How did your Melways get like that?

You sometimes hear stories about how taxi drivers drive like maniacs. Certainly my driving instructor reckons I should be on the look-out for them (as well as people driving company cars from a certain well-known very large telephone company that recently floated on the stock exchange…)

My own experience with taxi drivers is that some of them do drive like maniacs. Some of them drive very sensibly. And some of them drive very cautiously. Just like "normal" people. Of course, it’s generally the maniacs that you remember, because of that helpless feeling that your life is in grave peril and you can’t do anything about it!

We took two taxis on Friday night. As it happened, the second did drive like a bit of a maniac, but we made it back in one piece. The first drove quite sensibly, but what was funny was that we got talking with him, and he mentioned where he got his battered, bent old Melways*.

Out of a burning taxi wreck.

There was silence after he said that. We were wondering if he had been driving it. He was wondering why the hell he’d told us that.

The rest of my weekend was reasonably uneventful. On Saturday morning we hit the dentist, and came away with our mouths and wallets remarkably unscathed, it was just a check-up and clean. On Saturday afternoon another driving lesson – the fourth – I think I’m finally getting the hang of the whole gear and clutch thing, though my sister, who took me out for a spin on Sunday arvo, may take a bit of convincing.

*(actually it’s strictly speaking "Melway", but everybody calls it the "Melways"). The predominant street directory of Melbourne. Everybody uses it – emergency services, taxi drivers, anybody who has to get around. For Melburnians it’s more of a bible than a street directory. It’s got everything, everywhere, and how to get to it. Anybody who is scummy and buys a cheaper Gregory’s or UBD instead is only asking for trouble.

See: Melway/Ausway publishing

On Sunday we set out with friends to see if we could eat an entire Limor’s entree each. It’s impossible. This place could feed impoverished nations with its leftovers. You have never seen food servings so enormous. There were more chips than a superconductor factory. I reckon that place must hold the record the consumption of doggy bags. I ate all I could, and only managed to get through half of my entree sized dish. Quite frankly the thought of how big the main sized dish would be simply frightens me.

Meanwhile despite my casual attitude earlier in the week about not having a job to go to on Monday morning, I’ve actually been quite stressed about it. I’m out of work. Yikes. I know it’s meant to be a relatively normal thing for computer contractors, and the lack of earnings isn’t actually a problem (yet), but it’s just not something I’m used to. So come Monday I’ll be attacking the job hunting with a vengeance.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.