Monday, 11 May 2009

Does it smell of pine? No it smells like mentalist.

My taxi driver home last night was in fine fettle - you name it, he swore at it/about it/or just in it's general direction. Everything was annoying him, from the price of takeaway coffee, "It's just water awn some bloody nescafe.....sake.....I can get a whole jar for the price af that I can" to the quality of pine used in the pine air freshener. This went on for ages, or what seemed like ages. I'll be honest with you, I could have lived without it. I mean he really was ruining my post work buzz, such as it was.

Not since the dawn of civilization has one man moaned as much about the smell from a pine shaped air freshener than this chap. I became quite frightened when he ripped the offending item from where it was dangling, experts tell me it's called the rear view mirror but whatever, and with more force required shoved it in the direction of my nose. Oh my.

"Does that there smell like a forest to you? Eh? Does it like?"

Now, I'm not sure if it was his fist that was shaking inches from my nose or because he was staring at me whilst careering through the city centre but I got confused. I'm sure confusion is a natural emotion to experience when staring down the barrel of a taxi driver shaped fist. Instead of replying in the appropriate manner, ie agreeing with the lunatic with the pine freshener in one hand and your life in the other, I said, "Doesn't smell too bad mate"


"Doesn't smell too bad? Doesn't smell too bad? Wha?"

Oh dear, thought I, I've angered it. And I had indeed angered it. Checking the road for like a nano second he sticks the offending item up to his nose and goes at it like he was backstage at a Motley Crue concert. I mean he sniffed the pine right out of it.

"Doesn't smell too bad like? What you on mate? Here get a good whiff of that" and he reaches the bloody thing over to me.

"Get a good smell of it....", I did. I mean what choice did I have faced with the irrationality of the situation?! You know what I discovered you cant do? You cant fake the sound of sniffing without actually sniffing. This was very disappointing as I really didn't want my nostrils filled with the odor of fake pine.

"Well?", he says glaring at me.

"Aye yer right...", I wasn't sure now what I was supposed to be saying or agreeing to. Did he want me say that it did or didn't smell of something? Was that something meant to be good or bad? Jesus I was so confused. I just wanted to get home and nestle up to a chicken and chickpea curry and let it make everything better.

"Now does that smell like a forest then does it?"

" I suppose it doesn't", said I handing the air freshener back to Crazy McMad-Bastard, the craziest maddest bastard driving in Belfast.

"You know what I'd like to do mate?" I did not know what he wanted to do. I didn't have a notion, maybe stick his winkle in a fish? It wouldn't have surprised me such was the manic nature of his discourse.

"I'd like til take the eejits that make this here shite to an actual forest and ask em if they think their air freshener smells the same." Christ it would be the scariest trip to the forest since Hansel and Gretel were abandoned by their parents. But his use of the word eejit made me giggle, into myself obviously, I'm not completely clueless about how to handle myself round grade A whack jobs. I mean right up to that point everybody was a "fucker" a "bastard" and a "cunt". Clearly went to a very refined finishing school.

He went quiet after that. I finished the holy rosary I had been reciting in my head whilst he was brooding. He was fingering the tree shaped problem with the intensity of a serial killer who has just lopped the ear of his 33rd victim. I thought he would probably regret doing that as his hands would stink of faux pine by now. Oh I just wanted to be home.

"Fuck this....", he yells.

Oh holy fuckarama I'm gonna die. He's gonna drive the car off a bridge with me in it. And me with a lovely fresh made curry in the fridge. Who would eat my curry after I'm dead, who?

But he just wound down his window and threw the offending item out.

"So were working tonight or just out for something til eat?", says he with all the calmness and gentleness of a visiting head of state asking the oik what they do for a living. I was stunned by his change in mood. It was all very perplexing and totally uncalled for on a Sunday night. Tree shaped air fresheners appear to work like some sort of angry kryptonite on him.

I was quite relieved to get home. I considered phoning the taxi firm to remonstrate about the quality of mentalist they entrust with their mid range saloon cars but changed my mind when I realised I didn't want to spend the rest of the night fending of an angry taxi driver/mentalist who reeks of faux pine trees. I've seen Assault on Precinct 13 and my house simply isn't prepared for such shenanigans. If this continues, the mentalism of Belfast taxi drivers, I may have to start walking home. Oh my!

