March 10, 2008

DIARY OF A CABBIE : Nov 05, AU Edition

Women, alcohol, and friends who don’t look outfor each other are a potentially tragic mix

The other night an all-too-rare thing happened in the cab: two young women separated from their group of girlfriends near Darling Harbour and climbed in the back, and by the time we reached the Harbour Bridge one passenger received a text message from another of their group.

Nothing unique about that, except that the passenger then called her friend back, quizzing her: ‘Did you get a cab? Are you in it now? Who with? Why? Well, I’m not hanging up until you get home. Why? You’re drunk in a taxi by yourself, stupid – I don’t care if it’s a short trip…’ And so on.

This was a commendable example of drinking companions looking out for each other; all too often cabbies are shanghaied to act as chaperones by default to vulnerable and intoxicated young women. My passenger continued: ‘Are you paying the fare now? Okay, I’ll hang up when you’re inside...No, only when I hear Jeremy’s voice’.

After she had hung up I quizzed the women over the phone call. ‘Do you guys often receive unwanted advances from cabbies?’, I asked.

‘Yes, all the time’, they responded. I wondered if they were exaggerating. ‘Then why don’t we hear more of it in the press or from police reports?’ Without hesitation they said, ‘Probably because the girls are so drunk they don’t recall it next morning’.

‘Where did you learn to use that phone technique – at school or from your parents?’. ‘Neither’, they said, ‘it’s just common sense’. Unfortunately, their ‘common sense’ is all too often uncommon.

Earlier this year, I carried three young women from King Street Wharf to Surry Hills, via Potts Point. It was early morning as the Potts Point resident decided to grab a kebab in Kings Cross, then walk home. As I pulled over by the famous Coke sign, my headlights illuminated a tough looking bloke standing on the kerb, nonchalantly urinating against a barrier.

Yet seeing this, my passengers allowed their drunken friend to alight the cab alone. She staggered off into the strung-out, drunken throng to make her own way home. That she wore what a Sydney Muslim cleric recently deemed ‘rape attire’ only made my alarm bells ring louder.
Before departing I instinctively hesitated, questioning her friends, ‘Are you sure she’s going to be alright? She’s really pissed.’ ‘Yes’, they replied, ‘it’s only a short walk to her apartment – she does it all the time’.

Last Friday, just before midnight, a drunken school-aged girl dressed as a high-class hooker in fishnets, stiletto heels, and miniskirt was poured into the back seat by two thirty-something female companions.
The two older women gave me the girl’s address, then deserted her. She was now effectively my problem. Sure enough, within two blocks she was barfing into a plastic bag, and after stopping to allow her to finish vomiting into the gutter, she recovered enough to direct me to her suburb. Barely.

On arrival, she had me stop in a street lined on one side by a park. She flicked me a $20 note and before I could thank her for the $5 tip, she had disappeared into the dark and deserted park. At this point I could do nothing for her, and I reluctantly pulled away.

I’m almost certain a day will come when on commencing work, I’ll be responding to a common taxi broadcast: ANY DRIVER CARRY FEMALE – 2AM TODAY, OXFORD STREET TO (SUBURB) – CONTACT SGT. JONES, POLICE H.Q.
Some girls just don’t get it.

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DIARY OF A CABBIE : Dec 05, AU Edition

One 21st birthday bash plus two divorced parents minus cigarettes equals a very tense ride

Just after dark recently I was dropping off a passenger in an Eastern Suburbs Housing Commission neighbourhood. As I slowed, a party of three hailed me. It was obvious they were waiting for a booked cab: A young guy around 18 years old in suit pants, white shirt and tie, plus two women likewise dressed up.

The fella ran after the cab then stood on the roadway at my window waiting for the passenger to alight, then asked, ‘Mate, are you free?’ ‘Um, did you book a cab?’, I replied. ‘Yeah but we’ve been waiting half an hour – it’s my sister’s 21st and we’re really late. Please, I know you don’t have to take us but it’s really important’. The kid’s plaintive appeal struck a chord. ‘Yeah righto, jump in’.

My passengers were in good spirits as we headed for a five star restaurant at Circular Quay. The kid earnestly engaged me in banter about cab driving whilst the two women quietly chatted in the back. When one of them requested we stop at a convenience store for cigarettes, the kid tapped me on the leg and said, ‘Mate, this cab doesn’t stop, does it?’. ‘Depends who’s paying’, I replied. ‘I am’, insisted the woman. ‘No, Mum’, the kid replied, ‘we haven’t got time – we’ll be late for the guests’.

