The Viking Taxi Driver
I almost didn’t leave Oslo last week. Well, I would have left but not in the normal sense and all because of the Viking taxi driver I had. Since my flight was due to leave at around 5pm, I asked someone at the office to book a taxi for me. I like taxis in Oslo as this is one of the few countries I’ve come across where you can pay using a credit card. This means that someone like me does not need to file an expense claim report because of money I may have forked out. This taxi driver had a slightly different setup.
As I walked out of the office and into his car, I noticed the VISA sign on the car window but, just to be sure, I asked if it would be okay to pay by card. He looked at me through the rear-view mirror and grunted.
“The machine isn’t working today. Do you have any cash?”.
I sighed as I had relied on not needing cash and had spent the spare Norwegian currency I had had on Pringles and beer the night before. “Hmm … let me see” I said; convincingly, I hoped. I made a show of rummaging through my wallet.
“I’ve got 100 Crowns” I said, “Will that do?” I only needed to get to the Central Station after all and this wasn’t really rush hour. The driver looked at his watch and grunted something about being able to get there. He promptly accelerated and took a sharp right turn that sent me sliding across the inside of the car before coming to an abrupt stop. I peeped out of the window to see where we were.
Rather than take the main thoroughfare, the driver opted for the back roads of Oslo, figuring that he’d get there quicker. His plan was cut short when he met a friendly Norwegian who was slowly unloading groceries from the back of his car which was parked right in the middle of the road. The unloader smiled at us as he disappeared into the house leaving a car full of groceries and cut-price toilet paper in front of us.
My driver opened his window and growled something in Norwegian, then looked at the car that had stopped behind us and said something to him. The car backed up, letting us reverse a little too. Suddenly, the driver engaged first gear, yanked the steering wheel to the right and drove straight for the wall. Before I knew what was happening, he twisted the steering to the left and was driving down the wide pavement, his fist permanently on the horn. Stunned pedestrians leapt for cover as I held on for dear life.
Five minutes later and one red light later, he brakes in front of a convenience store and points to the meter which reads 110 Crowns. I nod and get out to look for a bank machine but not before making sure my legs have stopped shaking. I do consider calling for another taxi but since I was running late, decide to stick with the Gumball driver instead. We’ve got this far, after all.
One bank machine, another five minutes and 30 Crowns change later and I’m at the train station.
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