Recently I blogged about the perils that can often be involved when experiencing a seemingly mundane journey via public transport. In which I portrayed myself to be a hapless victim forced to eavesdrop on other people's ludicrous conversations. Of course what I didn't tell you is that I've had my fair share of outlandish behaviour when it comes to public transport. It mostly involves the fact that I vehemently refuse to cough up for the fare and take extreme measures in avoiding this legal requirement. In the past it's just been limited to trains, (which I think is perfectly acceptable), but recently I'm ashamed to admit, I entered new territory and added cabs to my shameful list of callous debauchery.
In my defence, it wasn't premeditated. Halfway through a journey home from a drunken escapade my cab buddy decided to get out and leave me with no contribution and so as I neared home I discovered that I didn't have a shred of cash on me. I panicked for a few moments, desperately trying to think of a plausible solution. And that's exactly what I did. Well, what seemed perfectly plausible to me at the time anyway. I decided that I would convincingly sound shocked and appalled at having no money as we neared the entrance to my close and venture the idea for the driver to come back the following day to collect the fare. Of course in those few moments of mulling over my options, the crazed penny pincher in me decided that I would thwart the drivers efforts to obtain the fare the next day by instructing him to go to the wrong house.
Believe me. This seemed like such ingenuity at the time. I believe I even stifled a few glee filled giggles, marveling at my plan. So anyway, he agreed to return the following day. Begrudgingly so. But he had no choice in the matter. So upon entering my estate, I proceeded to tell one clumsy lie after another in an attempt to calm my nerves. I claimed to live at number 11, but instead instructed him to stop outside a house bearing the number 19. He presented this fact to me, to which I replied very cleverly with, "yes that's what I meant." Accompanied with a hefty amount of nervous laughter.
So it was at this point I felt as though I wasn't really doing my best to legitimize the lie and proceeded to tell him my name was Sian. (Which is completely absurd as Sian isn't exactly dissimilar to my actual name), and as a further stroke of genius supplied him with a contact number, in case there were any problems. Half way through reiterating my phone number to him I realised of course there were going to be problems - he would be returning to a house which blatantly wasn't mine, so I panicked and tried to give him an incorrect number, only to then not give him enough digits. All in all, I don't think he was terribly convinced that anything I'd said was the truth.
Still, I bravely bade him good night, stepped out of the taxi and walked up the pathway of number 19 - where I do not live. (I cannot stress this enough). So, as I'm slowly getting closer to the front door, I can still hear the cab engine at a standstill and not reversing as I'd hoped. Shit. I calmly stopped mid-way and proceeded to make an epic show of, "looking for my keys", in order to kill some extra time in wondering just what in the hell I was going to do next. I did this for about a minute, which is a very long time to be making exasperated sounds and flailing your arms in the air, all the while surreptitiously looking over your shoulder to check if a suspicious cab driver is showing any signs of leaving. Which of course, he wasn't.
So I walked further down the drive way and stood in front of the back gate, which was a great big wooden mechanism, (presumably designed that way to keep people like me out), put my bag on top of a wheelie bin which stood adjacent to the side of the house and pretended to go through the contents of it further. I then took my phone out and pretended to be on it, wandering around the perimeter of the house, as if I was trying to reach someone who was inside to let me in. Still he's parked there with the engine running, gawping at me like an insane person. Because clearly he's the one who is mentally ill in this scenario. I retreated back to my position outside the gate and idly considered climbing over it into the back garden. I immediately aborted this plan when I took a closer look and discovered a sign warning, "beware of the dog". It was probably a fictional deterrent, but I didn't want to risk it.
Several minutes had gone by now and at this stage I sat down on the floor for a while behind number 19's Renault Megane, obstructing the cab drivers view of me, which was oddly relieving. Even though the ominous growl of the engine, still in the same spot where I'd gotten out, was a constant reminder that I would have to come out eventually. I contemplated climbing over Number 17's gate and curling up in a flower bed for a while, as that didn't have a guard dog sign on it. But then the driver would see me doing so and would know for certain that I didn't live in Number 19 then. Although I think he was beginning to cotton on to the fact that I blatantly didn't live there by now.
Feeling defeated, I started to put all of the contents back into my bag from the top of the wheelie bin, which I'd removed earlier in my, "key searching", efforts. I whipped my phone out and started talking. I don't know who it was supposed to be to, all I know is the person on the other end was incredibly funny, because I didn't stop laughing. At this point the cab driver had finally turned the engine off and was talking on his phone. I assume he was talking to a real person, unlike me who was essentially talking to nobody. He was probably rallying around his cab driving cronies to come and teach me a lesson, or worse; the Police. As soon as this thought entered my brain, my reaction was immediate. Within seconds I'd whipped my shoes off, thrown my phone into my bag and ran off at lightning speed, (or what certainly felt like it) in the opposite direction. Back to the entrance of the close, as the cab driver was facing the other way and so it would take more time for him to turn around if he decided to follow me. (I do possess some logic after all).
Of course he did follow me. But I had some distance on him. I can only imagine what this must have looked like. A girl erratically sprinting along a main road at 4.30am, being chased by a cab while trying to keep her shoes wedged under her arm and hold her dress up, which was doing little to stay where it should have been. I covered a couple of hundred yards in all and physically exhausted, chest heaving, I finally flung myself into a footpath which led back to my estate. Funnily enough once back inside the residential area I jogged past number 19. Ah, my old friend. And then proceeded to run through various front gardens, not wanting to venture too close to the roadside, just in case the cab driver suddenly appeared and tried to run me over. Which in all fairness, I wouldn't blame him for attempting.
Suffice to say, I got home unscathed but drastically short of breath. The next day I didn't so much as go near a window, just in case I was spotted. To my horror though, I discovered that in all the confusion I'd misplaced my purse. To this day, I'm not sure where it's gone. I could put it to a poll. Either it's on number 19's wheelie bin. On the roadside. Or, sickeningly enough, still in the taxi? In which case, calling and asking for it back would just be bad form. Luckily the address on my drivers licence isn't my current one. But I guess he knows my name isn't Sian now. Damn, and I'd almost got away with it.