Hearing the word ‘Mum’ surprised me. From snippets of their easy chat I’d been under the impression both women were the same age. Now I realised I was carrying a single parent and two children. ‘Mum, you can buy cigarettes when we get there’, the kid told her. ‘No, I don’t think there’s anywhere near the restaurant’, she said, ‘We’ll stop at the nearest hotel’.

At Circular Quay I pulled up at the Paragon Hotel for the mother to buy smokes in the bottle shop. However, as she only had plastic the kids told her she would need cash for the machine. ‘I don’t care, we’ve got to find another shop’, she said tersely, ‘You know not to get between me and cigarettes’. The birthday girl chided her, ‘Mum, you’re being childish’. But the mother’s frustration was obvious – she needed smokes.

‘I’ll take you around to Harrington Street’, I said, ‘there’s a 7-11 there’. ‘No mate...’, said the kid, but his mother interrupted, ‘Yes Steven, we get the cigarettes first!’. Whatever, I thought; it would only take a few minutes. Unbelievably though, the store was lit up but closed! The mother stood outside its doors willing it to open, before storming back to the cab and slamming the door. ‘I told you I needed cigarettes!’, she exploded. The kid leaned over and whispered to me, ‘Mate, please take us to the restaurant now’. ‘Okay’, I said, ‘but there’s a shop back on Pitt Street’. ‘We’ll go back then!’, the mother barked. ‘Mum, let’s just get to the restaurant’, the kid pleaded, ‘then I’ll run up to the store for you’. ‘Yes, you will’, she scowled.

We completed the trip in tense silence, the jovial atmosphere now gone. ‘Thanks Mum’, the daughter quietly said, ‘you’ve managed to spoil the start of my night’. Ignoring her, Mum handed over a debit card then hopped out, slamming the door. ‘I’m really sorry about my Mum’, the kid said as he punched in the PIN. ‘Mate, it’s cool’, I told him. ‘I’m a smoker too.” I handed him a cigarette for her along with the receipt.

What I understood was the situation of divorced parents coming together to celebrate a child’s 21st birthday. There was a good chance relations between the parents were not ideal and the pressure of such a momentous evening could be overwhelming. A child’s formal graduation to adulthood is a tough gig for parents at the best of times, full of powerful mixed emotions. And if a parent insists on cigarettes for such a night, then they must be believed. Believe me.

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DIARY OF A CABBIE: Apr 05, AU Edition

Two different fares prove the point that Sydney’s streets can always be dangerous – especially at night

Around 9pm two young blokes in shorts, singlets and barefeet flagged me down on a residential street in Coogee. One had an old fella propped up against a fence. The other opened the cab door and said, ‘Mate, this gentleman has fallen over and hit his head - would you mind taking him home?’ ‘Yeah, righto’, I replied, thinking he was drunk.

In fact he could barely move due to a deformed leg. He also carried a shortened left arm tucked tightly into the body, with a contorted claw fist. The young fellas helped him to the cab, carefully lifting each foot.

‘He’s got money in his wallet’, the Samaritans said, ‘and his address is __ _____ Street. You got that?’. ‘Yeah’, I told them, ‘I’ll get him home’. From then on it felt like a mercy trip. The man was well over 70 years old, in shock and disorientated.

Slowly he came around, checking his pockets and patting the back of his head. ‘You sure you don’t want to go for a check-up at Saint Vincent’s?’, I asked. ‘I’ll be alright’, he said. ‘Just take me home’.

Within fifteen minutes, he freshened up enough to demand we pull over. ‘But you don’t live here’, I said, but he insisted. What could I do? As he was conscious enough to pay the fare, I hopped out and went around to help him. ‘Mate, this ain’t home! What are you getting out here for?’

Eventually he agreed he was in the wrong street.

Climbing back in the cab I drove to his address a few blocks away. We stopped outside a shabby unlit boarding house opposite the Hard Rock Café. As I helped him out onto his feet, my spotlight bathed the back of his head. It was covered in wispy strands of snowy hair, half covered in dried blood. ‘Jeez, mate’, I said, ‘you’ve given your noggin a real crack. There’s a cut and some blood there’.