For what it's worth the curry was good.

20 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Boxer said...

I have met some of the craziest men driving taxis... the best/worst was speeding through NYC and I'm pretty sure he was snorting coke and he blazed through a red light.

Oh, and we tipped him.

Mostly for not killing us. At least you got curry.

Manuel said...

boxer: i tipped my guy too...but just because I just wanted out of the taxi......

Medbh said...

Good call on not reporting him, Manuel.
You know stalking must be in his skill-set.

Off topic: we went to an oyster bar last night and I didn't have any thinking of my lunch with you and the unfortunate sickness.

MJ said...

Boxer: I had that same driver in NYC.

That's why they have straps in the back seats to cling to.

"Oh holy fuckarama"... teehee.

The Mutant said...

You know the whole thing was a stunt right - if you weren't so bloody relieved to get home you wouldn't tip.

I say next time call his bluff (or check his glovebox, he's probably got a box of air freshners in there so he can pull that same stunt over and over!).

Native Minnow said...

I'm sure someone would eat your curry if you'd died.

Native Minnow said...

Provided that's not a euphamism for something dirty

Anonymous said...

That was hilarious. I hate anyone else driving while I am in the car. Maybe my wife and that is it. I gotta drive which is why I kinda don't like taxi or drivers like you had. That is kinda scary.

belfast cabby said...

God i miss work!
Surely u know the ability to bitch and complain about any given subject no matter how dumb is part of the job discription for a taxi driver.
Ps; glad you tipped.
im guessing it was a value cab?

The Hangar Queen said...

I was thinking (Don't laugh I actually do once in a great while)about how you absolutely had to sniff the air freshener. There was no way out of that one unless you claimed to be allergic to pine trees. That might have led to bloodshed come to think of it.

Had a cabbie in Las Vegas ask ME for directions to my hotel from the airport. He then claimed to have never heard of it and offered to take me back to his place for the night. Some neck on that fella.

Old Knudsen said...

I'll tell ya the mistake they make. you only tear off the top part of the wrapper revealing the first bit of the tree otherwise the smell is too much. The packet probably had those der word thingys on it which confused him.

A taxi should smell like vomit,piss, beer and stale cum if he wants a forest the mong should become a lumberjack.

Old Knudsen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manuel said...

Medbh: "the unfortunate sickness" - hahaha that's one way of putting it!

mj: I have a world of those.....

the mutant: no, no no no no.....I will never take that risk.....ever

B said...


All my experiences with Taxis have been okay.

That is to say, 1.

savannah said...

i've fallen asleep in taxis, sugar! it's a wonder i didn't wake up daid! xooxooxo

Killer said...

I have tagged you so you have to tell us eight things!!!

Anonymous said...

was in a taxi once with a "Mr. T" air freshener. Delighted in retrospect that i wasn't asked to sniff it...

silent koala said...

The scariest conversation I've ever had with a Belfast taxi driver was on the way home one Sunday morning when I was feeling just slightly under the weather, and a few minutes into the journey, just as a conversational opening line, the driver looked round at me and said very calmly "I've seen the Banshee y'know."

I think I got him to drop me off about 3 miles from my house...

fmcgmccllc said...

There is a 90% rule, this means 90% of engineers must be clueless, 90% of the men that work for Chrysler must be unusually short and the 10% of normal taxi drivers are always not on duty.

I had one stop on 1-10 in New Orleans after dark (5 lanes) not off to the side, take his wristwatch off with his teeth and look under his hood. When I told husband I was getting out and calling the police he said the cabbie would steal out luggage.

Penelope_CA said...

No crazy Belfast taxi stories (yet) but once in Las Vegas I took a taxi from the hotel to a well-known lesbian bar. The driver twigged on right away, was chatty and friendly enough for a bit then proceeded to tell me about this swingers club he signed up for, got to meet lots of "interesting" people from all over and oh-by-the-way would I like to see a picture of him naked?

Err... um... yea... I said what part of lesbian do you not understand?? He then got all huffy calling me a manhating dyke. I just laughed, said I don't hate men, I just don't want to have sex with them, let alone a skeevy taximan trying to score in his cab with naked photos of himself!!

Call me crazy but I don't think his line works much with the straight ladies either. Just a hunch.

At least he didn't go waving anything in my face... thank god for small favours!