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Aug 18

Old my arse

Posted on Monday, August 18, 2008 in Taxi driving

For some reason, other taxi drivers on the rank at the Dart station find me very amusing.  They like to stand in groups and watch me parallel park which fucks up my concentration and gives me the shakes and ultimately leads to embarrassment.  They give me occasional lectures about smoking in my car (technically the cigarette is outside!) and tell me my brake lights need work with much nudging.  It’s definitely not a place for a lady.

That’s why today I was extremely excited to find the rank deserted.  I pulled up first in the queue and seconds later my rear door opened, but when I turned around, there was nobody there.  My rear view mirror told me that there were two little old dears hobbling towards my car however, one supporting the other like best friends. 

They were very happy to see me, being that they’d just been told by another cab company that they’d have to wait for 25 minutes in the pissing rain for another taxi. 

“Ooooh!!  A lady driver!!!  How nice.” the lady in the backseat exclaimed as she fought her stubborn legs into the car.  I get this a lot, it’s a nice buzz.  The other lady plopped herself in to the seat beside me with no effort at all.

“Right.” says she.  “We want to go to Monkstown, and then on into Dublin.”

“Certainly, ladies.”  *WOO-HOO!!!* I thought inside my little head.  Having just come back from the airport, I felt rich.  Sundays are good days for me.

I stuck on some music from the ‘Classycal’ folder on my SatNav and took off.  The lady beside me was quite attractive with her hair-mac off… she wore a bronze bob and posh sunglasses with sparkly flowery stuff on the sides and had on her Sunday best.  She prompted me for personal information which I always give out far too freely and we complained about the weather, all the way into Monkstown.

We pulled up outside an old Georgian house, and I helped the back-seat lady to her feet.  I offered to help her across the road and up the steps (heavily prompted by front-seat lady) but to no avail… she got quite annoyed and said “don’t mind her, I’m fine!  She’s always babying me!” then waved at me and headed off.

Then there were two. 

There was some silence, then…

“Ahh lookit, I’m nearly falling asleep here, have you any dacent music?”

“Sure!!!”  I racked my brains, and waited for a stop-light.  I then began to scroll down the music folder and play snippets of songs for her approval.  Paul Simon?  No.  The Waifs?  No.  Blind Melon?  No.  I cycled through until she stopped me, at Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun.

“I love his voice!  Yes I like this, keep this on.”

I was confused.  Time passed.  To make conversation, I mumbled something like;

“It’s lovely of you to have such concern for a friend, you’re a credit to her.”

“She’s my little sister, sure I worry about her… there were eleven of us to start with, but there aren’t many of us left.”

Now I’m really confused.  I begin to wonder if the lady in my car isn’t extracting the urine.  The lady we’d just dropped off had to be at least 85 years of age, but I couldn’t ask the question.  I knew she was itching to tell me anyway, which she was.

“I’m in my ninety-second year” she said with a grin.

Now, there aren’t many statements that will warrant my taking my eyes off the road for more than two seconds, but this one was an exception.

“Fu… I mean… You can’t be serious?!?!”  I normally hate the ‘guess how old I am!!!’ statement from a fellow female.  It’s a deliberate fish, but this one warranted true amazement. 

“What’s your secret?”

She giggled, and said “I have a good life. I’m well travelled, and I smoke 20 a day.”

“Fair play!!!” I stated. “Where have you been?”

“Everywhere… Germany, France, America, Mexico, Brazil, last year I went to Amsterdam and it was really very excellent indeed!”

“I’m sure it was!”

“The only places I haven’t been yet are Australia and China.  Sure there’s plenty of time for that yet, I suppose.”

Ninety one years old!!!

I was unable to say another word for the rest of the journey, the woman had me speechless.  I dropped her off at her batchelor-ette pad and thanked her for her generous tip as she walked away.  She has made me re-think old age completely, blown my pre-conceived ideas right out.  Maybe I won’t bugger off to Africa where I’ll no longer be a pain in the ass to anybody!  Maybe I’ll follow the advice in a poem my mum told me last week: 

When I am old I will wear purple

Yeah!!!  I’m gonna live it up!!!  I’m gonna have impressive stories to tell taxi drivers when I’m 91 years old coming home from the pub too, and demand that they play The Beastie Boys while we talk.

I officially, from this moment on, do not want to hear anybody complain about being old, because you’re not.  When you’re 93, come back and talk to me, then I’ll listen.  Right now, I’m well impressed.

Bring on the comments

  1. aww that was so sweet

    I love serving and looking after little old dears myself. I think i might take up certain habits that your ladies had. Hmm it just makes me smile reading your blog your a gifted writer katykins.

    Anyway have a wee bit of news myself granddad kevin roberts grandfather is going to reach the grand old age of 100 years young this september im really chuffed about it in a way coz he is such a cool dude and is such a nice person. he takes no shit off anyone calls a spade a spade and i heard this true the grapevine is very fond of the ladies.

    having spend the whole weekend with rob i asked him how does kevin get about in his everyday life. well his in a home well its an apartment over looking galway bay hmm so romantic i know hes fond of his women and he has a glass of whiskey every night. He stands strong like a soldlier and he still reads the newspaper.

