Prepare for a Bumpy Ride

How many people claim: ‘I don’t need this’ or ‘I could do without that’ when things go wrong? They don’t like hassle, aggravation or stress; nor do I. But sometimes a ‘quiet life’ becomes a euphemism for an unfulfilled, unrequited life.

I recently met a Mediterranean taxi driver (on the coast, not in the Sea), who asked us to fasten our backseat belts (unusual), drove carefully (unique) and treated us to his philosophy of life (traditional amongst cabbies worldwide): essentially, he wanted a quiet life, worked for himself whichever hours he chose, chilled out when he wanted, avoided the rat race. Unfortunately, he’d just had a fierce argument with some French passengers about a small proportion of his last fare, which had flustered him. He was so pleased to pick up an Englishman, who valued fair play (and fare pay!), was under the jurisdiction of the Mother of Parliament’s and knew the rules of cricket.

‘The U.K.,’ he said ‘left a good impression on its former colonies – a well-run civil service, proper schools, decent postal service: the French left chaos in theirs…’ (see how an argument over a fare can affect historical analysis?).

It might be true – or partially true – but public services in the UK are now under-valued and threadbare. Participants in our Mother of Parliaments fiddled their expenses, the Royal Mail charges a king’s ransom for a first class stamp.

I thought about what he’d said as I paid him. Yes a quiet life, everything going smoothly, an easy ride, benefits blood pressure and possibly life expectancy. But we sometimes need a little adventurous excitement, adrenaline-hits or challenges, initiatives that can succeed or fail, risk-taking with a view to bettering ourselves.

Yes, drive carefully and put on your seatbelt. But don’t complain if there’s a bumpy ride ahead. It’s what life brings. Just hope your personal suspension – family, health, finances and friends – eases the way.