My BFF Margaret and I were in the back of a taxi heading to the Glasgow airport.
We were trying to keep the conversation light because something really heavy had just happened in my family and I had, in a span of maybe three hours, packed a bag and booked a plane ticket.
So naturally, the conversation turned to pop culture.
I’m not much of a celebrity gossiper, but with Mags, I am.
I’m also not much of a reality TV fan, but with Mags, I am.
I think it’s because we have such similar beliefs and political views – and fashion opinions – that with her, I can say whatever the hell I’m thinking and she’s thinking it too, so we can rant and rant and not fear any judgement. Also, we’re both sickly fascinated with Courtney Stodden and Ryan Lochte (whom I had never heard of until Margaret introduced me to a couple YouTube videos – JEAH!)
So anyway, we were in the back of a taxi. Our driver wasn’t making conversation with us – which in my experience is actually unusual in Glasgow – so we made our own. Miley Cryrus had recently appeared on some late night talk show and had made fun of Helen Mirren.
Margaret and I love Helen Mirren.
“Who am I kidding?” Mags came out with it, “I wish I were as hot at 23 as Helen Mirren is at her age! She’s got a rockin’ body!”
“She’s gorgeous. Screw Miley.”
“And I mean, she’s a Dame, isn’t she?”
“I think so,” Margaret continued, “I’m fairly certain – “
“She’s a Dame.” our tax driver chimed in with complete certainty and out of absolute silence on his end.
Mags and I exchanged a look. We had found another Helen fan.
“Well there you go,” I said.
And then his silence continued.
While I was in Glasgow, Margaret got me more than slightly hooked to a terrible reality show called Rock of Love with Bret Michaels. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically just a dating show staring the lead singer of the 80s hair band, Poison.
He used to look like this:
He’s still an attractive dude, but he’s aged. It’s natural.
I cannot for the life of me remember how we got on to talking about Bret Michaels. I was probably telling Margaret not to watch any episodes without me. And then, you know, the conversation just happened until Mags said:
“He’s starting to get that sort of barrel-chested-ness that happens to a lot of men when they hit their late 40s to early 50s.”
And our taxi driver said:
And maybe swerved a little. But maybe I’m just projecting that on the moment out of fear and self-doubt and hope.
Mags and I paused.
Silence fell over the entire taxi.
Through only eye contact, we had the following conversation:
A: Did that just happen?
M: It happened.
A: Was it at us?
M: I don’t know!
A: Maybe it wasn’t at us.
M: Maybe he’s pissed!
A: He is that age.
M: He’s pissed!
A: It was traffic!
M: Maybe it wasn’t!
A: This is awkward.
M: Totally awkward.
A: Let’s not talk anymore.
We stared at one another until we got to the airport. I probably tipped the guy a little extra out of sheer guilt and panic.
“Do you think we offended him?” Mags asked me as we walked through the airport.
“I don’t know! I guess he was probably 50-something,” I replied, “but maybe he was getting angry about some other driver.”
“He didn’t look barrel chested!”
“No. Not at all.”
“…At least we know he digs Helen Mirren as much as we do!”
“DAME Helen Mirren, Margaret. She’s a Dame.”
So that was the day I learned that yes, taxi drivers are always listening. So if you’re ever questioning it, stop, because they are. And can you blame them? Imagine what they must hear on a daily basis. If I were a taxi driver, I’d be writing that shit down between jobs! I’d never be short on material again. Because when you think about it, people talk about really stupid shit a lot of the time, right? Like, maybe 60-70% of the time?
I’m sure the number is disappointing, at any rate.