Despite his proud assurances, I grabbed him under his good arm and we made our way up the dozen steps of his boarding house, gingerly dragging his gammy leg. After fishing around for his key, he opened the door to a gritty darkened corridor. There was no one there for him. But he point-blank refused any further help beyond the door, and thanked me in a strong dignified voice. Five minutes later I returned and drove past to see a light on in the unit directly opposite the front door.

A good result, I thought, and with luck a community nurse will come around and clean up the wound.

Speaking of wounds, in an amazing coincidence a few hours later, I was hailed in the very same block by a tall, barrel-chested bloke, around 30, wearing a sleeveless muscle shirt. I pinned him for a gym jockey. His left arm was heavily wrapped in bandages from the hand to above the elbow. Climbing in he said, ‘It’s just a short trip up to
Oxford Street. My arm’s throbbing too much to walk’.

‘What happened to you?’, I asked. ‘Mate’, he replied, ‘did you read about an attack early last Saturday morning? Back there on William and Bourke Street?’ This was the Ferrari dealer corner, a notorious night-time haunt of hookers and pimps.

According to my passenger, he and his girlfriend were approached by two Persian males and asked for a cigarette. The request was declined, unambiguously. One of the males then allegedly produced a machete and proceeded to attack my passenger about the head.

In defending himself my passenger raised his left forearm and sustained numerous gashes from contact with the blade. These required some 150 stitches to close. Plus he lost 1½ litres of blood.

After resisting the initial attack, he was able to disarm and ‘subdue’ the assailant, whose mate ran off. Five days later, the assailant remains in hospital, facing a possible 20-year jail term.
And he didn’t even get the cigarette. Dope.

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DIARY OF A CABBY: Mar 05, AU Edition

The truth may set you free, but when your passengers are on drugs, sob stories get the fare paid

I was working a big hotel in the Eastern Suburbs a few Saturdays ago when three young men and a girl, all skippies in their twenties, approached the cab and asked if I wanted to go up to the Northern Beaches.

Although the fellas were firing on all cylinders, I quickly noted the absence of alcohol odor. That meant only one thing: drugs. I wondered if they had enough for the $70 fare, or if they would run. With half the night’s earnings at stake, one can’t be careless, and I braced myself for the psychological warfare to come. It began quickly when I noticed the lead male muttering something to the girl in the back before calling out, ‘Hey cabbie! Do you ever get women offering you favors for the fare?’ In other words, they were debating whether or not to pay.

‘Nah, never’, I lied, thinking he must be pretty gone.
Then the alpha male got on the phone, ‘Steve-o! Whaddya doin’? I’ve got a gram for ya! Meet us in half an hour’. Then he turned his attention my way: ‘Hey cabbie’, he called. ‘Feel like joining us for a few lines?’

‘Nah, not for me thanks mate,’ I laughed, waving away the offer as we whizzed across the Harbour Bridge, but he wasn’t convinced.

‘Ah, he says “no” but you can see he’s itching for a line. Come on mate, spark up!’

‘Mate’, I called over the thumping music, ‘I’m already sparking on caffeine and nicotine!’

‘Yeah’, he shot back, ‘but wait ‘til ya see this - it’s the best coke in Sydney! Put a real edge on your night’. I just laughed and watched my speed as we shot past a tunnel camera.

‘Even if I wanted to,’ I said, pointing at the discreet interior camera, no bigger than a cigarette pack.

My passengers were chastened for all of five seconds, concluding that if not for the camera, I’d be interested. ‘No worries mate’, they assured me, ‘we’ll talk about it later’. My move had backfired – if I didn’t quickly recover the initiative, I’d lose.

‘Listen’, I told them, killing the music, ‘I’ve been there and done all that. I was once like you guys, partying every weekend. Until my girlfriend got cancer and died. That’s when I said enough...’ It was a total line, but they fell for it.

‘Mate, that’s terrible. We’re sorry for pushing you...’.
Having gained the advantage I moved to consolidate: ‘Nah, that’s okay. But let me tell you, cocaine is just as addictive as heroin. Except you don’t know it until you’re using it everyday...’.

‘Yeah, that’s just like Snowy..’, said one of the boys, quietly.
I continued, seeing I’d hit a nerve: ‘...Next thing you know, you’re 40 years old, looking like 50, with no money and driving cabs...if you’re lucky!’.

