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Dec 3

Fight or flight or Damn good acting

Posted on Monday, December 3, 2007 in Hackney Cabbing, Jobs, Something to think about

It’s a dangerous world out there, but of course I don’t need to tell you that. Violence is horrifying, so we all do our best to prepare ourselves and our loved ones for the likelihood of personal attacks. Self-defence is by far the most under-advertised health product.

In my little head, I am a fearsome bitch. I’ve lain in bed awake on a few occasions imaging scenarios. A shadow would slowly creep up the walls of my bedroom, and a dark figure with a knife would suddenly appear at the threshold. I’d leap up, grab my highly flammable bodyspray can and lighter, stand defiantly on the mattress and say ‘Not. This. Family.’ in my best dry emotionless tone (as defined by Kevin Spacey in the Usual Suspects). I would then give a brief demonstration of my home-made flamethrower just to seal the deal. Said robber would then pee his pants and either grovel or turn tail.

I’ve walked a dark street and imagined that four brothers from the gutter have crept up behind me. My imaginary acting skills would guide me to safety by denying the assailants of my fear. I would shout gibberish into mid air, then proceed to stick my fingers down my throat. Once I had managed to regurgitate, I would then sit on the pavement and start to play with the diced carrots. That would be enough hopefully to freak out even the toughest of bastards.

If there were one man instead of four, of course I would try out some Uma Therman moves as learned from Kill Bill. I would karate chop their windpipe with the tips of my fingers, then kick the assailant in the gonads. As he doubles over, I would then deliver a knee to the forehead. Perfect, but unlikely. Happily though, there is no such thing as ‘unlikely’ in my imagination. Who really knows what our bodies will do against our better judgement in a fight or flight situation unless we’ve been tested before?


I’m taking my Public Service Vehicle license test on the 11th. I want to be a taxi-driver, and do my bit for the country by motoring both disabled and fully functional people around Wicklow. My car’s already adapted, so it makes sense. The Accidental Terrorist has already passed his test so is now a bonafide Taxi driver. He will be working at night, but is more than capable of defending himself against drunken attacks.

If I pass this test, I’ll be doing the day-shifts. These are infinately safer than night-shifts, but still not totally devoid of risky situations. You never know when you’ll come across a belligerent old bitch with a can of mace who’ll do anything for a discount, or some weirdo dressed up as an accountant who thinks you need to see his ‘special purpose’.

The thing is, though, it’s quite difficult to defend oneself from a driver’s seat. There’s no room to build up enough momentum for a good punch, and the handbrake might get in the way of a half-nelson attempt. I’m not allowed to use weapons of course, so I’m kind of stumped.

My questions are… Have you ever been involved in a car-seat fight? Have you seen any films which involve this sort of scenario? What are the most effective intimidating props you can think of, that can be used to ward off the madmen?

I would also be very interested to hear about key-ring attatchments. Do they make taiser guns small enough?

Bring on the comments

  1. Deborah says:

    K8 I think I have some of those fantasies too. I figure worst case scenario I can always resort to that final Karate Kid move you know?

    Best of luck on your test!

    They make little Mace canisters that attach to key chains. I met a bloke once who was very proud of his. Sad.

  2. Medbh says:

    I’d second the suggestion to get pepper spray of something but don’t have it on your key chain because you won’t be able to use it while the keys are in the ignition. Keep it in your jacket pocket. There’s the creepy killer in “The Vanishing” (the original) who practices how to knock women out with the soaked hanky. But since she didn’t survive that’s probably not helpful.

  3. Grannymar says:

    A can of hairspray will do ib the meantime!

  4. SID says:

    Punters will love your taxi especially when they see you playing with their vomit as they throw up on a Fri/Sat night.

    Never had a car seat fight.

    I am however very experienced at using my back stroke swimming technique to get at the fighting earthangels in the back seat. Does that count?

  5. K8 says:

    Deborah; !!! You could always try the five-finger heart-stopping technique!

    Medbh; I could always try sticking on a Daniel O’Donnell CD. Police might find the bottles of chloroform a bit sussed if they found them.

    Grannymar; But think of the upholstery!

    SID; Yes it counts! I’ve used the “If you get in my way and get hit, it’s your fault!” trick many many times.

