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Two Interesting Career Choices

Interesting conversation with the taxi driver this morning on the way to the station. He said that London cabbies are some of the only people who start their careers at the top and finish at the bottom.

The reason is that in order to be licensed, they have to master ‘The Knowledge’, and so begin with an encyclopedic familiarity of where everything in London is, and how to get there from everywhere else. But over time, streets change, pubs change names or go out of business, and the Knowledge he was tested on twenty-three years ago doesn’t always apply to the real world anymore.

What’s more, as drivers get older and get seniority, they stop having to work ‘unsociable hours’ and stop going to the sketchier parts of town, so that over time, they wind up familiar with a smaller part of London than when they started.

So experience is almost making him worse at his job. But he did say that once he drove a guy with a big silver case handcuffed to his wrist. When they stopped at a light, the guy said ‘Turn around: I’ll show you what’s in the case.’ It was the World Cup (of soccer). The guy’s job was to transport the thing for promotional events, transferring it off to local security, who are then responsible for it. But all this guy does for a living is travel around handcuffed to the World Cup (and occasionally startle cabbies).

We were waking the other day, and Mrs R said ‘I think we really surprise some people. Some people (who know you’re a priest) are surprised when they find out what we’re really like. Others are just surprised when they find out what you do for a living.’

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