We pulled up outside a house in Dee Why with the meter showing $62. From the subdued mood in the cab, I was confident my tale had worked. ‘Anyway, you guys are still young, but don’t waste it. That’ll be $62 plus seven more for the tolls’. They all chipped in and handed me $70 – the full fare, plus a dollar tip.

They made one last attempt to entice me: ‘You sure you won’t come in?’
‘No thanks mate’, I answered, ‘you guys party on, but do it safely, OK?’

‘Yeah, it’s under control mate, it’s all good. Nice meeting you’. Breathing a sigh of relief I drove away wondering if they’d intended to run. One can never be certain in this game.

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DIARY OF A CABBIE : June 05, AU Edition

Lousy hours, bad tips, the threat of not making a penny – what is it that keeps a cabbie going?

Cab driving is a funny game (to paraphrase a well-worn cliché). Regardless of what mood one starts a shift with, it can instantly change to suit a particular passenger.

On Saturday night I went to work late, tired and dispirited, due to a small personal brush fire. To start some four hours late on a 12-hour shift is largely a pointless exercise. Barely worthwhile. I was resigned to just making my pay-in, gas and dinner money, and little else. Plus the forecast of a quieter-than-average night only served to compound my dejection. I figured I would simply go through the motions.

In keeping with my mood I opted for a dead rank at Ashfield station, rather than head for the City. A young couple approached and immediately I was wary. Why? The girl had given me a friendly wave from some ten metres away. As no one ever does this, my cynicism sprang to the fore. Was I being set up, I wondered, lulled into a false sense of security?

These things ran through my mind as they climbed in the back and started questioning me on my night, my hours, my localities, and so on. ‘No’, I replied, ‘I’ve only just started but I should’ve started at 3 pm. I’m being just lazy tonight’. Jaded as I was, I played the proverbial dead bat to their questions.

It turned out there was no need to worry: she was a local girl and he an Irish/Canadian, and both very much in love. They were happy and drunk on the intoxicating power of new love. It wasn’t long before their friendliness had rubbed off on me and I warmed to their conversation.

So much so, by the time I delivered them to a City hotel, introductions were made and we exchanged handshakes. They were complete strangers when they boarded the cab yet in the space of 20 minutes, we parted company promising to make further contact. This is a big reason I drive cabs. It reminds me that despite my lousy mood, an overwhelming majority of people are innately kind and decent souls. Hence in this game, passenger encounters are frequently positive and sometimes therapeutic.

I explained as much to a woman last night, off to work the graveyard shift at the taxi base. She had inquired why I still drove cabs, when like so many drivers I’d only ever intended it to be a fill-in job. ‘I was seduced’, I replied, ‘as much by the freedom and flexibility of the job as by the positive interaction with passengers’. It certainly wasn’t for the money.

Earlier I had elaborated on the subject with a passenger traveling from the Airport to Kings Cross. He was an Irish comedian on tour of Australia with an international comedy troupe. After traveling all day from rural Victoria he boarded the cab tired and flat. Yet he sparked up when I mentioned my cab stories. ‘Though it’s ironic…’, I laughed. ‘Now I’m making a name for myself, I’m often asked will writing allow me to quit driving. Yet all my content comes from driving!’

Given that both of us worked creatively from social and personal interactions, we swapped stories. Once again, the conversation had commenced in a perfunctory manner only to terminate on a high. He gave me a tip he couldn’t afford and I slipped him a copy of Investigate. After which we both parted with a warm farewell.

There are plenty more stories along these lines from a weekend which threatened to be boring, depressing and a real chore. Sure I’m tired after a long night’s work, but it’s a contented tiredness. Made all the better knowing I have regular readers logging on and keen to read my stories. Without these readers I would simply be talking to a void, working just another job. So it’s g’day to you and goodnight from me.

I thank you all.

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DIARY OF A CABBIE : July 05, AU Edition

When a night out goes horribly wrong, it can leave scars that might never heal

On a recent Friday night I carried a fifty-something fella from the North Shore down to Sutherland. After a day on the grog at a convention junket he was wasted. Yet not so wasted he couldn’t relate a chilling tale involving his son. It was a tale I readily identified with, as his ‘boy’ was around the same age as mine.

