Aug. 30th, 2010

skyring: (Default)
I'm not the eager cabbie I used to be.

When I first had my taxi licence, I was working six twelve-hour night shifts a week. I was raking in the money.

Now, it's different. There are about twice as many cabs on Canberra's roads and it's rare to have the sort of peak hour frenzy or Sunday morning cab queue that I cut my taxi teeth on.

I'm also paying a lot more attention to my family.

They warned us about it in cabbie school, and I've seen too many cabbies run into marital difficulties. The long shifts, the fatigue, the stress.

As the old lament of the shearer's wife goes:
Friday night too tired,
Saturday night too drunk,
Sunday too far away.

Over the years of cabbing I've cut back a lot. Most recently, I've given up the lucrative Friday and Saturday night shifts. Nor do I stay out until four in the morning to hand over to the day driver. Sure, I'm missing out on money, but I'm better off for it.

I have a family.

It wasn't fair for my family that they should spend their weekends tip-toeing around the house so that I could get some sleep. And that when I woke up, I'd get into my taxidriver uniform and head out onto the streets, coming home at dawn and falling into bed exhausted.

It wasn't fair on me either. Taxidriving is unhealthy enough without adding constant exhaustion to the long idle hours, the junk food, the supernormal amounts of caffeine.

So now I have a life, and I have fun.

And, to be honest, with about a bazillion cabs on the road, there isn't the financial rewards of staying out after midnight. I often spent a couple of hours sitting on the main cab rank, slowly moving up and then getting a fare that was only a few dollars.

I could do better than that. I could spend that time tucked up in bed.

I've given up my Friday and Saturday night shifts in favour of doing family type things. Shopping, browsing through galleries, having a family dinner with a bottle of wine and candles on the table. My two kids live at home and now that they are grown up, they are a pleasure to be around. Not that they weren't as children, just that nowadays we can have grown-up discussions. Set the world to rights over a good bottle of Shiraz.

There are things in life more important than money, and nowadays I'm happy, my family is happy too, and that's really what it's all about, isn't it?

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Skyring

September 2010

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