Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Waiting for the call to come in

A few weeks ago I was traveling in the northwest of England and I had an occasion to take a cab from my hotel to the office where I was working. The taxi driver who picked me up was very upset. He started cursing out the dispatcher and his terrible luck and I was ready for him to start cursing me out too. He tore through intersections in a futile effort to make up time. I was a bit shocked, but rather than engage with him, I just heard him out. "This is such a low F-ing fare and it's on an F-ing company account." And that he had to come from a long way to pick me up and that it was in the middle of F-ing rush hour. He saw the prospect of working for an hour just to make a few pounds and was very upset with that.

Eventually he calmed down. He began to talk about his life. He liked to work out. His girlfriend had just had an ectopic pregnancy and was recovering from surgery. At one point during the conversation he kind of took a breath and turned around to me and said: "You sit at your corner waiting for the call from the dispatch. You don't know when it's gonna come. You don't know how good the fare's gonna be. You don't know whether you're gonna make enough money that day to be able to support your family."

And he said, "You know, I'd really much rather have a proper job on an oil rig in the North Sea. That's something I hope to do some day."

It made me think of entrepreneurs. The taxi driver was one. He was waiting for the call to come in. That's the way he had to work. What a terrible feeling of powerlessness.

As I left the cab, I wished him good luck in finding his job. And he said, "Thanks mate." And drove off.

spoken through SpinVox

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