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On Plastic Surgeons And Taxi Drivers

drive safelyI am very lucky to be able to sit down at my desk and write this post today.

I could have been somewhere completely different – and it wouldn’t have been a place of my choice.

We woke up to a lovely, sunny morning – not very hot, but warm enough to remind us it was still summer.  Given that it rained most of the day yesterday, it was a  welcome change.  Our plan for the day was simple – I had to take my son to the doctor’s in the morning and we had the rest of the day to play and enjoy ourselves.

The doctor’s clinic was about a 20-minute drive away and not terribly easy to get to by public transport, so we took a taxi. The journey started off well, not much traffic, so we were running slightly ahead of time.  The driver was a nice guy – probably in his 60-ties and very chatty, unlike some grumpy types you get  sometimes.

Once I told him we were going to the doctor’s, he started talking about a plastic surgeon who apparently had a clinic not far away and from where he often picked up his fares.  He started discussing various types of plastic surgery procedures, which apparently he learned about from TV documentaries.

I was growing increasingly curious and a bit uncomfortable as to why he was going into so much detail about all these things – was he on the plastic surgeon’s commission?  Did he think my appearance was seriously lacking?  Was he going to kidnap me and my son and take us straight to the plastic surgeon’s office? (OK, this last point is a bit exaggerated, but you get the picture).  I tried not to encourage the conversation, but he just kept going on and on and on… and to make things worse, he kept looking at me in his rear view mirror, presumably to see what reaction he was getting…

YOU DON’T DO THAT SORT OF THING WHEN YOU DRIVE.

A rear view mirror is there for a quick glance to make sure a driver is fully aware of the situation on the road.  It is not intended for the purpose of facilitating a bit of a chit-chat with a passenger – whether a fare-paying or not.  Yet, this is exactly what our taxi driver was doing.

The next thing I knew, was a sudden jolt, screeching tyres, sharp turn right and a massive concrete lamp-post heading straight at me.  Just as I started seeing things in slow motion, another screech and sharp turn, this time left, to narrowly escape smashing into the concrete post.  Another sharp turn right, heading for a bus-stop, hitting a kerb really hard and finally stopping…

It was like a Grand Slalom coming to an abrupt end.  Or a mad car-chase from a Bond film.  My son sat next to me at the back of the taxi, terrified and shaking.  I was telling him that nothing had happened and that we were all right…

Now I know why I always wear a seat belt.

We must have been on the Lord’s good books today – we could have been easily hit by another car while trying to avoid the lamp-post or collided with a bus if one happened to be coming in as we hurtled towards the bus stop… Thankfully, no-one was hurt and the only damage to the car was a mangled-up wheel from hitting the kerb.

Thank you, Lord, for saving us today.

I am truly grateful I am still here and able to write these  words.

I don’t mind chatty taxi drivers, as long as they KEEP THEIR EYES ON THE ROAD, not the rear-view mirror.

Next time, though, if a driver starts talking to me about plastic surgeons, I might ask him to stop the car and let me out.

I don’t want a plastic surgeon – or any surgeon, for that matter.

10 thoughts on “On Plastic Surgeons And Taxi Drivers

    1. Thank you for coming back and reading again, Lux :). Funny we all know the ‘don’t distract the driver’, but don’t often think about drivers distracting themselves….

    1. Thanks Alice – hitting anything is not a pleasant experience, I’m glad it was only your car that suffered from that lamppost encounter! It must have been scary for you, though. I once got out of my car forgetting to put the handbrake on, there was a very, very slight slope and my car started rolling towards another car parked a few feet away. Somehow, I managed to jump back in and pull the handbrake on; my car stopped literally within an inch of hitting the parked car in front… my knees felt like jelly for good half an hour after that. I am a bit obsessive about checking my handbrake now! Just like you said – it only takes a second. 🙂

  1. Wow. What a story, glad to hear you and your son are doing ok!
    I have such a fear of drivers and cars and trusting other people behind the wheel. (I don’t know how I was blessed to have my husband who is not only a good driver but also understanding of my phobia and doesn’t get snippy when I point out the obvious like ‘watch out for that person crossing the street’ as if he’s blind). But that’s what happens when we get into cabs, we are trusting a total stranger with our lives, freaks me out! I basically HAD TO take taxis for some parts of my job and didn’t feel that comfortable doing so (luckily most drivers were alright, other than asking me for directions which I am the worst at giving them). I look up reviews for everything I possibly can, from doctors to products. I wish taxi’s came with a rating over their head so you know what you are getting into. I’m not sure if the newer taxi app companies are starting to do that.

    1. Curious, is it a law there to wear your seatbelt? Here it’s not for the backseat and we have to push people to put it on or we won’t drive. I wish it were a law so we could just use that against them. UGH. Glad you took the precaution either way.

      1. Hi Vanessa, in the UK a legal requirement to wear a seatbelt came into effect in 1983. The law states that a seatbelt ‘must be worn if fitted’, both it front and rear of the car. Only very old cars didn’t have seatbelts, and many had them retro-fitted, so pretty much you always have to wear it. This applies to children (combined with an appropriate child car seat) and adults. It is a driver’s legal responsibility to ensure that any passenger aged under 14 wears a seatbelt. There is also a legal requirement to wear a seatbelt on a mini-bus, they all have them these days. There are very few specific exceptions, e.g. pregnant women, passengers in police or emergency rescue vehicles, licensed taxi drivers while on a job – but passengers in a taxi must wear one. To me, it has become a second nature and I don’t even think about it – it’s a ‘seat belt, start the engine, drive’ 🙂

    2. I never thought about this before, but you are absolutely right, Vanessa – getting into a taxi we trust complete strangers with our lives, we have no idea how well they can drive, whether they worked a late night shift and are exhausted, or had a drink the previous night. Strangely enough, in the UK it is legal to drive after you’ve had a drink – the alcohol limit for drivers is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. Given that people react to even small amounts of alcohol differently, and being tired can make it even worse, I think drink-driving should be made completely illegal. I don’t think it will happen, though.

  2. This reminds me of the time I drove my daughter to school before my morning coffee. She casually commuted, “mom, whenever you hit a parked car, it is always your fault.” Paying attention is so important. Happy you were not hurt.

    1. Thank you, Candess. Yes, paying attention is extremely important. Sometimes it can take a split second to get into serious trouble…

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