  6. Brianf says:

    I keep a Military Policeman’s baton in-between the drivers seat and center console but why not just mount twin M16-A4’s on the passenger seat driven by infra-red and motion detectors so they track any movements by your fares in the back seat. Brings a whole new meaning to “Get in, shut up and hang on”. Now either Galco or Uncle Mike’s make a seat belt holster for a pistol, where the holster attaches to the seat belt so it’s readily available.
    I like the idea of having hypodermic needles mounted under the rear seat that inject your passengers with a lethal neuro-toxin and only if they pay their fare and leave you a nice tip do they get the antidote. Or maybe, you can keep a couple of rabid dogs under the seat and with the flick of a switch release them into the back of the car.
    Oh, wait! Mount one of those boxing gloves on a scissor type extension arm that goes, “BOINK”, when it deploys!
    There you go. A couple of good ideas.

  7. Methinks that whole post was only to put up that hilarious picture!
    At any rate, like, you rock, grrl, totes.

  8. Kirk M says:

    I did 4 years as a Taxi Driver in and about the mountains of Vermont…it’s…uh…an interesting experience to say the least. Much luck to you.

    And I love that flame thrower although if I built one over here and tested it like he did, I’d probably be arrested and thrown in jail.

    Still, methinks I’ll visit my local hardware store. :P

  9. Roy says:

    Days although safer are a lot more stressful, with everyone that gets into your cab late for a meeting, plane, train and putting the responsibility onto you for getting them out of bother.

    seat fighting …….practice whacking the headrest with your knuckles directly from it’s perch on the steering wheel, find the right position and be ready to throw it instantly,

    buy cheap deodorant for rear seat attacks, again practice spraying it one handed at the rear headrests, doubles up as a “puke stink replacer”

  10. I have 2 children. Never underestimate what a REALLY loud noise (such as sprogs 1&2 in concert) will do to a person in the confined space of a car. Ear plugs and a rape alarm will do it I reckon.

    On another note, may favourite self defence story comes from my aunt. She was working as a girl groom and living alone in her 20s. One night she arrived home to find a bloke sitting on her bed wearing one of her tights over his head and holding a knife from the kitchen. She launched herself at him, took the knife from him and screamed at him to get the fuck out of her house. Luckily it went in her favour. They key is do not follow their script. And noise. Very loud noise.

  11. JackMcMad says:

    Taxi Driver eh? Under normal circumstances that would put you on my hitlist. Only for I knew you before you turned to the dark side k8.

    Personal body alarms can be quite effective and give you the necessary seconds to get out of a sticky situation or the quick application of the brakes can jam an attacker between the front seats, but I can send you plans and circuit diagrams to electrify your back seats at the push of a button on the steering wheel, completely immobilising the intending attacker for as long as you want although you may have to clean up a bit of a mess afterwards when they’ve soiled themselves.

    Best of luck with the test and in the new career! What sort of Taxi Driver do you think you’ll make? The smiley happy entertaining one or the moaney pain in the hole one?

  12. A cannon in the passenger seat, its barrel peeking cheekily over the top of the seat and into the fare’s face.

    Good luck on your test.

  13. K8 says:

    Brian; I knew I could count on you to bring out the big guns, so to speak. Might integrate your ideas into a Rottweiler mounted on a scissors type extension arm, cleverly concealed next to the air-bag. Nice.

    Sixty; Like… back atcha bub!

    Kirk M; Isn’t it tempting? Great for lighting candles and solving pidgeon problems, too.

    Roy; Deodorant in the eye is a mighty fine deterrent. I like it a lot. I will practice your seat fighting techniques, these could also help with road rage frustration and ‘calm-the-fuck-down’ messages to stressed out businessmen.

    Thriftcriminal; Noise! Of course… I hadn’t thought of that. Might try playing Bjork’s music at full volume.
    Fair play to your Aunt!!! The force must be strong in her. In that situation I think my force would be cowering behind the fridge.

    JackMcMad; I love circut diagrams! Send them anyway :)
    I’m not sure what sort of driver I’d be. I’m aiming to be a conversational guru who can inadvertently charge extra cash just so the punter can finish hearing my point of view. I’m also a bit schizophrenic which can make trips very interesting indeed.

    Brian; Denny Crane!

    Sam; Very effective! Also good for traffic light starts what with the forward trajectory an’ all.

    Thanks to all of you for the good lucks! I think I will need most of this luck getting to the test centre on time given the state of the traffic and roadworks into Wexford Town. I shall have to leave at 7am to get there for 9.30, so I will be a very crabby little bint indeed.

  14. K8 says:

    Bingo :)

    Thanks Daz!

  15. […] this is it. This is the story of one of my worst fears coming true. It’s a good thing I came prepared! It’s difficult to write because it’s still fresh and it gives me palpitations just to […]

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