Thursday, October 06, 2005

Montreal Taxi Drivers

Having travelled what I think is a fair amount, I am constantly amazed at the rudeness and incompetence of many taxi drivers in this fair city. In other cities I have often been astonished at taxi drivers' almost psychic and omnisicent knowledge of roads. Last night was a prime example of the uselessness of the drivers in Montreal.

After work I went out with several colleagues to help entertain an out of town colleague. Drinks followed by dinner - all very enjoyable. After dinner the others planned to head out for a night of drinking and I decided to head home. Jumped into a taxi, gave my address in English (silly me!) and that's where it all went horribly wrong.

Mr. Taxi Driver decided to turn up the radio volume in the back of the taxi (he had the hockey game on, this is Montreal after all) and then while speaking (in French) to the front of the cab, asked if he could take the highway. I replied in English and told him no. He didn't say anything so I assumed he understood. Next thing I knew, we were about to head on to the highway and I had to speak loudly (the radio still blasting) and asked him not to take the highway. At the last second I practically shouted at him in French and suddenly he understood that I didn't want him to take the highway. Son of a ...

The rest of the trip was spent arguing with this guy that my way was faster and cheaper, and him trying to convince me that there were only 2 ways (there are probably about a dozen) to get to where I wanted to go. He started shouting at me that I didn't know what I was talking about and that ALL taxi drivers in Montreal went his way. So when I shouted back at him, he didn't like it much and proceeded to shout at me saying that there was no reason for me to speak to him like that. I kid you not. To this idiot I was just a stupid woman who didn't know the roads in the city where she lived and had no idea how to get around in a car. I bit my tongue and choose to ignore his sexist comments and spoke only to give him the precise and exact directions he needed to get me home. Finally we arrived at my address - probably to his complete surprise - and this guy had the nerve to tell me that there was no difference (time or cost) between his way and my way. Never mind that I proved him wrong and we managed to get to my address by not going his way... And then he "dropped" my change on the car floor and "apologized". I got out, slammed the door and in a horribly passive-aggressive manner, turned and cursed at him in French as he peeled away. Didn't even feel better.

Spent the better part of the next two hours attempting various relaxation exercises and listening to various relaxation music CDs. The key to finally getting me to relax was madly scribbling notes about the ride on a couple of post-its. I had been so furious when I got home that I couldn't even concentrate on making my lunch or preparing my clothes for work the next day. Now I'm hoping this blog post will let me vent the rest of my anger and allow me to move on. I've generally been a little (a lot) obsessive with my rage and hope that this forum will help me get it out of my system. All for a happier, healthier me - here's hoping.


Angry Gnome said...

Why didn't you get his driver information and make a complaint about him to his company? It might not help now that the ride is over but at least you get the satisfaction of knowing you got him in trouble. My motto is, when in doubt, get petty.
Your story reminds me of the time I took a cab from 5 Placec Ville Marie to a partner's house in Westmount and the driver got lost three (!!!) times. I asked him twice to get directions from the dispatcher and he ignored me. Had I been the one actually paying for the fare it would have pissed me off royally but the fact that I was missing in action from the office was highly enjoyable.

Stef said...

You're right. I should've got that driver info, but I was so frigging mad at the time I couldn't see straight - let alone be clear headed enough to take his info. Damn.

nickt said...

Last year I saw a city truck ignoring traffic laws (passenger riding in the bed, no seat belts), this was a traffic department vehicle. So when we were stopped beside each other at a red light, I asked him how it was that traffic laws didn't apply to traffic vehicles? He asked me, "What's it the f*#$ to you?" I was stunned and said, "What?" He gracioulsy repeated himself. So anyway, I took his truck number and spoke with his manager. A couple of weeks later I got a follow up call and they had slapped the guy on the wrists and told him not to speak to the public.

The best venting technique for me is always doing something really physical, like biking or running hard. Get your blood pumping on your own terms, it makes claming down easier.

Stef said...

I'm going to try a little retail therapy after work. That usually does wonders.

Marzipan said...

I've had a few bad experiences with our taxi drivers as well. My best piece of advice is "not" to tell him where you're going. Tell him what street to go down, when to turn, and when to stop. Remember, you don't have to tell him anything.