Sometimes conversations with perfect strangers are just the best. I have found myself secretly craving for such conversations because of their unique features (I.E) they are often short, straight to the point, honest and depending on who you are chatting with, such little conversations are capable of transforming your perceptions on certain things, lifting your spirits or just making you have a great day.
I get to travel from time to time either for work or for my personal adventure. As such, I find myself taking taxis either from train stations or airports to my hotel or meeting venue depending on the purpose for the trip. These are short rides that last not longer than 20 minutes. I have observed that every time I sit at the back of a cab, conversations rarely happen with the taxi driver apart from informing the driver the address or post code of my destination. But on occasions where I have sat in the front seat of a cab I end up engaging in great conversations and I can tell you that I have had some of the best conversations with taxi drivers during this sporadic moments. Most of this men (yet to take a cab driven by a female) seem to have the best sense of humour when talking about any subject matter including when they are hitting on you.
I have had the privilege to be the passenger of men I would describe to be full of wisdom and who, by virtue of their profession, can tell you great stories about their city. They are all proud of their city and most will tell you that it’s the best place to live on earth. I have found out that some of them are deep thinkers, highly opinionated and never fall short of providing their passenger with insights from diverse topics ranging from politics, relationship advice, money and investment opportunities, to career path and life, which is my favourite topic. I have also never met people who are happy to tell you about their life stories and dreams as quickly as some of these taxi drivers.
These conversation always remind me to appreciate life and live for the moment. Such conversations have also taught me not to take myself seriously. It’s like having 20 minutes session with a therapist and not getting billed. I recently read an article that accused London taxi drivers of being too chatty and were advised to learn when to ‘keep quite’. I feel this is rather too harsh a statement to make and its unfair that taxi drivers who are great conversationalist do not get the accolades they deserve. These drivers have perfected the art of making small talks. They are skilled at turning a frown into a smile or giving you that much-needed boost when you are on your way to give the presentation of your life. They could also be the foundation upon which your travel adventure will be based on.
I have come to view taxi drivers as ambassadors of their cities and if I were a Mayor, most of them (not all) will have the key to their cities because many of them, in their own unique ways, touch the heart of so many people on a daily basis. But this is with the hope that the taxi drivers are as awesome as some of the ones that have crossed my path in time past – including the two who made my trip to Manchester this week a memorable one . While I may not know or remember their faces or names after a day or two, I have no doubt that our 20 minutes conversations will linger until the next time I get into another cab.