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.