Melissa Kite Melissa Kite

Real life | 17 September 2011

Melissa Kite's Real Life

My local cab firm has gone global. Its drivers are now so fantastically cosmopolitan they no longer speak any English or know anything at all about Britain. The situation reached crisis point the other night.

‘Royal Opera House,’ I kept saying, very slowly. ‘Royal …Opera …House.’

‘Roya’ Oppa How?’ said the minicab driver.

‘No. Listen. Ro …yal …Op …er …a House. It’s a big building with opera inside it.’

He furrowed his brow. ‘Raya Open Horse?’

‘Fine, just drive, we’ll work it out when we get near.’

‘Poss Cod,’ he said, looking panic-stricken.

‘WC2,’ I said. He put WC2 into his sat nav but of course that only narrowed it down to 300 possible destinations.

‘Please,’ I said, ‘I show you. We go. Drive.’

‘Coven’ Gaaaarden?’ he said, staring manically at his TomTom.

‘Yes, yes, good,’ I said. ‘I like. Is good. Cov …ent …Gaaaaar …den!’ This seemed to soothe him and he started to drive. ‘Sorry about this,’ I said, laughing, in an attempt to lighten the atmosphere.

‘Wah?’ he shouted, turning round so that the car swerved all over the road.

‘Nothing, don’t worry. Keep driving.’

‘WAH?’

‘Go, go! Is good!’

‘I go,’ he said, looking horribly determined.

Thanks to the sat nav, we made it to Covent Garden and I began to feel hopeful as I saw the top of the Opera House roof loom into view. But we sped past and turned down a side street. ‘There,’ I said. ‘WAH!’ he shouted, as the car swerved. I decided to keep quiet on the basis that I didn’t have any way of instructing him to turn round using the words ‘Is good’ and ‘Go!’.

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