Previously Posted: Rules of Engagement

For those new to CabbieBlog or readers who are slightly forgetful, on Saturdays I’m republishing posts, many going back over a decade. Some will still be very relevant while others have become dated over time. Just think of this post as your weekend paper supplement.

Rules of Engagement (15.0.09)

You know that sinking feeling. You’re at a party and the village bore sidles up and wants to discuss his collection of beer mats.

What do you do? Enter into an earnest conversation on the merits of square versus round or oblong, praise the durability to withstand liquid, and discuss their post-modernist designs.

As I see it your have three options:

  • Engage in an earnest and meaningful conversation, and listen to his discourse for three hours
  • Suggest sex and travel might at this juncture be appropriate in his case
  • Stare over his left shoulder at that cute girl across the room while trying to not let your eyes glaze over.

Stuck inside your cab you regularly have the village bore, with the maxim “the customer’s always right, even if he is a complete prat” ringing in your ears you have that same dilemma. Well, a recent study might have the answer to my problem.

Social researchers have studied the interaction between hairdressers, dentists or cabbies with their clients. They call this “The rules of conversational engagements for everyday encounters”, and interestingly it would appear that we have the upper hand in driving the conversation, even though you are employing us.

We have all sat in the dentist’s chair while he conducts a conversation about your holiday while filling your mouth with implements. But it would seem that my customers also know their place when sitting in the back of my cab as much as in the dentist’s chair.

It would appear that the driver starts the conversation choosing the subject, and, sorry about this, drives the conversation forward. You of course reply to my discourse not wishing to be confrontational as you regard conversation with a stranger to be on a different level than, say somebody you met in the pub or a casual acquaintance.

So the next time you are in the back, take this little bit of advice and know your place.


2 thoughts on “Previously Posted: Rules of Engagement”

  1. Before I left London in 2012, I noticed more and more cabbies not bothering with any conversation at all. I took cabs regularly, and only about 25% of the drivers would bother to speak to me. That was a huge difference on 10 years earlier, when every single one of them had something to say.
    Cheers, Pete.


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