Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Another conversation with a taxi driver

When I take taxis in London I’ll often get talking to the taxi driver, and just occasionally the conversations can be quite interesting. One such conversation occurred a couple of months ago, on my way back into work after a session with boyfriend number 3. And recently, when I took a taxi from home to work so as to get into the bank a bit earlier than usual, I had another fascinating conversation.

As I get into the cab I can tell that the driver is a bit of a character. Almost immediately he’s got a lot to say for himself.

“So where are you going eh? To work? I don’t usually do these kinds of jobs. Taking people to their office is a day driver's job!”

“It is daytime now”, I say slightly confused, “just about anyway”. Well, the sun has risen, although it is still quite early.

“Yeah”, he continues, “but I’m really a night driver. Taxi driving is a completely different job during the daytime. So you’ll have to tell me which way to go.”

I give him some directions and he seems to know which roads I’m talking about.

“I’m normally jumping into bed around now!” he continues. “But I’ve got to take the cab into the garage for a service today, so I may as well do a bit more work. Completely different job daytimes. Last time I did a day job someone asked me for the Gherkin and I had no bloody idea where he wanted to go! Completely different job daytimes you see.”

Yes, I do see, you’ve said it several times now, I think I get the picture. But suddenly I’ve got an idea. “Must be an interesting job at nights though”, I reply, “I bet you’ve seen a few things!”

“Yes I’ve seen it all”, he says, “I’ve seen drunks, businessmen wanting women, transvestites, you name it, I’ll have seen it! Now, if a day driver works nights for a change, and a bloke gets into his cab wanting to find a bit of company, the day driver probably wouldn’t have a clue! Nights are different for the day driver you see”.

Yes, I had guessed.

“Sounds like you know where to find all the seedy London night life”, I say, wondering how far the conversation can go.

“Yes, I know a few places, where to find all the whores, all the brothels, and where the classy joints are too!”

"OK”, I say, preparing my next conversational gambit, “but would you know where to take a guy who gets into your cab wanting to find a bit of fun with other guy?"

He pauses briefly, and looks at me in his driving mirror. I’m just sitting there quietly on the back seat, dressed in a smart suit and tie, wearing a “butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth” sort of expression. It’s the cab driver who’s set himself up as the sleaze expert, and if he wants his expertise to be tested it’s a fair question!

“Yes, of course, I know a few places”, he says. “There’s a place in Green Street, Mayfair. And there’s always Torturezone if they’re into the sado masochist stuff.”

I’ve never heard of either of those places. But if there’s going to be an expensive, up-market rent-boy place in London it’s going to be in Mayfair, so his answer seems plausible.

“The cheapest is the 24 hour sauna in Waterloo of course”, he continues, “That’s where I take quite a few of them.”

“You mean Pleasuredome”, I say, starting to admit that I know a bit more than I’m letting on, “yeah I know it”.

He glances at me in his mirror again and smiles. I get the impression that he’s starting to enjoy himself, especially now that I’ve admitted that I’m not as innocent as I look.

“I’ve even had a pair of them doing it in the back there where you are”, he says, trying to shock me.

“Really”, I say unfazed, he’ll have to do better than that!

“In the end I think they were both completely starkers. Well, I altered the angle of my mirror to give them a bit of privacy. I could still hear them of course!” He pauses, and then starts laughing, “Mind you, I think they found the fact that I could hear them a bit of a turn-on!”

For a few seconds he has to concentrate on the road, but once we’re past the junction he’s got more to say.

“If I take them somewhere which might be a bit dodgy though, I’ll wait for them. That Torturezone for example. I always like to look after my customers, see. You should see them afterwards, some of them look terrible, that place certainly lives up to its name. But I don’t doubt that they'll be back for more!”

“Do you ever take them there on the left?” I ask. We’re passing one of the branches of Chariots, which is the biggest chain of gay saunas in London.

“Errr, yes, once I think”, although he doesn’t seem sure.

“I don’t think it’s 24 hour”, I say, “at least it never used to be. I think it’s open something like noon to 9am.”

He looks back, as though making a mental note. “I see”, he says laughing, “I guess that gives them three hours each day to clean up!”

"But it’s nice to take a nice relaxing steam after a long night of taxi driving”, he continues, “to have a shower so I can return home to her indoors all fresh. But I can’t do it too often”, he laughs, “or she'll wonder what's going on".

Suddenly I’m confused. What is he saying? He’s looking at me in the mirror now, to see if I can work it out. Now it’s my turn to start laughing. And I admit it, he has definitely surprised me!

“Don’t the activities in the steam room bother you?”, I ask.

“No not really”, he continues, “I’ve seen it all before. Anyway, you can’t see anything in the steam room, too much steam! If you want to see what’s going on you have to go into the sauna. Sometimes they’ll be doing it all around you but it doesn’t bother me, so what, they’re only human.”

So an apparently straight taxi-driver who works nights will sometimes go to unwind in a gay sauna before he goes home! And why not? For a relatively small amount of money there are showers, a café, TV, somewhere to lie down. There’s simply no straight equivalent, apart from checking into a hotel. And if it's Pleasuredome that the driver uses, he's definitely not the only "straight" guy who frequents the place.

“Have I met you before?” the driver asks as I get out of the cab.

“No I don’t think so.”

“Really?” He looks puzzled. I give him a mischievous smile.

“Well take care”, he says, “see you again perhaps!”

He’s probably right to be puzzled. After all, how on earth did a smart respectable looking banker get him to admit something that not even his wife knows, i.e. that he enjoys visiting gay saunas? I guess it’s just a knack I’ve got!


Anonymous said...

Bad boy GB! Manipulating people into telling you their darkest secrets! ;-) GB(D)

Anonymous said...

Is the taxi driver good looking? why not get his numbers so you might have some fun with him next time?

Anonymous said...

Darkest secrets can be fun.

Although - I am surprised the cabby was so honest.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you'll see the cabby through the steam some time... :P

Anonymous said...

smart, respectable banker...'butter wouldn't melt in your mouth'... = cringe
Get over yourself...taxi cabs are often places of confessions; the story is not that bizarre, i'm sure he's told that story over lots of time. In fact your are the one being manipulated as he knows its tantalizing you. He becomes the straight guy, the object of the gay guy's fantasies. He's probably just Bi....wow?

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