Now and again one of my fares will ask me if I had watched a reality TV show or one of the soap operas the previous night. Nine times out of ten I answer "no I don't watch much telly" and the fare will look at me as if I must be criminally insane or live in some strange other universe. But the plain and simple truth is that I just don't need to watch reality TV, reality plays out each and every day on the back seats of my cab. All the real life drama, comedy and tragedy you could dream of are unveiled by passengers telling me of their sometimes chaotic lives.
The big difference being that instead of some attention seeking, money grabbing wannabe my reality show stars are real genuine local folks. And as for soaps, well some folks will give me the latest episode of their storyline each time I pick them up, sometimes the plot will be a bit dull but with others I just can’t wait for the next thrilling installment.
Take Saturday night for instance, a five mile trip turned into a whole series of roller coaster emotions, all played out on my all knowing back seat.
I took no part in the performance; all the scenes starred just the one young starlet and her mobile phone. The first call she received seemed normal enough at first but soon degenerated into a full blown row with what I assumed was her partner. The accusations flew back and forth and voices were raised to a shout for a few minutes and then the phone was obviously slammed down on her. She looked at the phone for a minute obviously frustrated that she couldn't finish the verbal fight and then tried redial a few times. When she got no reply she let out a piercing frustrated scream and then burst into floods of tears. After a while the phone rang and she snatched it to her ear expectantly, but no it wasn't the kiss and make up call she was expecting but someone threatening her with violence in retaliation for some punch-up that she had been involved with the previous night. She seemed frightened and pleaded with the caller that wasn't her fault and that she didn't start it, and that she “didn't want no trouble.” After she had soft soaped her way out of a bashing she hung up only for the phone to ring yet again with another caller. This time it was my fare that was straight on the attack loudly accusing the caller of “grassing her up for doin that tart over” and threatening to “kick her head in.” After delivering a filthy tirade of swearing and abuse it was my fares turn to slam the phone down.
We reached her destination and it was time for the closing credits, but the phone rang yet again and I couldn't help but notice that she smiled in anticipation of the next thrilling episode.