One minute I was looking into a face that looked like he wanted to rip my head off the next we were best buddies. An interesting start to the weekend...
We’re in Edinburgh for MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY. Its Past midnight, we’ve no idea what bus to get. Taxi is the only option. The other half of our group had got in one taxi; Thomas and I were left follow - I was already forming the "follow that taxi..." line! but we had to wait. As we wait I’m conscious that the drunken outburst that was filling Princess St was directed at me.
"F..k you you w..nker" seemed to be the general gist of things. We’d jumped the taxi queue – we didn’t know. The tirade got louder and more abusive. The gathering crowd sensing action goaded the anger. I weighed up the options - "...right I'm going to sort him out" I hear myself say.
Thomas looks on anxiously as I draw every inch of my 6' 3", I try and make my shoulders seem wider and walk purposely towards the source of abuse. A shaven headed bloke dripping anger and attitude continues to berate me. I square up to him and ask gently "what is your problem?",
I stroke his shoulder in a semi-patronising manner "ok…ok…ok…shhh…I’m sorry… shhh...I didn’t know – all you had to do was mention it… try not be so aggressive" Off he goes again until his girlfriend with a soft Scottish accent whispers
"Drew, Drew, he’s said sorry…!".
It takes a while before he realises I’m not up for a fight and he starts calming down. I reach down and pick up his cigarette that has been lost in all his jostling. "Where yous going then…?" he speaks through trying to light his cigarette, "what yous here for...?" before we knew it we were chatting. He apologises for his behaviour. "Och I feel awful" he breathes through a haze of smoke.
"Actually for where we are from you were being quite polite… eh Tom?" Thomas who has said nothing nods!
As we talk about MPH - a taxi sidles up. "There’s your taxi…" Drew and his softly spoken girlfriend say goodbye and walk off. As they get in the taxi Drew shouts out the window "Oi!... Oi yous two! come on we’ll share it!". Tom and I pick up our rucksacks and run up and get in the taxi.
On the way we talk about what I do. Scottish football! Politics. Then I realise I haven’t any change to split the fair. "Och man…don’t worry about it…the least I can do!"
As we left the taxi it was as though we were saying goodbye to family!
"Friendly these Scottish people aren’t they!?" Thomas comments as the taxi drives off.