Don’t Make Me Get Ghetto!
Oh, yes! I so should have said that to him rather than flexing my limited Arabic muscles. I don’t know why I bothered trying to get him to see that he was in the wrong, ‘cos his intent from get-go was obviously to make me out like a fool. But my Mum taught me better, and I’m far from being a fool – shortsighted maybe, but no fool! It went a little like this:
I needed to get to a supermarket, I was on the hunt for lettuce (YES, lettuce), and so I hailed a taxi for a journey that could easily have taken me fifteen minutes on foot. As soon as I got in, I told him exactly where I needed to go and he was all in agreement. Let me say, I know the route by car, so when the guy decided to go in a completely different route, I was like, “Hold on, bruv!” (My South-Londoner side coming out here.) I then looked down at his meter and noticed that it already read 6LE (6 Egyptian pounds), and I said to him that he should reset it. Now, anyone who wasn’t dodgy would have apologised and simply reset it, but this geeza went on like I was asking him for something unreasonable!
Anyhow, so he proceeds on his scenic route to get to the supermarket, and when we finally arrived I looked down at the meter, and lo-and-behold it read 17.50LE!
I was not having it! How in the world (meter or no meter) was a fifteen minute journey that costs no more than 5LE costing 17.50LE?! I went off on one and explained in my patchy Arabic that the two points we travelled between were not far, was a walkable distance (okay, I know, I should have just walked), and did not cost 17.50LE. I kicked up a fuss and at one point I almost turned ghetto. But I didn’t. I sat back and said, in English, “I ain’t paying that,” to which he replied, “EH?!” Now that I think about it, he must have thought I was swearing at him or abusing him or something, ‘cos the disgust on his face was so strong that I could smell it! No joke.
The normal custom would have been to have gotten out, throw whatever I wanted to pay onto the seat and walked. But I couldn’t ‘cos I didn’t have any change! I only have a tenner on me and he would not give me change. Oh, I was fuming and in between telling him to fear God, watch himself and saying that he was a thief, I threw 10LE at him, got out muttering and slammed the passenger door good and proper.
I have never been so angry in my entire life! As I walked home from the supermarket I had clenched fists, and I know that anyone who saw me probably thought, ‘uh-oh, don’t mess with her.’ If they’d said it, I would have just said, “Don’t make me get ghetto!”
– The Londoner