x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

All is fair in the taxicab war

Overcoming cowardice when it comes to claiming a taxi in Abu Dhabi is essential.

It is to my detriment that I am impeccably polite when it comes to two things: complaining about food, and confronting queue jumpers.

This attribute, I believe, will forever remain a part of me, but since moving to Abu Dhabi, I have finally overcome my cowardice when it comes to claiming a taxi that is rightfully mine. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but there are certain rules with which one must abide when concerned with the topic of taxi etiquette.

If I'm standing at my usual spot, at the bus stop on Sheikh Zayed the First Street, near the Sheraton, do not be so crass as to meander over and stand one metre ahead of me.

I don't care if your skinny wet soya vanilla latte is getting cold - if I'm there first, I expect you to stand behind me at all times. In fact, if you're within my view - and I have 20/20 vision - then that means you're breaching my guidelines. And yes, I'm talking about you, person-who-casually-strolls-to-the-bus-stop-100-yards-ahead.

Consider me extreme, maybe, but I have had it with taxi stealers. The first time it occurred, I took on a smug air; convincing myself I was above such behaviour. "No problem," I chuckled inwardly. "If you need the taxi all that much, I pity you. Go on. Take it." Giving said culprit my best withering look - although it looked suspiciously like they were too busy enjoying their hot coffee to notice - I waited patiently for the next cab to pull over, which it did, less than a minute later.

Thinking the worst was over, I made my way to work unaware that this would become a daily occurrence; it was a battle to stop my mood swinging from meek to full-on Rambo mode. And, for the longest time, I managed to keep my cool. Sure, I developed a nervous twitch in the process, but I had risen above it all. I could handle it. That is, until a few months back, when I finally lost the plot. Watching the two men in front of me flag down a cab - my cab - I marched right past them, giving them the look of disdain I had perfected. Shutting the door, I felt dizzy with power. The battle had been won.

Of course, four months later, I have an inkling that I may have taken my new-found taxi vigilantism overboard. Waiting outside work last week, it did not escape my notice that a young man had positioned himself in front of me. We both flailed our hands wildly at the approaching cab, and by a stroke of luck it stopped at my side. Locking eyes with my competitor, I considered offering him my taxi, just as I thought about how uncomfortable he must have been with the huge bag he was carrying.

In fact, I was still thinking about his discomfort as my cab and I left a trail of dust in our wake.

Surely that counts for something. Right?