Life at 40 kilometers per hour. A taxi driver’s blog. Part 2.
On the road, you observe all kinds of pedestrians. There are those who timidly approach the curb and seek eye contact before they take their first step into the crosswalk. I love these people because they value their lives and those of every driver. On the other hand, you will also witness others who have no patience for courtesy. The crosswalk light will be red, yet they will still venture across. These are the very special people. They feel they are above the law and try to beat every pedestrian rule in the book in order to save time. All those saved minutes won’t do anything for you if you are dead. Unfortunately, most everyone is in such a great hurry. You see pedestrians so in love with their phones that they expect others to watch out for them! Better yet, they think they are invisible and invincible. They can’t even be bothered to spare one millisecond to look both ways before entering the road. What is so darn important that it is worth putting their lives at risk?
Inva Taxi Customers – Matkapalvelu
I drive weekdays for the Matkapalvelu trip service run by the City of Helsinki. My customers are great. No one is drunk. No one is yelling or screaming. No one is trying to pick a fight with me. They are all golden-hearted people who need to get to their destinations with safety and efficiency. I see that those who are mobility-challenged live through their struggles and pain with a good sense of humor. They will laugh when I first get ready to start their journey and state matter-of-factly that we’re headed to Jyväskylä. Others will just stare at me and when I clarify that it’ll take 4.5 hours, they’ll see from my face that I’m joking. If I can get them to smile, then I’ve already done half of my job.
The Radiation Clinic
Trips to and from the radiation clinic are always the toughest for me. In the industry, the clinic is never called the cancer clinic. The C word is known to all, but very rarely spoken. Radiation clinic sounds a bit more politically correct. I am always honored to have met these bravest of faces that need a ride to the radiation clinic. I recall once when I was blessed by an elderly gentleman after a morning ride to his treatment. He was wishing me a great day with lots of business and good fares. The moment is still one of my fondest taxi driving memories. I was honestly moved to tears. Here was a guy facing a great challenge and he had the clearness of thought and kindness to bless me and wish me a great day.
Lunch on the Road
I used to have nice office jobs at advertising agencies, at different kinds of companies, and in the United States I was a bank manager. I enjoyed lunch breaks when it was shared with my coworkers. That one chance to chat about what is going on in perhaps business, personal life, and small talk was important to me. To connect with another human being buy sharing a meal together was always something to look forward to. When you drive a taxi, most of the time, you will eat alone. It is a humbling experience. Often, the choices for lunch on the read are not healthy, but you can sometimes find a good deal with a great salad bar. I will read online news, text friends or make calls during my break just to get that human connection that I miss. I never know where my next day’s lunch break will be. It all depends how I feel and how close I am to the garage since the cafeteria there is run by Palmia and the offerings are pretty good value for the money. Sometimes I hit the jackpot and end a gig around lunchtime near my home. That way I can reheat some leftovers and put my feet up. Eating alone is now a habit. I sometimes wonder how long I will have to do that, but I don’t mind really. I have a job. I help people.
Words of Wisdom
Courtesy on the road should be a prerequisite to getting a driver’s license. You must show proof of compassion before obtaining the right to drive on the roads.