Nascent and real

Whilst providing an essential service, which enables some of the more vulnerable members of society to enjoy their independence into their old age, for those of us who provide it, taxi driving is an inherently anti-social business activity.

There is no such thing as a nine to five existence.  Even those of us who have managed to hew a living out of provincial small town Oxfordshire do so largely on the basis of school run contracts, 0700 to 0900 in the morning and 1430 to 1530 in the afternoon, or thereabouts. In between, we might attempt to cram on to an already overburdened taxi rank in central Abingdon, to wait around.

But then there is the getting up in the middle of the night, to drive to Stansted or Gatwick and the occasional night time weekend shifts, when it is periodically necessary, in school holidays, or when otherwise short of income, to work off the taxi rank.

We are working when other people are socialising. For those of us who are single, it makes it difficult to meet a companion of the right calibre. Anything resembling a social life has to somehow be fitted in, between work.

Such an existence, in term time gives a rhythm to the working day and seasons to the year, which prior to taxi driving, had not ruled my life for years.  And the long periods of waiting around give an opportunity amongst other things, for activity to which it is ideally suited, like internet dating.

Internet dating is full of unforeseen pitfalls, especially for those like me, who retain a naïve belief in the efficacy of the medium.

It is very common to be ‘ghosted’ – where communication can be taking place with someone for weeks, or even over a period of months and they then suddenly drop out of communication altogether, as if they had never existed.

Then there those who manufacture an online argument, in order to provide a reason for ending a correspondence, or even an actual relationship. In reality, it is completely permissible to end a relationship, for any reason, or no reason and at any time.  However, people do not like to deliver what they perceive to be bad news. And so a reason for the action will be invented: too stringent views on traffic, too much time spent in church, too much time at the village pub and even too many books.

But once in several years, someone will come along who breaks the mould.  That happened this last weekend, in the inauspicious surroundings of the Orchard centre in Didcot, where it was somehow possible to fit a date in between driving to and from Oxford five or six times, the last of which was driving somebody safely home at 0230.

Whether or not anything more substantial eventuates from it, remains to be seen.   But it is nascent, and it is nonetheless real. For human beings all have a need for love. To love and to be loved.