I Still Remember
The Unexpectedly Educated Cab Fare
By Joey Lindstrom

It's the middle of winter, February 1996. I'm in Calgary, a city not noted for its tropical weather patterns. And I'm driving a cab. (Associated Cabs - if you're in Calgary, call us at 299-1111!)

It's also Saturday night. Well, Sunday morning actually, around 2:30am. Combine the cold weather with the weekend drinking and partying, and that adds up to BUSY BUSY BUSY.

I get dispatched to an address out in Monterey Park, a new residential subdivision. I'm expecting a carload of drunks, either going home or heading off to the next party. Instead, I get an older Scottish couple (I estimate around 50-ish) who've been visiting with some old friends and now want me to take them home. Cool. I've had my share of drunks tonight and I'm happy to have a more "normal" fare.

The drive isn't too far, just over to Falconridge (about a $7 ride). Since they seem to be the "reserved" type, I had turned down my car stereo to a level just BARELY audible shortly before they got in: I figured the last thing this pair wanted to listen to was Gary Numan's White Noise live album.

We're about half-way to Falconridge. We're having a pleasant conversation which, naturally, has turned to the extreme (even for Calgary) cold weather we're experiencing. The wife is speaking, replying to something I've said, but stops in mid-sentence. After an uncomfortable 5-second pause, I'm about to say something (anything!), when she turns to her husband and says, "this sounds like Gary Numan!"

The husband listens for a moment, and agrees, and asks me if I'd turn the music up.

I'm kinda stunned, but I comply. Now they can actually hear the song that's playing, which happens to be Cold Warning. Yep, they're convinced, this is Numan.

Now I'm thinking to myself, "Self, it's one thing for someone to recognize 'Cars' or 'Are 'Friends' Electric?', it's quite another for them to pick out 'Cold Warning', especially at that volume level. And to top it off, they're not exactly in the age bracket you normally associate with Numan fans. Self, this is just plain strange!"

Seeing my stunned expression, the husband gives me the explanation. Turns out that back in 1984, they and their son John lived in Edinburgh. John was a huge Numanoid and wanted desperately to be allowed to go to London to catch Numan playing live at the Hammersmith. They refused, but after enough badgering finally "gave in" to a certain extent. They wouldn't let him go... but they'd TAKE HIM to the show. And that's exactly what they did - they were actually IN ATTENDANCE at the very concert that they were now hearing in a taxicab in a foreign country 10,000 km away.

They went on to talk about how much of a fan John was, and how they have, after a fashion, become fans themselves. I gave them my card, they passed it along to John (who now lives in Calgary as well), and since then we've traded several videos and hard-to-find audio cassettes. Talk about an unexpected way to meet three fellow fans!