This woeful tale of a country fool in the big city begins on a cold and windy crowded street in Dublin in December.
Readers may experience a slight lack of interest and an overwhelming sense of underwhelming disappointment.
Except you, George, you’re free to go.
Here we go, I hope.
Let’s take it right from the beginning, shall we?
I’m in Dublin to meet up with my old college friends for what has become our traditional yearly reunion.
Things have so far gone swimmingly except for a slightly rickety and very squeaky luggage compartment on the train up (trust me when I say that it was loud, so very loud).
I’ve successfully navigated my way through the Dublin streets, catching two Bulbasurs and a Magnemite might I add (no biggie), and I make my way to The Spire where I’ve arranged to meet my friend, Will, another country bumpkin like myself, before heading to catch up with the rest of the gang.
After a few tourist short minutes underneath the giant monument in which I embrace my inner tourist and stare open mouthedly (gawking, if you will) up at the almost impossibly tall and dizzying point at the top (see terrible photo below), I decide to ring Will and see where he is.
Feeling like a some sort of dealer with my large duffel bag on the ground between my legs (there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere, I’m sure of it), I see Will approaching through the crowd and after a few minutes of chatting, we head towards the taxi rank and here is where all semblance of suave, sophisticayed adulthood maturity begins to unravel…rapidly.
There are two taxi’s in the rank when we arrive and after taking a quick glance at the ahem, anatomy and make of the taxi at the head of the queue, I quickly (for reasons which shall become embarssingly clear rather soon) make the executive decision to go to the second taxi in the queue.
BIG MISTAKE, it would appear.
The driver of the second taxi nods his head in the direction of the car in front of him and says rather quickly:
“Eh lads, yous should definitely get into that car lads.”
Feeling rather perplexed, I turn back the taxi at the head of the queue and am greeted with the very gruff and angry looking face of the driver of the front car.
“What’s wrong with MY car?!” he demands in a think Dublin accent, catching Will and I completely off guard, not knowing whether he is joking or not.
“Ehhhh….” I stutter.
“Do yous have a problem with me or my car?!”he asks again, his voice rougher and tougher than before.
“No, no! Of course not, we just happened to go for the second one…” I say rather sheepishly back, my voice catching once or twice.
“Are yous sure?! Are yous sure you don’t have a problem or yous don’t like the look of this car?”he says as we place our bags into the back seat and he sits back into the drivers chair.
“No, sir, it was just random really.” I reply sheepishly again, lying through my teeth, not wanting to reveal the true embarrassing reason why I chose to ignore his car.
What follows are some of the most awkward few minutes that have ever been experienced in a taxi…
“Can you take us to Terenure please?” I mumble, trying to re-establish that sacred bond of driver/passenger status quo that had been lost.
It’s this address, I try again: reading him out a text from my phone.
Again, no response.
I sit back slowy in my seat, unsure of whether he will actually now take us to where we are going or whether we’ll be taken to some unknown location and deposited there to fend for ourselves, such was this mans disdain for us after our dismissal of his car.
Slowly but surely though, he types the address into his sat-nav and we move off, joining up with the citie’s traffic and although still with a knot of anxiety in my stomach, I lean back in my seat and exhale slightly.
‘Bullet, dodged’ I think to myself smugly, when suddenly:
“So, why didn’t yous choose my car? Do ye have a problem with it or with me?”
Here it comes, the unescapable inquisition.
‘I’ll have to tell him’ I think.
‘There’s nothing else that I can say…’
‘It’s so ludicrous he’ll have to believe me…’
“Well, I mbbbmbmbbmb…” I say quietly before trailing off.
“What’s that? I missed what you said,” he responds.
‘Here goes nothing, the embarrassing truth,’ I resign myself inwardly.
“Well, it’s just…that…I don’t really like…” I say.
“Go on…” the driver says, now looking at me in the rear view mirror.
“I don’t like the sliding side doors on taxi’s..they’re tricky!” I blurt out, leaving a breath of shame lingering in the air.
“Are yous fookin’ serious?” he says, his eyes probing me through the mirror, but now with a hint of humour and incredulity about them.
“Yes…” I reply quietly, “they can be awkward to get open…and so when I saw your door, I just said to myself that to avoid any potential fumbling and grabbing, that we’d get just avoid the sliding doors altogther, okay? That’s the truth.”
“You’s are a fookin’ idiot” he answered before breaking into laughter.
Thus followed the single longest taxi ride of my short life culminating in the driver remaking to me as I got ready to leave the car:
“Do yous need a hand with that sliding door? They can be awkward.”