Confessions Of A Cab Driver, Part 9: How To Talk To Anybody

Driving a cab is not only about dodging drunks, ferrying around old dears for buttons and being propositioned by nymphomaniacs, you also have to talk to people. Here's how to do it without putting your life in danger...
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This is a comprehensive but not exhaustive list of conversation prompts to be used in most verbal situations whilst driving a taxi. May be used also if a complete stranger gets in your car and you are leering at the bloke/package/woman/breasts/legs/arse to your immediate right.

1. To most, people that work.

“How is your business/trade in the current economic climate?”

Let them cry/gloat/moan. Nod a lot and do your sincere face.

2. To people that are unable to answer first question.

Talk about the weather and then agree about the weather then both jointly tut about the weather.

3. To people that do not talk.

Do not talk.

4. To people that are homeless.

Do not say anything patronising with “Why don’t you” in it.

5. To all housewives/stay at home mums

Disbelieve they are old enough to even have children.

6. To all elderly men.

Talk about sex, point at a sexy girl and give a wink and a nudge.

7. To all elderly women.

Talk about sex/tell them to stop undressing you with them eyes.

8. To all single late twenty something men.

Convince them they are getting a bit old for that now.

9. To all single late twenty something women.

Console them; convince them they are still attractive. Do not sleep with them.

10. To all single late thirty something men.

“I can smell your liver, are you an alcoholic?” is not a good conversation starter, often ends with man crying for 45 minutes.

11. To all late thirty something women.

Avoid conversation of any kind, look straight ahead. Do NOT make eye contact.

If you accidentally make a connection, telling them you are married/gay unfortunately will not work. Good luck.

12. To forty something single men.

If they are dressed well.

Congratulate them on what must have been an amazing bachelor life.

If they are not dressed well and smell of dog and cigarettes.

Talk about dogs and cigarettes.

13. To single/married/divorced/fresh out of prison late forty to fifty something women.

Be very careful. They will have you if they so wish it.

Treat like omnipotent beings that can, with a click of their finger snap you out of existence/or your pants.

14. To ANY teenager.

Mirror their conversation adding lots of “innits”/whatevers” and “sick” You will still get paid in 2 pence pieces and not get a tip, but you WILL get a “Cheers dude” or a “Laters” which is a clear sign of respect and a sign you don’t look that old yet, which is nice.

To everyone else. Smile and say nothing, they may have other taxi drivers locked in a cellar somewhere.

NB: Non-Payers

If they faux pat themselves down in 00:10th of a second, do not believe them and relieve them of items that you can sell on Ebay.

If they undress themselves in a sheer panic and offer you, watches/phones/new shoes in bag as payment, believe them and help accordingly. If they take off their shoes and look in their socks for the money, they are clearly taking the piss.

In the next chapter “How to Leave Drunks in Hedges” we discuss the correct obtuse angle to leave near comatose inebriates in their own hedge. The 116° or 130° conundrum discussed.

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