Saturday, March 29, 2014

Taxi

The Gorse Fox requested a taxi to take him to the airport. A few minutes later a medium sized Fiat lurched to a stop and a tall, slim, swarthy driver, wearing dark glasses and a moustache modelled on on countless Hollywood westerns stepped out and invited GF to place his bag in the boot.

It was 32c and that car was hot - he muttered something about the air conditioning - turned a dial, kicked the footwell and hammered on the dashboard. A few moment later a breath of cool air, as if from an asthmatic butterfly, wafted into the back. The Gorse Fox felt this was likely to be a long drive. As it happens it was drive divided in three distinct phases: housekeeping, football, and music.

In phase one, Marco decided that some housekeeping was necessary so as we entered the dodgem arena (or road system as we would call it) he started to tidy the car. Moving CDs and placing them into their sleeves and then into a zip-up bag. Then moving the bag to a cubby hole in front of him. Then he moved a remote control from the there to seat, and started to shuffle papers - sorting them into piles and putting clips on them before placing them in the glove compartment. All the while the car was lurch through the traffic, screeching to an abrupt halt a few millimetres behind the car in front, or swinging wildly across lanes as gaps opened up. Gorse Fox was concerned that March was not devoting his full attention to his primary task.

In phase two GF broached the subject of football - a fairly safe topic in Brazil. He then got a lecture on the magnificence that was Palmeiras - Marco's team. GF could offer no comment, having never seen them nor really being aware of them beyond their name. This however, had loosened his tongue and given him the opportunity to practice his English. By now, also the traffic was opening up. This was not, necessarily a good thing as we moved into...

Phase three where Marco, stimulated by a Boy George track on the radio explained that he was a classical guitarist and played classical music (Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi) on electric and acoustic guitars. In Hoffnung's words "at this point I must have lost my presence of mind", for the Gorse Fox made the fateful mistake of replying that he too loved good guitar music. There followed a litany of great guitarists and bands. Somewhat more worryingly he bent almost double to rummage for his zip-up bag of CDs and started to page through them. Out came a CD and, at volume that could be heard on the International Space Station, Toccata and Fugue blasted out of the car, followed by Beethoven's Fifth. This was troubling enough as GF was concerned as passers-by covered their ear and screamed in pain - more worryingly, however, was Marco's insistence on demonstrating the fingering (by both hands) on his air guitar. As the music changed and keyboards took over - the air guitar was discarded for a air-keyboards, and as the music changed to Santana, the dashboard became a substitute for the tablas and congo drums. During this stage of the journey, the Gorse Fox doubts that Marco touch the steering wheel for more than a minute or two in the 40 minutes it lasted. GF was caught between the emotions of utter terror, and total amusement.

This was a taxi drive that GF will long remember. Scared out of his wits, but wouldn't have missed it for the world. The car lurched to a halt and as GF grabbed his bags a sour faced woman barked an order at Marco, and climbed into the back of the taxi - GF suspects that one of the two of them was in for a very different ride back to the City.

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