My passenger recounted how several years ago his then 18-year-old son was in the City on a night out with some mates. Late in the evening, one of his friends became involved in a scuffle outside a Hungry Jack’s. On moving to help his mate, my passenger’s son was stabbed some ten times around the body. In an instant he was bleeding profusely, his life literally draining down the gutter. News of what happened came at 4:30 am, when the local police knocked on the door after fruitless attempts by the hospital to contact him and his wife.

Despite losing litres of blood, the boy recovered. What a guy. The assailant was apprehended, char- ged, convicted, jailed for a few years, then released – only to knife someone else and return to jail. What a waste.

In relating this tale, my passenger had obliquely voiced his concern over his son’s ongoing fight for justice. The boy was still in court, seven years later, pursuing a matter of principle relating to the attack. After advising the boy to finally put the saga behind him and get on with life, the kid emphatically responded, ‘Dad, the physical scars may have healed, but in my head it feels so raw I’ll never get over it’. My passenger looked across at me and shaking his head said quietly, ‘It’s killing me to imagine what he feels’.

My passenger had been a knockabout bloke most of his life, growing up in the tough inner-west of Sydney. By his own admission he’d made many mistakes over the years. And despite his age he insisted how, much to his embarrassment, he often felt the same hopes and vitality as that of his son. So much so he couldn’t wait for the arrival of the first grandchild. A sentiment we both shared, and had a good laugh at our encroaching dotage. It was a warm exchange on which we parted.

One week later, I came across an item in the Daily Telegraph entitled, ‘Leave people to their peril’:

Citizens are under no obligation to rescue strangers in peril, a court had ruled in dismissing an appeal by a man stabbed after he sought sanctuary in a fast-food restaurant.

Eron Broughton was out in Sydney’s CBD early in 1998 when he and three friends were threatened by a knife-wielding gang...they sought refuge in a Hungry Jack’s restaurant, asking a security guard to call police.
But the guard pushed them back into the street where Mr Broughton was stabbed 10 times. He sought damages in the District Court in 2003, claiming the guard’s negligent or reckless actions led to his injuries...The then 24-year-old lost his claim after Judge James Black found the chain did not owe Mr Broughton a duty of care.

Mr Broughton appealed the verdict but it was dismissed yesterday by the Court of Appeal.

This boy’s personal struggle brought to mind something I heard recently. A terminally ill patient had commented to his mentor, ‘Sometimes it’s best to simply give up’. I interpreted this to mean that in life, you must pick your battles.

This advice seemed especially pertinent to my distraught passenger and his son’s long road to recovery. For them, those grandkids can’t come soon enough.

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DIARY OF A CABBIE : Sep 05, AU Edition

A chance fare leaves our driver wondering if there will always be an England

A week doesn’t pass when my cab radio doesn’t issue broadcasts warning of youths throwing rocks at passing cabs, usually in the housing commission areas of Redfern and Matraville.

Indeed the nightly bus runs out to La Perouse don’t operate without security aboard anymore. The vicious attack I wrote of last month was not an isolated incident in that part of the City, where similar attacks occur on a regular basis. For many of these youths violence is fun. Where once kids were content to get drunk, these days a night out is not complete without proving oneself by smashing someone who can make the simple mistake of looking at them. And in a disturbing portent of things to come, such public violence in Britain has now graduated to sinister new levels, namely, the targeting of the weak and vulnerable in society, in particular the elderly. Labelled low level urban terrorism it has led to the Government instituting a legal instrument called Ant-Social Behaviour Orders.

Recently I picked up a visiting British Labor MP Frank Field, who has been championing the fight against this urban scourge and was in Sydney to deliver a series of lectures for the Centre for Independent Studies. Field says anti-social behaviour stems from the collapse of functional families, the unions and the church, adding that the issue was once taken up squarely by the Left, which ages ago stressed personal responsibility and self-improvement.

Field had just been interviewed on radio when he hailed me outside the ABC in Ultimo. Having listened to the interview I sought to ascertain the extent of the problem. A talkback caller had confirmed it by likening it to A Clockwork Orange, a film which depicted a society spinning out of control. ‘Is it really that bad in your electorate?’ I asked. ‘Absolutely’, Field replied, ‘Pensioners are constantly coming to my office reporting how young lads run across their bungalow roofs, pee in their letterboxes, bang on their windows or jump out at them in the dark’.

Wondering how youth arrived at this point I asked, ‘Do you think it’s to do with the fact many parents simply don’t know how to parent, or won’t parent?’. ‘Most definitely’, he replied, ‘Those parents are failing to nurture their young, to teach them what constitutes civil behaviour’.

