Catching a cab
By: Erin Rooney
There are some nights out that you'll never forget. The types of night you can talk about for weeks afterwards. New dance moves are invented (yes, even 'Killing the chicken') and unlikely friends hook up and that embarrassing picture you keep having to un-tag on Facebook was taken.
When you think back to nights like these, the first memory that comes into your head isn't likely to be the journey there. But even though you might struggle to recall it, the taxi driver that took you probably does.
If you think of every journey you've ever taken to and from a club, the time adds up. And after being together so frequently, what must our drivers think of us? Have you already developed blossoming friendships with your taxi drivers from the start of Welcome Week, becoming regular passengers on first-name terms? I doubt it.
For the majority of us, the blurred journeys down to Hess are probably not going to be our finest hours. Not only do drivers have to witness the drunken beginnings to our nights, but they also have to contend with whatever state we try to return in. And even though the clubs or bars we go to might be different, there seem to be several common features of the student taxi ride.
Firstly, and typically favoured by big groups of girls, are the karaoke sing-along style journeys. The first demand to the driver is, "Can we have the radio on?" followed by “Turn it up!” shouted every five minutes from the back seat. Whether it’s a Beyoncé ballad or the latest Katy Perry, the singing is sure to be out of tune, the volume ear-splitting and the lyrics pretty much indistinguishable. It’s obviously a musical delight for the stone-cold sober driver in the front.
Another strangely common feature of a girls’ night taxi ride is for all the passengers to take on the role of private detective into the driver’s life. Drunkenly repeating "What's your name?" "Are you married?" and "How many children do you have?" may feel like you're making a new best friend, but it probably just comes across as irritating to your tired driver.
Having said that, when a driver is keen to chat, you can get into a genuine discussion about all sorts of topics very quickly. In my first taxi journey in Hamilton, after hearing one of the passengers was Australian, the driver preceded to tell us the detailed story of his recent month-long relationship with a tall woman from Sydney and how when he found true love, he became a committed, one-woman man. All of this in the space of a ten minute journey.
Probably the worst danger of the student taxi ride, and one I'm sure many of us are guilty of, is the common danger of passenger sickness (always conveniently masked as a “food-related” illness). On asking friends if they had any interesting taxi stories to share, the first response of most of them was something along the lines of, "I was once sick out of the window in a taxi."
How many times has the reassuring "I promise they aren't as drunk as they look" excuse actually resulted in illness? With all this in mind, the fact that so many drivers are still friendly to students is something of a miracle.
So, to the taxi drivers of Hamilton, I salute you in advance for putting up with us staggering in and out of your cars this year. And I promise, the next time I enter one of your cars, I will be quieter with my singing and more discreet with my drink.