the courthouse, I’m not so sure I would have believed a word of it.

Having said all that, he seemed like a nice guy.  I hope it works out for him.

My first run today

July 2, 2011

Picked up two lads this morning outside an apartment building in Finglas.  They were going across the Liffey to buy some hash to ‘come down’ after a party in their apartment.  After the collection, I was to drive them back to their apartment.

There wasn’t much chit-chat but I heard this gem…

First Guy:  Do you make a pass at Laura?  You really fancy her, don’t you?
Second Guy: Yeah, I fancy her but I didn’t make a pass at her.  She was vomiting all night with too much drink.
First Guy:  Oh yeah, I remember now.

Quiet pause

Second Guy:  I still would have done her though, puking or not.

Another pause.

Second Guy (looks out the window): Don’t know if that says more about me or her…

Apart from that, it was pretty uneventful except, as luck would have it, there was another couple waiting for a taxi outside the apartment!!  I got excited because it’s rare to get another fare so quickly.  The only problem was the other taxi driver behind me and he’d seen them as well.  He came up within inches of my bumper, almost trying to mentally barge me out of the way.  What happened next had the potential to be interesting.

Both of us had to do a U-turn to get to the front gates of the apartment complex and I still had my passengers!  I positioned myself to do a u-turn but the cheeky sod behind was trying to do a ‘tighter’ u-turn than me and get ahead.  I was quicker off the mark though so he was still behind me as we pulled up to the building.

But then I had a change of heart.  I’d already gotten a good fare and barely an hour had gone from my shift.  So I thought I’d spread a bit of goodwill and maybe karma would reward me later?  So I let him have the fare.  I hope his day worked out as well as mine 🙂

Get me to the church on time

June 25, 2011

It was 2pm when a young guy in a cheap suit hailed me.  He wanted to go to ‘a church near Connolly Station‘ for a wedding and ‘as quick as you can, please‘.  He was in an awful hurry but I wasn’t sure why because the service had started an hour earlier.  Yep, he was an hour late!!  Thankfully, he wasn’t the groom or the best man.  But his girlfriend was the bridegroom’s sister so he was in deep, deep shit for not turning up on time (or at all).  He kept trying to phone and text her but she wasn’t answering.  The charitable explanation was she had her phone turned off.  The more realistic explanation was that their relationship was over.

The only thing left was to figure out which church he wanted.  There isn’t that many near Connolly and the one he wanted was, apparently, a ‘small one to the right of Connolly Station‘.  I explained to him that there was two ‘big’ churches on Sheriff St and Sean McDermott St and a small one, St Agatha’s, on North William St. He chose St Agatha’s first, even though it was a bit out of the way – actually it was in the wrong direction!  No joy there – it was locked up.

Next on the list was St Laurence O’Toole’s on Sheriff Street but that was locked up as well.

The reality was dawning on him that all was lost by this stage.  Admitting defeat, he asked to be dropped off at Connolly and he’d have a pint and think about his next step.  As we were driving there, it occurred to me there was a small church on the other side of the Liffey (Immaculate Heart of Mary on City Quay – I had to look that up) but I wasn’t sure if it was Catholic or Protestant.  He seemed certain the church was on the north side of the river so that couldn’t be the church…

Dropping him off, we exchanged money and ‘good luck’ messages and off he went into the station.  I headed off too, and out of curiosity, I headed towards the church on the ‘wrong’ side of the Liffey.  I mean, who would give directions by referencing a building on the opposite side of the river??  But…you’ve guessed it – there was a wedding party just exiting the church as I drove by.

Ah well, some things are not meant to be.

Father’s Day

June 19, 2011

1. Father’s Day for me started around 3pm.  2 guys in the late 30’s/early 40’s and their Dad hailed me outside The Gravediggers Pub and wanted to go to Finglas.  They all lived near each other but Dad was a bit contrary so they couldn’t decide on the cheapest/shortest route to get them all home to their separate houses.

Usually the guy in the front seat pays and what happens after that doesn’t really concern me.  But this family unit were discussing it right in front of me.  Son #1 in the front seat picked a fiver out of his pocker and passed it back because he was getting out first.  Or so he wanted to believe.  Dad disagreed in very strong terms and kept insisting that the ‘f*cker’ had a €50 note in his pocket.  Son #2 tried to placate things a little bit by throwing in a tenner.  But Dad wasn’t happy about the cash, or the lack of it, flying around.

Son #1 did get out first in the end.

In the end, the fare was €12.  So son #1, with his fiver, did actually pay more than 1/3 if you split it 3 ways (€4) or he paid slightly less than half (€6) if they both paid for their Dad.  So Dad now had €15 in his hand to pay the €12 fare.  He gave it to me and told me to keep the change.  He didn’t want the change because he didn’t want to give the ‘f*ckers’ anymore than he’d already given them over his/their lifetime.

