Women, alcohol, and friends who don’t look outfor each other are a potentially tragic mix
The other night an all-too-rare thing happened in the cab: two young women separated from their group of girlfriends near Darling Harbour and climbed in the back, and by the time we reached the Harbour Bridge one passenger received a text message from another of their group.
Nothing unique about that, except that the passenger then called her friend back, quizzing her: ‘Did you get a cab? Are you in it now? Who with? Why? Well, I’m not hanging up until you get home. Why? You’re drunk in a taxi by yourself, stupid – I don’t care if it’s a short trip…’ And so on.
This was a commendable example of drinking companions looking out for each other; all too often cabbies are shanghaied to act as chaperones by default to vulnerable and intoxicated young women. My passenger continued: ‘Are you paying the fare now? Okay, I’ll hang up when you’re inside…No, only when I hear Jeremy’s voice’.
After she had hung up I quizzed the women over the phone call. ‘Do you guys often receive unwanted advances from cabbies?’, I asked.
‘Yes, all the time’, they responded. I wondered if they were exaggerating. ‘Then why don’t we hear more of it in the press or from police reports?’ Without hesitation they said, ‘Probably because the girls are so drunk they don’t recall it next morning’.
‘Where did you learn to use that phone technique – at school or from your parents?’. ‘Neither’, they said, ‘it’s just common sense’. Unfortunately, their ‘common sense’ is all too often uncommon.
Earlier this year, I carried three young women from King Street Wharf to Surry Hills, via Potts Point. It was early morning as the Potts Point resident decided to grab a kebab in Kings Cross, then walk home. As I pulled over by the famous Coke sign, my headlights illuminated a tough looking bloke standing on the kerb, nonchalantly urinating against a barrier.
Yet seeing this, my passengers allowed their drunken friend to alight the cab alone. She staggered off into the strung-out, drunken throng to make her own way home. That she wore what a Sydney Muslim cleric recently deemed ‘rape attire’ only made my alarm bells ring louder.
Before departing I instinctively hesitated, questioning her friends, ‘Are you sure she’s going to be alright? She’s really pissed.’ ‘Yes’, they replied, ‘it’s only a short walk to her apartment – she does it all the time’.
Last Friday, just before midnight, a drunken school-aged girl dressed as a high-class hooker in fishnets, stiletto heels, and miniskirt was poured into the back seat by two thirty-something female companions.
The two older women gave me the girl’s address, then deserted her. She was now effectively my problem. Sure enough, within two blocks she was barfing into a plastic bag, and after stopping to allow her to finish vomiting into the gutter, she recovered enough to direct me to her suburb. Barely.
On arrival, she had me stop in a street lined on one side by a park. She flicked me a $20 note and before I could thank her for the $5 tip, she had disappeared into the dark and deserted park. At this point I could do nothing for her, and I reluctantly pulled away.
I’m almost certain a day will come when on commencing work, I’ll be responding to a common taxi broadcast: ANY DRIVER CARRY FEMALE – 2AM TODAY, OXFORD STREET TO (SUBURB) – CONTACT SGT. JONES, POLICE H.Q.
Some girls just don’t get it.
Read more of Adrian the Cabbie at www.cablog.com.au