Holy crap! That can’t be possible! The car was heading for disaster at 170 km/h. The space between the two cars in front of us was surely not enough for this cab to squeeze through. Three lanes wide. Three cars driving at perhaps 80 km/h. And here we were coming up at more than twice their speed. I could be freaking out. Instead I reached for the safety belt. Slowly. I didn’t want to offend the taxi driver. I was part terrified, part determined to put on the safety belt unnoticed before I could brace for impact.
Woosh! Like a baby squeezed through a tiny opening at birth, with a few centimeters to spare at each side, and with the the driver whistling a funny tune while he turned around wondering if I said something to him. My lips had let out a tiny squeak, and he wondered if enjoyed the scenery. Scenery? What scenery. I was close to shitting my pants and he was looking at me and the mountains. Look at the fuckin’ road.
Now what?? Off the road? This time there was no space in between the car in front. So this bat shit taxi driver decides to pass on the outside of the road at 150. Gravel, sand and dust everywhere and again – woosh! We were back on the road. The only thing that indicated that this driver was not acting on his death wish was his relaxed and jolly whistling.
In between the death defying stunts I got around to ask him “How long have you been driving a cab?”. In Greek-English he revealed that he had been driving since 32 years and with only 1 or 2 weeks of vacation each year. And 7 days per week no less and some 14 hours each day. Sure to offend the guy, my lips formulated a rude question before I could swallow the words “Is this how you usually drive?”. “Sure” he answered unaffected in between the funny tunes.
I started calculating – 14 hours times 7 days equal 98 hours. Times 48 weeks or so becomes 4700, times 32 years is more than 150000 hours of driving like mad. And with less than two hours from Athens to Poros, my chance of dying on this trip is less than 1 over 75000. I am safe! The maths got to me and I immediately decided to relax and enjoy the ride like it would have been in an amusement park.
Then it dawned on me – this guy is displaying a degree of trust like I’ve never seen before. Not just in his own abilities as a driver but in all the other drivers on the road. From then on I was enjoying the scenery, the ride and the admiration of this cab drivers display of trust.