What a charmer!

2.  Picked up 3 lads from Violet Hill heading into town.  They were full of life and I didn’t get the full story.  They may, or may not, have been dads.  They may, or may not, have actual girlfriends.  So they may, or may not, have been let off the leash for Father’s Day.  But they were out on the lash.  There was no doubt about that – they kept telling each other about it.  I didn’t quite grasp the logic of their argument but it went something like this…  Some people reckon Mother’s Day is the best day to go out on the pull but they were sure Father’s Day was the better option.  Added into the mix was the 80,000 women heading upto the Take That concert in Croker and they were sure of success.  I’m pretty sure that after a couple of beers, these lads would ignore the women and spend most of their time talking about football or some shit.

3. Just as I dropped off the 3 boys in town, an elderly couple jumped in and wanted a short run to The Bank Bar on Dame Street.  Traffic was a bit heavy so I got the chance to tell them about the two sons and dad from Finglas.  As we pulled up, Dad sighed heavily and reckoned he’d have to pay for the entire jaunt (beer and food) with his sons.  Poor sod 😦  I reckon the wife put him up to it…

4. A youngish couple (OMG, maybe living in sin) and her parents hailed me in Finglas for a fare into the Rustic Stone in town.  The boyfriend sat in the front (which usually means he pays) while mom, dad, and daughter sat in the back.  The three in the back chatted amiably enough for the whole journey while boyfriend sat mute in the front.  I didn’t say a word except for when I inevitably put my foot in it.  You see, I’d gotten my celebrities mixed up.  As we approached the street on which two celebrity chefs have their restaurants, I asked them which chef had the ‘gimmick‘ of serving food on stone plates.  ‘That’s our restaurant‘, came the solemn reply.  Oops 😦

5. On a personal note, I used to spend a lot of time thinking about just the right present for my intended target.  But…one time, my mother got a new car and I gave her a Christmas present of a gadget that re-inflated a burst tire.  It quickly reappeared in another relative’s house so I gave up on that approach to buying presents.  So, today, I got my father a six pack of Guinness.  He has everything he could want except for maybe a SatNav for his car.  But then he’s got me, a taxi driver!  Job done 🙂

Tell it like it is

May 28, 2011

Lots of honesty today.

First up was a Romanian girl heading into work.  She’d been living here for 8 years.  She had very good english but a rather direct line of conversation.  Did I think the Earth was doomed?  Did I believe in God?  A mini-rant about Roma gypsies.  Have I visited her restaurant before?  It’s very good, apparently.

Second up was an old couple who must have been married for years and bounced random nastiness off each other.  It was only a short run to the local church for a Communion or Confirmation.  The fare should have been €5 but I only charged €4 (the basic fee) since the trip was literally around the corner.  As he reached into his pocket to get the change, she handed me a fiver and told me to keep the change.  And give him a verbal dig as well about not tipping me.  He got out of the car, retrieved a euro coin from his pocket and handed it to me.  A small smile and away he went, 3 feet behind his wife…

Driving up the NCR and I saw the extended hand before the face.  My heart sank when I saw it was her at the bus stop.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned her before.  She has learning difficulties but she’s more or less capable of independent living.  I pulled up beside her but she didn’t get in.  I rolled down the window on her side.  She leaned and asked me if I wanted to see the red underwear she’d recently bought.  She was wearing an overcoat and had a shopping bag in her hands.  I didn’t know whether she was going to open the bag or her coat!!  ‘No!!’  Thank god I was wearing sunglasses so she couldn’t see my eyes.  With that, she just stood back up and calmly turned to wait for her bus.  I was left speechless and it was a couple of seconds before I could drive away…

Girl jumped in on the quays and asked for Swords.  ‘North King St and out via Drumcondra, please‘.  I just nodded and drove on, keeping my mouth shut.  There is only really one other option – an expensive trip through the tolled port tunnel.  Then, she started giving me directions like ‘left here‘, ‘right at the lights‘.  Curiousity got the better of me and I asked her if there was another route than the one we were taking.  ‘No, not really‘, she said before trailing off.  I asked if she’d had bad experiences with taxis before.  And she was off moaning about other taxis and how uncomfortable it was when she had to correct the drivers.  Once we got over that hiccup, she turned out to be a very nice person and it was a very pleasant trip out to Swords.

Let’s hope tomorrow turns out as good.  There’s probably no point in cleaning the taxi because I’m bound to find a few refugees from tonights Kings of Leon concert in Slane.