Some minutes later the taxi came and the driver walked up to me inside the lobby of the hotel and read me the number on the ticket. I then left the hotel with him and got into the car. After stopping just outside to throw out some left over fast food remains we were on our way. Note here that this is the hotel lobby, where there were lights.
We then struck up a conversation. I can't remember the precise details and so this is mostly paraphrased, but I think it captures the spirit of the thing.
TD: The centre is quite packed
TD: It's just gone 11. You can't be thinking of going straight to bed now.
ME: No, I'm probably going to stay up most of the night packing; left it to the last minute.
TD: That's not very good.
ME: Well, I say that but I've got a few boxes packed. But there's so much still to do...
TD: Where are you moving to?
TD: Oh, yes. So that is from where you are going now?
ME: Oh, yes.
TD: Was that a friend you left at the hotel?
ME: No, a relative.
TD: Your dad?
ME: No, grandad.
TD: Good for you.
TD: Horfield is nice. Is someone helping you move? Your boyfriend?
ME: (shocked pause) No.
TD: Do you have a boyfriend?
ME: (long-ish pause) No.
TD: That's a surprise. I'd expect someone nice like you to have a boyfriend. Are you sure?
TD: No boyfriend love? A girlfriend then perhaps?
(A fight breaks out in the car in front. I missed the action myself but from the reactions the taxi driver and a drunk traded blows)
(The taxi driver activates the central locking)
TD: Don't worry miss, I've locked the doors.
TD: That's awful. Drunk people get into your taxi very nicely and then turn nasty.
TD: That driver was well within his rights. Good on him.
ME: (stupified silence)
TD: He was right to kick them out of his cab. Of course you'd probably never really know, love.
ME: (??????????) (long silence)
TD: So who is helping you move? Not your boyfriend? Sure you're not someone who has to move all her things by herself?
ME: No, my Dad is coming down for the day later.
TD: That's good. By the way I don't even know your name...
ME: (long pause)
TD: (long pause) But that's a boys name. (pause) So you're a boy then?
TD: Sorry about that. I thought you were a girl!
ME: Don't worry about it. Though that does make twice in my lifetime.
TD: I apologize though.
ME: I know I shouldn't have shaved this morning, it would have gone differently with some stubble!
TD: Sorry. (pause) So no girlfriend then.
TD: Why? You seem a nice person...
TD: Ok love, so where here then?
ME: Umm, just after the railway sign, well, railway footpath sign anyway.
TD: Ok my dear, oh, sorry...
ME: Yeah, anywhere here.
TD: (pulls to a stop)
ME: So how much is it?
TD: (fiddling to work out fare...) May I ask you a rude question? It's seven pounds...
TD: Are you gay?