The start of a shift involves a myriad of tasks to configure the cab for 12 hours in the saddle. One essential is lowering the stereo bass and treble levels to 35%. This protects the speakers from being blown apart by drunken idiots. I'm forever telling them, 'This ain't no disco!'
Late on Saturday night a drunken moron around 40 years old fell into the front seat and his missus climbed in the back. Immediately he hit the stereo, surfing for pumping tunes and turned it way up.
It was loud but I was confident the pre-shift adjustment could handle the volume at 26/35. So I let it go whilst he back-chatted his missus above the noise. "What about that guy you was talkin' to?", he snarled, then cranked up the volume to drown out her response. This was a nasty drunk...
Whilst exiting the Bridge the volume started flashing over 30 whilst his head drooped in a drunken stupor. The envelope had been pushed and I instantly flicked his hand off the knob and turned it down. “That's enough,” I ordered as he snapped alert in complete surprise.
"What?” he whined. “There's no sign here that says I can't have loud music!” So I gave it to him straight. “Yeah, and there's no sign here that says you can blow up my fuckin' speakers. Where's your respect?” I was upset, and ignored him whilst he proceeded to throw a tantrum.
The missus tried valiantly to calm him down and apologised for his behaviour. This only infuriated him more. “Why are sticking up for him,” he bitched. “He won't remember you when we're gone.” But I remember him.
At Cremorne Junction he demanded we stop, then refused to pay, leaving it to his embarrassed missus to cough up the dough. He flung open the door and dragged out the street directory as he went.
On the footpath he hesitated, not knowing what to do with the directory so he threw it back with full force into the cab, scattering loose pages everywhere. Then the door was slammed shut with an almighty force.
Handing over the change I told her, “You don't need to apologise, lady, I'm just glad I don't have to live with him.” Cruel, but true. No one should have to live with that.
As she alighted he charged back to the door and reefed it open again. I floored it and he smacked the side of the cab with an almighty crack. Immediately I stopped and jumped out to inspect the damage whilst she pinned him up against a shop window screaming, “Nathan, don't! Nathan, don't! No! No!”
There was no obvious damage and, importantly, the side mirror was intact. More importantly I made no eye contact as he was totally enraged, issuing frothing challenges and flailing his hands armed with two shoes. He was going to beat the crap out of me...if only his missus would let him go.
I got back into the cab and checked for traffic. On pulling away I couldn't help calling out, “Hey, see ya later asshole!” Sure, this was unnecessary but at the time it felt real good.
Finally he broke free to fling a shoe at the cab which cannoned off the rear window and onto the roadway, only to be devoured by a line of approaching cars. A tough break for the kid.