Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Extraordinary Coolness of the Ordinary.

I’ve seen many things whilst doing my job. Batman and Robin arguing outside a pub about who had the fags. Someone punching my cab at thirty miles an hour and hearing his hand crack. I’ve watched disastrous break ups of woman-woman, man-man, man-woman, trans-man. Casual sex being agreed upon and settled like a business transaction for just the one night by most of the above. Y’now, ordinary.

  The above is de rigueur on any drug and drink fuelled night out in any town. Acts of carnal contract and agreement will be told and reminisced as being quite cool by many. A badge of coolness. If your famous enough, your particularly weird animal acts of copulation may even make the weekly magazines. It’s not really cool though is it? Nah! Not cool at all.

But I have seen, truly, the coolest of things…

  I watched, recently, standing by my cab door an incredibly attractive, tall woman tell her husband the marriage is over, she went on to remove her rings, bracelets and hand the keys to the car to her mocking, argumentative soon to be ex husband. I’ve heard all that before, many times, but what separated it from the others was what happened next. She went on to step out of the dress she was wearing and hand it to her husbands already full hands. Did a twirl in her immaculate and heart stopping underwear as if to say this is the last time you get to see this, open my rear door, got in and I drove away. She sat silent, no tears, no fear, just wistfully looking out at the world that was passing by. No doubt pondering a new happier future. I got her home, she paid me and she walked up her drive semi naked holding a small handbag and a smile. This small movie played itself out in front of me.

That was cool.

  I’ve seen a young girl wearing a short skirt, legs covered in eczema going for a night out in the town, not giving a toss for what others will think and the comments she WILL get.

That was cool.

  I’ve seen a paraplegic man punch a bloke in the nuts for disrespecting his girlfriend who was dutifully pushing him in his wheelchair.

That was cool.

Some people are cool because they have an attitude to life that is impressive beyond words…

  I took an elderly man home from the hospital he discharged himself from. I dared ask why he did it, he told me he had terminal cancer and had at best a couple of weeks left and didn’t want it spent in a hospital or hospice bed being fawned on. We chatted and laughed for about fifteen minutes as I slowly, deliberately meandered my way to his home, he was smiling and more alive the nearer we got there. When we arrived he paid me and I helped him out.  It was uncomfortable to watch a man in such pain. His wife at the doorway never budged, willing him on but knew the walk to his own front door had to be his own.

  They held each other in the doorway not letting go, he crumpled slightly, I went to run to grab him, she held her hand out and stopped me, I walked back and stood by the cab, it was twilight and crispy cold, the sky a wonderful deep blue above their bungalow, just my headlights lighting his well kept and proud front garden, I was transfixed and tearful, knowing that this union in the doorway will soon fade away into just a memory…

That was cool.

  I was privileged to witness a similar moment with a Mum and her teenage son who, equally and stubbornly discharged himself from hospital, his time short. A big bag of pain relief in his hand and holding a small bottle of oxygen, small tubes strapped to his nose. His Mum cradled him in the back of the cab, he was thin and very frail and I made an effort not to hit any potholes or bumps in our badly kept roads for him. She told him he could have whatever he wanted and whomever he wanted to come and see him at home right up till his time. He paused, took in a struggled breath and said “Can I play Xbox when I get in?” She then sighed and said “No you’re having your tea first” He then angrily replied, OH! FOR FUCKS SAKE!! “Right no Xbox for swearing!” she huffed, and so the exchange of bartering went on till I got them both home. She practically carried him to their front door and they were both still arguing. The normalcy of this typical conversation between parent and teenager was both comical and sad, knowing that a mother and child would soon part. Forever.

That was REALLY cool.

  I sometimes see cool things. In a split second glance as I drive by, I see an elderly man helping a young mum with a pram get up some steps. I see a smile as a door is opened for somebody and a laugh coming from a chance meeting in the street with an old friend. I look at the ordinary and see something extraordinary, not all the time. Life is crap and I know we are all busy with our own lives, I have to look hard myself through the dross of ordinariness. Sometimes though… When I really open my eyes I see small very cool things just… Happen.