Posted by on Oct 16, 2007 in inspiration, writing, writing as therapy | 4 Comments

The Taxi Driver Scenario

People sometimes ask me how different life is, now I’ve become a writer – it’s a question I’ve never really known how to answer, perhaps because what (to most people) were the highlights of my former career: international travel, meeting politicans and business leaders, wearing Armani – didn’t thrill me that much.

So perhaps this will explain how life works, for a full-time writer.

On Sunday, coming back from the woods, I was cut up by a taxi driver who pulled into my lane, forcing me almost into the central barrier, because his lane was blocked and while he could clearly see it was, he thought (rightly) he could force me to brake so he could get in front of me, instead of sitting in his lane with his indicator on until there was a gap in the traffic. Given that it would have been either my husband in the passenger seat, or the two dogs in the back, who would have been hit by this maniac, I could do nothing but cede him the road, and hit my horn impotently.

I did get his number though.

Continuing the journey home, I thought about how to make my complaint. Should I ring or write? Write obviously, except … could they tell who’d been driving the cab? I know that many taxi drivers (two in my street for example) time-share their cabs with family members, so it might be difficult … and did I want the cab driver to know my address?

From writing a complaint my mind moved to writing more generally. Suppose the driver followed the cabbie? Well, a woman wouldn’t, or I wouldn’t, anyway, so the driver would have to be a man. They could be a confrontation but that wouldn’t be very interesting so …

Suppose the driver followed the cabbie, made a complaint and then was subjected to a campaign of harassment – cars parked across his drive, his vehicle scratched, his tyres let down, pizzas delivered to his door etc. But no, that was just DUEL without the scenery or, really, the drama.

Suppose the driver was beaten up by the cabbie’s mates – and then … no. Boring.

Suppose the whole thing was done through non-contact, like the original incident. A letter of complaint. A reply. The complainant’s drive blocked by cars. The police called. The car owners summonsed. Their non-appearance in court. His house reported as the abode of a paedphile … hmmm. Not bad but actually, more arty and farty than a story. Too much artifice, not enough plot.

Ah but – suppose he followed the cab driver, and was all set to argue, and she turned out to be an older woman who immediately got the better of him verbally. So he didn’t complain because he was embarrassed about being bested by a woman, and she came round to apologise, but they ended up arguing again … yes, yes, and yes. That’s the story I’m writing.

And the point of all this. Can you guess?

In all my ruminations, I forgot the bloody cab numberplate.


  1. Shameless
    17th October 2007

    I’m glad you’re OK. Funny how these incidents can lead to story ideas. And great how you thought of the “quirky” road to go down…

  2. Knulp
    17th October 2007

    Neat, Kay, a really neat way of illustrating the creative imagination at work – on overtime, even. Which, though, would be the most satisfying outcome: a short story or keying his cab?

  3. Kay Sexton
    17th October 2007

    Thanks Shameless, and Knulp, you know the answer is that keying the cab would be more satisfying – but I’m too much of a coward!

  4. RAC
    18th October 2007

    Sounds like normal driving for a rude taxi. Your complaint would be ignored or ridiculed in most cities. No harm, no foul. They only pay attention to actual accidents. Seriously, if you’re writing stories while driving, I hope you’re being extra careful! A large percentage of brain activity and driving awareness is cut off by distracted thinking.


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