Thursday, April 10, 2008

You can't make this stuff up!

So I get on a train after the lovely Sean drops me at East Croydon (bless him and all his progeny) and head for Brighton. I arrive with forty-twelve thousand other people (haven't they got work in the morning dammit, what are they all doing out so late?!) and head toward the Cab rank.

A short wait, and I jump into a random and non-descript Nissan or something, and we head off towards home. Now I like chatting with cab drivers, if they have a view (on anything) it is often different from my own, or at least, from a different perspective, and it's rare these days (you know, the days without a 'local' pub and a circle acquaintances drawn from varied work/life backgrounds) that I get exposed to opinions and observations that are far from my own comfortable middle-class inspired surroundings. (Note to grand-children reading this in 50+ years time : variety is the spice of life and cross cultural/class/attitude interactions are most definitely recommended)

So in my ideal cab driver, I enjoy finding a like-minded soul who, whilst has different likes and dislikes from I, can articulate opinions that extend beyond the 'hang 'em high, this generation don't know they're born, blame the bloody government' standard. Tonight was one such encounter, and we discussed many subjects in my short (but Brighton-ly expensive) ride home from the station. Arriving outside my door, the venerable cabby enquired, "you're not Ben, are you?"

Answering in the affermative, I continued by enquiring, "Yeah, are you still reading my book?".

The random cabby reached under his passenger seat and produced the book I had lent him (in a rather 'merry' state, you may know the "....you MUST read this, its marvellous" state....?) displaying the bookmark placed about 50% of the way through the 600+ page tomb.

"You cant have it back yet though..." he said, "...as a mate in another Cab wants to borrow it after me".

Now Brighton has (at 2001) over 249,000+ people living in it, so I wouldn't like to calculate the chances of any particular person, getting in a particular cab, and the driver recognising his passenger out of x thousand of other passengers he has had in the intervening 9 months. But I bet they're quite large.

The lesson I take from this wee diatribe? Never underestimate how much a small act, can impact the rest of the world.

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