The taxi drivers staged a protest today. I think it was their fourth one this year. I remember a time when you couldn’t get a taxi on a weekend night, there were that few of them. I met a girlfriend – and broke up with one – on a taxi rank, I was there that fucking long.
Anyway, the cabbies are complaining that there’s too many of them now. A few years back some suit deregulated the business, unclosing the “closed shop,” and opening the market out to anyone who had a few bob to spend on a licence. More than a few goons thought taxi driving was a licence to print money. It was then; it isn’t now.
Because of their bi-weekly protest, Dublin’s main street, O’Connell Street, was closed to traffic for the day, even for the emergency services. Gardai-directed diversions were in operation. This meant that the bus route home from my Tuesday night meeting was changed and I had to go search for where I could catch the right one. So I stood at the corner of Marlborough and Eden Quay. Big mistake.
I saw this young man, dressed in a striped hoodie, skinny jeans and trainers, jogging toward me. He didn’t look threatening. He’s a jogger, I thought.
He stopped in front of me and asked, “Have you any gear?”
“What?” I said.
“Have you any gear?”
“No,” I said. And away he jogged. I shook my head and continued to look for my bus.
My next visitor was altogether different. He was stick-thin, dark-haired, but he had danger in his eyes. His girlfriend was no better. He stared at me.
“Git,” he said. “Why didn’t you call me earlier?”
Like I said, this guy looked menacing. I gave him full eye contact and said softly, “I’m sorry but you’re talking to the wrong person.” He considered this for a moment and then the pair of them walked off. He turned his head, just to make sure he wasn’t making a mistake.
I lit a cigarette and mumbled, “Come on, do I even look like a drug dealer?”
I would have taken a taxi home – if there were any – but I decided to walk. There was no way I wanted to hang around that corner any longer.
Take it away, Jim…