    So himself has spend all weekend thinking about what to get kevin for his birthday and i think hes getting him a nice pressy but i think my idea fell thru lets say it involed a cake and me how do you say presenting it to him.

    I think somehow kevin would end up taking a shine to me and i would end up moving down there. hee hee.

  2. She sounds like my great grandmother. She had a fry (bacon, ham, eggs, and grits – southern goodness) every morn, and she ended every day with a ciggy. She was full of spunk up until she died at the auld age of 96!

    Craic is a necessity to a full and pleasurable existence. :)

    Tell those buggers at the rank to suck a big one! Or, you could say, “The sun don’t shine on the same dog’s tail all the time”. It’s southern twang for, “You’ll get what’s coming to ya”! :)

  3. cathy says:

    Came over from Grandad’s a while back, and have been reading and enjoying your blog since. This is a great post, funny and heartwarming. I cherish the Purple poem, and have started saving up for a hat…

  4. Granny says:

    Glad you find driving auld wans exhillerating! Lucky me!

  5. Nick says:

    Thanks for the link, K8. Old people often defy the tired, mindless stereotypes. Yes, some are cantankerous, clapped-out gits at the age of 60 but some are bright as a button and walking to the shops at 101. If you assume oldies are all senile wrecks, the danger is they’ll live up to the stereotypes and become just that. But if you assume they’re still full of life and capable of great things….

  6. Between you and John Braine today it’s all old ladies and arses!

    I feel ill.

  7. Think I might live that long just to piss off my kids, revenge for all the grief courtesy of weather induced boredom on their part.

  8. Granny says:

    Nick I’m a clapped-out git but I’m as bright as a button too!Watch it mate you are not too old for a spanking.

  9. Quickroute says:

    My granny lived to be 99 and until the very end was still chasing her grand kids with a stick when they stepped out of line. Active and sharp as a razor till the end!

  10. Stop smoking in the car , get them brake lights fixed and learn how to parallel park, old people are cool, I wish they’d stop taking when the meter goes off though! /then they’re on MY time!

  11. K8 says:

    Vicki; Wow! Congrats to Kevin! Looks like you may have a sugar-daddy there – go for it!!!

    Jefferson; Ah the lads on the rank are ok really, they just need to get used to the novelty! Make that craic and guinness! I hear a bottle a day keeps the pall bearers away.

    Cathy; Hi and welcome! I’m just trying to work out the age when one stops being crazy and becomes accentric?

    Ma; YER NOT AN AUL’ ONE!!!

    Nick; … like that lady who got a computer degree at the age of 95? Or the octogenarians swimming in the Irish sea on Christmas day?! I agree, these people put neurosis to shame.

    Xbox4NappyRash; *sigh* Internet Explorer cannot display johnbraine.com. Typical!!!!!

    Thriftcriminal; Hell yes… the second childhood sounds very sweet indeed.

    Quickroute; Good on her!! I thought crosswords were the answer to retaining a sharp mind, but I’m delighted to hear that sticks are just as effective:)

  12. K8 says:

    Roy; I don’t smoke in the car!!! I was sitting in the driver’s seat leaning outside, writing down the aul’ thoughts… me fag was well outside workplace boundaries! Also, for the record, I am an excellent parallel parker… possibly the best in the whole world in fact, so there. It’s just not a good spectator sport, is all.
    Wafflers can be tricky, alright, especially the slightly crazy ones, bless ’em.

  13. Slam! I’m impressed. I JUST wrote a whiney “old” post on Friday, and I may have to retract. Girl’s got game!

  14. Granny says:

    I’m older than you are!

  15. K8 says:

    Hi Laurie! I love your last blog post- such an excellent tribute to Xbox’s writing, I was glued to your stories about adoption and motherhood, such a lovely story:) You have a new lurker!

    Ma; Yeah but I’m catching up.

  16. Tinman18 says:

    Hi K8

    This post really helped me yesterday – so much so that I wrote my own post about it –

    http://tinman18.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/thanks-k8-thats-gr8/

    Hope I don’t embarrass you :)

    Tinman

  17. K8 says:

    Hi Tinman! No embarrassment – I’m well chuffed!! So happy to make your blog’s aquaintance:)

  18. Mary Witzl says:

    I personally loathe cigarette smoke (grew up around a lot of it and all), but my grandfather smoked and he lived to 89. My husband’s granny smoked unfiltered cigarettes and dearly loved her whisky, and she lived to a ripe old age. She used to let her little grandsons shoot her smoked-to-the-butt fags right out of her mouth with their rubber bands. I aspire to be that kind of little old lady too. Maybe I’ll buy those fake candy cigarettes and pretend to smoke them.

    My husband and I once met a couple in their mid nineties who were ‘touring’ England in their posh old car. We were all having a drink in a pub at the time, and this couple were wonderful: politically active, interested in everybody and everything. Great role models.

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