When I commented that some parents aren’t fit to breed he replied, ‘Well, you know what the saddest thing I’m seeing is the amount of grandparents forced to raise their children’s children’. ‘Well mate’, I told him, ‘obviously we don’t have the same problem here, yet. But there are certain areas around town I prefer to pick up young adults, such as the Bible belt in the north-west of Sydney where the kids are better behaved than other areas’.

Field noted his seat of Birkenhead was traditionally a Catholic constituency but had now changed to a secular seat. He noted the decline of religion in society had also coincided with the rise in yobbo behaviour. Just then he spotted St. Mary’s Cathedral and requested I drop him off there.

I pulled into the Domain to write up our conversation whilst it was fresh in my mind. Some 15 minutes later I looked up to see Field briskly striding past, heading for the Art Gallery. He saw me and as we exchanged a wave I noted he carried a pained expression. A man on a mission. It seemed as if he bore the hopes of the civilised world. Or at least Britain. Good luck to him.

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DIARY OF A CABBIE : May 05, AU Edition

Devoted wife, house full of kids, money in the bank.
For some passengers, it’s still not enough

Around midnight, a fella in his mid-thirties hurried out of the Bondi Hotel and approached the cab. ‘Where to, mate?’, I asked, hitting the meter and easing away. ‘Where do you suggest?’, he countered. He was looking to bat on yet had no idea where to do so late on a Sunday night.

‘What are you after’, I asked. ‘Just somewhere for a quiet drink or you wanna tear it up?’. He took a deep breath and paused to consider his preferences. Finally he said, ‘I want to go somewhere there are beautiful girls dancing – somewhere dark, but not strippers. Girls I can have a drink with and talk to’.

When I suggested a men’s club, of which there are a few in Sydney, he took offence: ‘What, you mean lap-dancers?’

‘Yeah, in the city’, I said. ‘Those girls are classier than strippers, but do pole dancing and stuff’. By now I was guessing, having never been inside a men’s club.

‘Nah, they’re just sluts who take your money’, he spat with some disgust. ‘I want regular women out for a good time’. I considered suggesting it was a fine distinction, but thought better of it.

‘Well, in that case you’ve got a number of choices’, I told him, ‘depending on how much money you have and the type of conversation you’re after’.

‘Put it this way’, he said, ‘I’m a married man with three kids. It’s not like I’m trying to pick up or anything. I just want to be close to beautiful women dancing. I want to watch them, you know what I mean?’.
No, I thought, but I’ll indulge you for a $20 fare.

‘I’ll take you to the Cross’, I said, ‘there’s a pub up there with a disco on the first floor’. After heading off I asked him, ‘You’re not from Sydney?’.

‘Yeah, I am, but I’ve been married for twelve years and never go out. I’ve got no idea about the night life’.

‘So how come you’re out tonight?’, I asked.

‘I felt like doing something different’, he replied.

After a high-profile career as a sportsman he owned and operated a chain of very successful businesses. The job exposed him to many women who thought he was wonderful, yet complained endlessly about their husbands and boyfriends. Whilst he was a good looking bloke, he had managed to stay faithful to his wife. Until he succumbed to the advances of a woman from work. ‘You slept with her?’, I asked.
‘No, but we had sex – and you know what’, he said, ‘I told my wife!’
‘Jeez, mate, you’re a thrillseeker’, I said. ‘How did she take it?’
‘Not too bad’, he said, ‘once I told her it was just sex and nothing emotional. I mean, sex on its own is simply plumbing. It’s love and affairs which threaten women’.

We approached Kings Cross in silence and I thought about what my passenger had told me. He was clearly thinking, too. A man who’d been with the one partner most of his adult life. It must feel like a betrayal of sorts I figured, no matter how one rationalised it. ‘Oh well’, I finally piped up, ‘at least you’re honest about it’.

What else could I say? It was tempting to suggest that if he was in any way fair, he must now extend the same right to his wife, though he came across as too egotistical to do so. Indeed, he never once mentioned that he loved his wife, or praised their marriage.

Whether he realised it or not, the dynamic in their long-term relationship was now altered, maybe irrevocably. Having tasted illicit sex he was now insisting he just wanted to watch beautiful women dancing. Late on a Sunday night. Yeah, right.

Good luck, mate. You’ll need it.

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