I'm Not a Bloody Cab

Are you my minicab?" she asked with a pleasant smile and wonderful voice and accent.

It was the mid-1990s, and I was living in West London at the time. I was in Hammersmith one evening. I think it was spring, because though it was bright I didn't have the car windows rolled down.

I was driving west along King Street to drop off my then girlfriend, who needed to run into a shop there and pick something up quickly. Because she was going to be quick, I abandoned my usual parking paranoia, and instead of finding a legitimate parking space I just pulled in alongside the sidewalk and stopped the car in front of the horrible-looking building that masks the Lyric Theatre there in the heart of Hammersmith.

I was sitting in the car (windows rolled up), listening to the radio and waiting for her to come back, when there was a knock on my window. When I looked up, I saw a woman there gesturing and speaking. I flicked the switch to roll down the window so she could talk to me without the glass barrier between us.

"Are you my minicab?" she asked with a pleasant smile and wonderful voice and accent.

"No," I said, "I'm just here waiting for someone else."

"Oh, OK," she said (or words to that effect) and scooted back in the direction of the theater.

At which point I realized I'd refused Vanessa Redgrave a ride home in my car.


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