Imagine the scene in a small rural cottage. It’s nine o clock on a Saturday (the regular crowd shuffles in )...Paddy is in the jacks, clean-shaven, unusually clean shaven for that hour of the night. New geansai on him. His Sunday mass geansai. His sums copy shirt underneath. A pair of Farah slacks giving him shape. Smell of Old Spice and Lynx off him. At this hour of a Saturday, he’s normally just about to get ready for cocoa and slippers and a shout at the telly “how did that hoor Darcy get his own TV show...”
But tonight, it’s different. Tonight, Paddy is looking at the mirror and talking to himself. “You talking to me.... ha, are you talking to me. C’mere I wantcha, are yooooo talking to me.”
“Who ya talking to Paddy,” says Bridie through the door. “Have ya run outta paper or something?”
“No, Bridie, me dear. Tonight I’m getting ready for my Taxi Driver moment?”
For now Paddy and Bridie have found a new zest in their lives. Saturday nights are about to change forever. No more watching Darcy on the telly. Instead, they’ll be hunched over the smartphone that their daughter Geraldine got them after they gave her the good site on the top field.
Now, they will huddle over the app and wait for calls to come in for them to change people’s lives. Because Paddy and Bridie are about to change the way that everyone in their village (Population 237 ) live. They are about to become RUXIs — the Government’s newfound rural taxi drivers.
Just this week we found out that the country could be over-run with RUXIs — all clean-living taxi drivers of the rural kind. Lads or lassies who might have never driven a taxi before in their lives are about to be unleashed on the poor lonely drunks who are too sober to forget and too drunk to drive in hundreds of small pubs in parts of the country where Uber doesn’t operate.
Life as we know it is about to change for communities throughout the country. Poor God-forsaken men and women who weren’t in the habit of touching a drop and discovered that life hadn’t treated them any the better for it, now find that they will play A Crucial Role in the Life of the Rural Piss Artist. Now, their clean-living really will be an asset and all the fivers and tenners (all Johnny Cash and feck the taxman ) will pay for that trip to Lourdes in August.
The Minister, Jim Daly, ya know that quietly-spoken fella who’s always rolled out on TV programmes where he gets the head atin’ off him by well-meaning members of the public, well he announced this new scheme to combat rural isolation and drink driving, and imnprove road safety and general wellbeing in one fell swoop. Under his scheme, those who have NCT-passed cars, a clean-slate on the Garda Pulse system, and a clear head on a Saturday night can put themselves forward to become taxi-drivers for their local community. Now, the Minister says that this won’t affect the business of regular taxi drivers as these Rural Ubers or RUXIs as they are to be known, will only be operating in small villages and townlands which wouldn’t normally have a big enough market for a full-time taxi driver to survive.
The good thing for Paddy and Bridie is that they don’t even have to become your typical taxidrivers. They won’t have to have strong opinions on immigrants or metrosexuals, they need not even have a meter. They can set their own fare for bringing the drunk, the scuttered and the transmogrified back home along the byways of rural Ireland that only they would know how to traverse.
As ideas go, it’s not bad. But the National Transport Authority will have the last say on it next month. Will it be a flier? Time will tell. Until then, Paddy and Bridie will sit by the phone and watch that appy thingamajig.
And then they can expand the business by bringing all the drunk customers to Mass on Sundays. Cos you can never be sure you’re sober enough. A name for this, the MAXI service.
“You talking to me.....yes, you...”