Friday, July 13, 2007

The Black Cat met a Purple Person

"Four years," the taxi driver says to me, holding up four Sri Lankan fingers. "Four years I worked for Domino's Pizza. I was top driver. I know all the local places."

I had mildly wondered to myself when he was going to ask me where exactly he was bringing me. I had told him the address when we started out.... about ten Euro ago.... and he had repeated it before setting off in the right direction. I supposed that like other taxi drivers he would know where Firhouse was, then ask me where the destination was nearer to home. But no. He knew it already.

"I have friends in all the stations," he said. "Stations"appeared to mean Domino's Pizza shops. I didn't know whether this was the official Domino's term or the Sri Lankan equivalent. My African neighbour complimented me once on tidying up my compound, which I found out meant my garden. Perhaps there was something of this going on.

"I got a fare once," my driver remarked. "He sat right there in the front..." He slapped the front passenger seat, in case I thought the passenger had been sitting on the driver's lap. "And he was amazed that I knew where Cill Cais was. Four years in Domino's Pizza."

He held up the same four fingers and peered at me over his shoulder and a pair of small, square-rimmed glasses. We were stuck in the same immobile traffic I would be stuck in had I not missed the bus by a whisker. With the tip, it cost me the best part of €20 to get home from The Square.

"I'm walking," I announced the next afternoon in work. "There is no way I'm spending another hour and a quarter on a bus journey, or paying €20 for a taxi."

So I found myself in a lather of sweat on the Old Bawn Road at half-past five -- empty buses passing by in the scant traffic (of course!) -- yesterday evening, marching determinedly home. At Killakee I took a shortcut that added ten minutes to the journey. I ended up crossing through the field opposite the house, knuckles dragging through the freshly cut grass, thankful that the front door wasn't another ten yards away because I probably wouldn't have made it.

"Hello, Black Cat," I gasped at himself, and he sitting upright on the garden wall.

Black Cat looked at me in terror. Who was this brow-drenched, purple faced person shambling ominously towards him from this unexpected direction? How did the terrible monster speak with the food monkey's voice? How did the monster's tongue loll out of its mouth so far? Black Cat flattened himself on the wall so only his ears and ever-widening eyes looked over the gate. Then as the stranger showed no signs of turning from his vaguely zig-zagging course towards the front door, Black Cat's nerve went entirely and he fled.

I sat for twenty minutes in an armchair without saying a word. Eventually, the red mist before my eyes lifted. In time -- a long time -- I could move one of my feet.

I hate commuting.

Tonight, I announced I may buy a bicycle.

The cat will only love that one...


Angharod said...

Concentrate on the journey, not the destination...*S* Oh, and don't fall for the Domino shill's tricks any more...

Holler said...

A bike sounds a good idea, but waybe only once all of the rain has stopped!

Willie_W said...

I may be a small, dry skeleton if I wait for the rain to stop.