Life at 40 kilometers per hour. A taxi driver’s blog. Part 3.

Tailgating

Some drivers do not believe in keeping a safe distance. They are in such a hurry that they will speed up to one meter away from your bumper at 100km/hr and tailgate you for as long as it takes. In the USA, a driver will kindly flash his lights or click his left turn signal to indicate that he or she would like you to move to the right and let them pass. In Finland, it feels that tailgating is a national right. If you have read about the chain reaction accidents on the highways, it can be assumed to great degree that one of the reasons why so many cars were involved is because of a lack of safety space between vehicles. I detest these kinds of selfish drivers. The highways belong to them they think. Their schedule supersedes anyone else’s right to safe passage. They have that never-ending My Way or the Highway selfish attitude and aren’t afraid to prove it. To them I say SLOW DOWN! Right after I tap my brake lights so that they ease off a little, then I will move to the right to let them pass.

Short Cuts

When you drive from 0730 to 1600 every weekday, you get used to the flow of rush hour traffic. In fact, you can eventually predict when the traffic jam ruuhka will begin and end. You tend to avoid these places and drive against the flow, against the grain, against all those speedy vehicles. I can get from Kontula to Maunula in about 16 minutes in the morning if the traffic light gods are in my favor and I don’t get a driving student or massive truck in front of me. Unfortunately, I’m not able to reveal my secrets here for they are my personal tricks of the trade.

Small Talk

The older a customer is the more interesting stories he or she will tell. The older generation is full of courteous people. They will strike up a conversation with another passenger with ease even though the topic may be light, for instance, the weather, the holidays, the way things were. On many occasions I have my very own personal tour guide in the vehicle as I drive through the city. I will ask where my customer has lived and if he or she has family. I will also ask if they own a dog or a cat or a bird or a turtle. They usually don’t have pets anymore, but they will remember the names of the pets they had as a child. And the next thing they realize is that we are soon approaching their destination as they took a walk through memory lane and I received a historic tour of Helsinki, without cost. Invaluable.

War Veterans

It is a blessing to have customers who are war veterans. There aren’t so many around anymore. But when I do have them as customers, I consider it a pleasure to take them where they want to go. War veterans will usually reminisce about the first home they built or the first car they ever owned. They will tell me how life used to be before the war, during the war and after the war. They remember every detail when I ask them questions about how life was. They will also say that the current generation doesn’t know what suffering is. One of my customers was a Lotta. She was 88 years old. Her mother passed away at age 98 and she saw three wars. This lady Lotta hoped to reach 100 and she still fit in her Lotta uniform as I drove her to special occasion downtown one day that celebrated everyone Lotta. She was a piece of work. A great smile on her face with kindness in her eyes. It was a proud moment for me as I helped her get to where she happily wanted to go.

Words of Wisdom

Slow down! You want to live to see tomorrow.