Wednesday, August 05, 2009


... so Monday was a cruise: I'd accumulated exactly $110.00 worth of dockets, credit card receipts etc., meaning that the shift cost me only the price of a tank of gas ($15.00) and I could keep the rest of the takings for myself. I went out hoping to get as many cash fares as I could and that's how it worked out ... only one person all night paid with a card. It is of course not possible absolutely to determine something like this, but if you avoid the ranks at the big end of town and don't stop for anyone wearing a suit, well, maybe. About 9 pm there's always a lull, I'm up the Junction with nothing going on when suddenly I remember there's a game on at the Sydney Football Stadium that might be ending right about now. Off I scoot down Moore Park Road and the timing's perfect, they're all just starting to spill from the gates. I get hailed immediately and, luck happens, the two blokes are, respectively, a Manly and a Wests Tigers fan. A Fibro and a Silvertail. Manly gets in the front, looking gloomy, and Wests (chipper) in the back; it went 19-18 to the Tigers. Don't look so surprised ... Wests in the back chides me when I react - I live in Summer Hill, which is more or less heartland Wests, but have a soft spot for Manly and thought the game would probably go their way. Not that I really care, it's just an interest of mine. Anyhow. These two blokes are going over the northside, one to Neutral Bay, the other to Manly, and they're like a well-rehearsed comedy routine, with Manly the straight guy and Wests the joker. Are you allowed to wear beanies on the North Shore? he asks. No. What about a bloke in a Wests Tigers jersey (he is) that has a missing tooth (he does)? Are they gonna beat up on me? Yes ... They're so dry that it's amusing for a while in a low key sort of way but soon gets tiresome and I don't really mind when they decide they'll both hop out at The Oaks on Military Road to have a few more drinks. I think I'll call it a night now, but as I'm steaming up Oxford Street intending to take a right into Flinders and on to Randwick to fill up with gas, I get hailed by a fellow outside the Oxford Hotel on the corner there. A ride's a ride and he isn't wearing a suit so I pull over. He's a tall, dishevelled looking bloke with facial hair, quite young, and as he folds himself into the front seat says he wants to go to Double Bay. I see that he's got an i-phone or a palm pilot, maybe a Blackberry, in his hand but don't think any more about it until I hear him say: You're angry with me, aren't you? I nearly jump out of my seat and am about to deny it when I realise he's actually talking into his phone, which is jammed to his other ear, the one I can't see. Then he starts making hand signals at me, that I don't understand, until I figure out that he's telling lies to his wife and doesn't want me to contradict him ... not that I would or could but it's something to do with how soon he'll be home and where we are so, at a very long stretch, that might involve me somehow. Naturally I eavesdrop on the rest of the conversation and am rewarded by hearing him tell her that a guy the Agency (advertising I think) hired only the other day has just been fired because, get this, he has a history OE of stalking super models and the like, people whom he's supposed to be acting for, there are court cases heading his way, they can't have someone like him on board ... so far so good, he gets off the phone eventually and explains again about the lies, he told her we were already in Double Bay when we're hardly out of Rushcutters. The distances and times involved are so small that I think that maybe, like some people I have known, lying is a habit with him that he simply can't help indulging. Then he makes another call: Mate, did something happen with Helen today? he begins. Yeah I think it might be a question of finances. I've been in a meeting for the last two hours and haven't had a chance to talk to her yet but I will, mate, later tonight, and get the full story and call you back ... Dude, for my part, Buddy, you were right on the money, the way you handled the talent, the actresses, you've got the right approach, I'd have you on my team any day, you were awesome, just awesome, so cool, Dude, right on the money ... it is of course the guy who's been fired that he's talking to and he goes on OTT like this the rest of the way to Double Bay. In fact he's still talking when he gets out of the cab opposite the Golden Sheaf, having shuffled me a 20 and a couple of gold coins and accepted a 10 in change. While I head up New South Head to the turn off to Bellevue Road and climb the dark, twisting road, past the somnolent houses of the rich, some of which are no doubt built on lies, while Skip McDonald croons ... these are demon days / can't you see / it's a time of chaos, rage and anxiety ... up to the Junction and on to The Spot in Randwick to fill up and then head home.