Many books have been written about conversations with a Taxi driver; even many movies have been made about taxis, drivers, and the typical taxi riders.
A taxi ride is always interesting! In the end you are sitting in a very small and closed space with a complete stranger! After some experience I have concluded that there are 3 types of taxi drivers: the very quiet dude that you almost feel uncomfortable being in the taxi, then you have the super chatty dude with the loud radio who drives like a maniac and swears at anyone that crosses him (a la Queen Latifa in the Taxi Movie), then you have the third type of drivers, by far my favorite, usually have a very clean car, the radio is on but you barely can hear it, and those drivers don’ t speak unless you start a conversation with them, and they sense the clues whether you’ re really up for a long chat or you’ re just searching for a quick answer, in other words, the wise dudes.
Last week it happened that I had to be in Dublin in the middle of the entire financial crisis; the bankruptcy and bail out issues of Ireland. Of course I knew that Ireland was going bankrupt, and the European countries might bail it out, but nothing more! The typical level of information you get when you only read the news headlines :P But the curious annoying Arab inside me was bored that day, and decided to chit chat the taxi driver that luckily was one of those wise dudes, anyway the drive was at least 30 minutes, so why not make some use out of it :P So of course I started by saying, “Wow! Ireland is facing a very critical situation, huh? What do you think, what will happen?!”
The taxi driver was delighted, and he explained to me the whole situation, exposed the various possible scenarios, and he was almost sure that the European countries would agree on the 85 Billion Euros bail out. Then he went on to talk about the measures that the government will be taking to be able to pay his debt, the tax raises that will be implemented, the time frame that they are studying, etc.
Probably, if I would have attended a special class with the best economy analyst I wouldn’t’ t have understood better what’s happening or have a clearer picture. The funny thing is that the next day, I open the financial times, and of course the first page was dedicated for the bail out of Ireland and the taxi driver’s story was as exact as the article, but only transmitted in a much easier and understandable way!
What is the secret of most taxi drivers? Other than that they get to listen to the news all day long while driving around, these drivers speak the “ people’s language” they don’ t use sophisticated vocabulary nor they complicate the story, they tell things as they are in the simplest way possible! And when they give their personal opinion it is in general the majority’s opinion, because they come from the people and thus they know what the people want.
So between choosing to read a “Casse-Tete” style of article from the financial times and chit chatting a type 3 taxi driver on the way to work, well I would definitely go for the taxi drive ;) the tricky thing is to know which one is type 3! Trust me after some trial and error period, the error rate is substantially lower :P
So be trendy, listen to and use the peoples’ language!
And you, what do you think?