Feb. 21st, 2010

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I'd like to welcome my long-time colleague and co-driver, PeskiePete, to the blog, with this wonderful dream run.

We share the same car, but he has all the fun and takes the great photographs. Dawn over Canberra and Pete's out on the road, camera in hand, angling for the perfect shot. Me, I'm punching out zeds when the sun comes up, and when it goes down, I'm also flat out.

I couldn't ask for a better co-driver, actually. The cab's always clean and sparkling and fresh. The highlight of my day is taxi shift changeover, when we chat for a few minutes about the passengers, the car, the city, the weather.

It's been pretty perfect the past few days. The late summer skies are clear and blue, the lawns are green, the trees just starting to get a hint of a tint. The politicians, the public servants, the students and cadets are all back in town and it's bumper times for cabbies.

And now life just got rosier with my co-blogger signing on to write when I'm sleeping.

Welcome, PeskiePete!

–Skyring, night driver
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[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="My life"]My life[/caption]

Twice a night I get to chat with one of the late night service station console operators. I go in at midnight to fill up and again at the end of a shift to top up the tank and clean the car. Usually it's just a few words as I run the card through the machine and grab the docket.

"How's your night going? Wet out there! Time to go home!" Just a few words.

Poor old operators. They have to keep the shop tidy and stocked up, hose down the forecourt, keep the windscreen wash buckets full and fresh, coil up the vacuum hose neatly, empty the litter bins and about a million other things.

Oh yeah. And serve the customers coming in for gas and late night snacks. They rarely get a moment to scratch themselves, even in the wee small hours.

Occasionally I'll pull in and one of the operators will be sitting down outside, well away from the bowsers, having a quiet fag. His moment of rest and he's got to get up and turn the pump on for me.

I get out and go over to him and chat until he's finished his smoke. A minute out of my night mostly spent waiting for things to happen is nothing compared to the sweet indulgence of an unbroken cigarette for a console jockey.

We were sitting there, just enjoying the still, when a man comes running in from the darkness, smack into the automatic door, which of course was locked while the operator was outside. He looked around, and my companion sighed, got up, handed me the cigarette.

"He wants a packet of smokes," I smiled. These late night cravings hit the nicotine addict hard.

I watched as the customer was served and made a quick exit, running away into the night.

"That was quick," I said, as the console guy retrieved his smoke. "He needed his tobacco, yeah?"

"Nah, condoms."
skyring: (Default)

Saturday is the day when I go out there and give 1.00 percent.

After a long week of long shifts, Saturday is my day for not caring. I do random stuff, maybe go shopping with my wife, a little housework, a lot of napping, reading the papers, drinking tea and just winding waaaaay down.

Sunday I might have my energy levels back up again, but Saturday is me winding down and enjoying family life.

Actually, I was out and about at 1030, fresh and shaven and making passable conversation with folk from the School of Practical Philosophy. This is the mob I stop work for every Wednesday night for two hours or so, and they have gotten me thinking some deep thoughts. Today was a Saturday session. Tea and cake and philosophy at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture as we learnt about the founder of the school and discussed some of his teachings.

I staid awake long enough to do some serious thinking. Odd that philosophy would help a cabbie, but there it is. I find the stress just eases away. I keep my mind focused on the job in hand, concentrate on the driving, do my very best to keep the passenger happy, finish the fare with smiles all round.

Happy passenger equals happy cabbie. That's my philosophy.

In odd moments, I registered yet another domain name and did some housework to set up a new site. Not sure how it will pan out yet, but it will involve me, my co-driver, Twitter and a Taxi and it may lead to a series of grand adventures.

Stay tuned!


Bonus video

skyring: (Default)
Another quintessential American meal in the heart of the nation: http://hogjowls.com/food/song-america


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