Simple changes

I was talking to a taxi driver the other day and he was telling me that he was going through a rough patch at home.

I like to get into conversations with taxi drivers about them rather than their political beliefs and so on. I think it’s kind of interesting to talk to them about what makes them tick because frankly it must be kind of boring being a taxi driver. And there are the main thing that everyone likes talking about is – themselves. So I imagine that it gives them some fun and is an interesting diversion in their day. Of course it might be that every other punter is doing the same. Or it might be that underneath their brusque exterior they are essentially very shy people and that is why they chose a job where they spend no time with anyone but also hopelessly close to them?

So anyway for whatever reason I do it I tend to talk to taxi drivers about their personal lives, and you get some very interesting stories. And this guy, Paul was his name, was going through a rough patch at home. He had done something he said, he didn’t want to say what it was, but he had done something a few years ago and his wife had never really forgiven him. And then his wife in retribution had cheated on him, which – he told me – had stretched things to breaking point. There had been a lot of rowing and shouting and this, he said, had been their way of things for the last few years. But a few months ago they had been on best behaviour as they had been called into the school of their child and had been told about how their child’s behaviour had been getting worse for the last two years and had suddenly got so bad that they had been called in. So, he said, he wasn’t now sure what it was that had caused it to happen but he thought it might have been because they were all dressed up to meet the headmaster, and had been on best behaviour themselves, but after the meeting they had sat in the car in the carpark and had a conversation.

The conversation, he said, had started because he had said to her, “You know how we’re always saying that we’re staying together for the kid? I’m starting to think that it might not be doing him much good”.

And ever since the conversation things had started to get better. Because while they still argued, there was more chance of a conversation now then their had been. Things still weren’t great though he said.

At this point I made a suggestion, it was just a little suggestion, but one that I’d been thinking about for a while. I suggested to him that he swap sides of the bed with his wife. I mean there’s no reason why you have one side or another, people just start on one side or the other and then stick with it forever. And really, in the end, you’re just getting stuck in a rut. And even though it seems such a small thing it does three things simultaneously. It literally gives you a new perspective, it moves you out of your comfort zone and if you argue with the idea then you know that there’s no hope. What I mean by the last point is that there is no real reason not to try it, it might help it might not. But the person who suggests it is at least trying to make things better, the person who says no has no leg to stand on if they aren’t even willing to change sides of the bed to save their relationship then the relationship is probably doomed.

He said he was going to try it.

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