AUTHOR: James Dowen

Some good advice

“Wheah yah gahn, gahv?”

“Sloane Street, please.”

“Ahrah-t.”

As we crossed Marble Arch there was an almighty thud up ahead and the sound
of a guy falling off his motorbike. As the taxi passed round the accident
there was already a crowd around a young lady who had been knocked over.
She was unconscious but thankfully had a steward putting her in the recovery
position and calling for help.

“Did you see that?”

“Nyeah, vees peepaw dahn loohk wheah ve-ah gahin. Vats wot appins when yah
dahn wahyt fa v groin mahn…”. His rant continued about how he sees it
everyday and that pedestrians have it coming to them.

During the rest of his white noise I had a red mist come over my mind…

THE SHIT. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TO BE SO HEARTLESS AND COLD TO A FELLOW
HUMAN BEING? I WANT TO PROD YOU WITH A METAL ELECTRIC ROD. I WANT TO PUSH
YOU IN THE DIRECTION OF A SHED. A SHED WHERE I KNOW, BUT YOU DON’T, THAT
YOU WILL BE SLAUGHTERED WITH ALL OF THE OTHER IGNORANT PIGS. ROT IN HELL,
YOU BASTARD.

After at least another forty seconds of his bile I interupted him and simply
said…

“I don’t think you would be saying that if it was your daughter.”

He tried to back-peddle but I had turned the intercom off and just chose to
blank him.

Like many of the other oiks driving around our capital in their rip-off
cartel black-cabs, he may be served well by observing the following:

1) Learn to wipe your own arse and memorise the knowledge properly. It’s
not for me to do your over-paid job for you and direct you to basic
locations.

2) Have some change, you spoilt idiot, and don’t make an unlucky face, as if
someones taking a liberty, when they give you a score for a nine quid job.

3) Realise that if you weren’t driving a cab you would be practically
unemployable, not because you are thick, but because noone would want you
near them on a daily basis.

4) You are overpaid by multiples, not by a percentage. Stop extra ripping
people off by making up stories of traffic and other routes that they should
go by, so you can earn an extra four quid.

5) Stop sneering at everyone. You are offering a grotesquely expensive
service – appreciate it. Smile, and say ‘thank you’ when a punter pays you.
You are not just working for yourself, you are representing London.

Thank you, blog. I feel so much better now.

In other news:

I love taking counsel and learning from people who have been there and done
it. Yesterday I gleaned two very good pieces of advice.

My journey to Sloane Street was to meet ‘The Dark Knight’ for a coffee and a
stroll. He is a man who has been there and done it all, who’s CV is such,
that all self-made bookmakers try to follow his example. There is a big
difference between trying and succeeding in doing so though, and he has few,
if any, peers.

He is not only a very interesting man, but he is also engagingly interested
in others that he meets. He nudges and nurdles and always likes to delve a
little further into most topics that are brought up in conversation.

I passed my observation on to him and he responded thus, in his ever
recongnisable tone..

“You know, Ben. My golden rule, you know, that I always say to people is…
‘Listen’. When you’re talking, you can’t learn.’

So obvious. So right. So clear. Do put that one in the notebook, blog.
It’s come from the right source, believe me.

I then moved on to Aldgate East, where the delightful supporters of the
Spanish Synchronised Swimming team who have been staying with me, were
holding their farewell to the Olympics party. In traditional Spanish style,
the food didn’t come out till eleven ‘o clock (don’t worry, blog, I had a
tactical bowl of cereal at six ‘o clock) but the ambience and conversation
of the evening was in the typically happy and positive Spanish mode that I
oh so love.

Amongst the people I met were the father of a former Spanish international
gymnast and the mother and father of one of the current medal winning
synchronised swimming team.

It was clear to me that these people knew something about parenting. The
mother and father of the swimmer were both doctors and their son, who was in
attendance supporting his sister, had just gained a degree in maths and
biology. They have done the job properly and I asked the group what their
secret to good parenting was. All three answered in unison, like it was a
mantra:

“Don’t ever try to be your child’s friend. You are their parent and as
such, there to guide them and keep them moving straight forward. Don’t ever
cross that line. Friendship will come, naturally, later when they are old
enough to appreciate and respect you.”

Priceless. Thank you. Last night was great practise for my Spanish and I
have made a promise to go to the World Championships in Barcelona next year.
At this Olympics the Spanish took Silver and Bronze.

I said I’ll be going to Barcelona but they must promise me it will be Gold
this time.

We made a deal.

Ben x

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