“We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.” Henry David Thoreau
The new decade began with a bang and lots of adventure. I had decided to move to the USA and, as word spread, friends in London and elsewhere invited me to even more parties and celebrations as a way to say goodbye, bon voyage… our last hurray! One fateful night in January, one of my girlfriends, Ije, invited me to attend a party in North Finchley. It was supposed to be a surprise party but since we both hated surprises, she told me anyway.
Back in the day, friends would go to each others homes to get ready for a party; those were the earliest rumblings of the entourage scene. That night, Ije stopped by my home with her outfit. We got dressed and called our local taxi service in Golders Green but, the wait was going to be too long. Ije and I figured we’d walk to the High Street (GG Rd) and grab a cabbie and head off to the party. As I remember it, it was snowing quite heavily that evening and traffic was sparse. Fortunately, or so we thought at the time, we didn’t have to wait too long. Soon a black cab, known as a London black cabbie (hackney carriage), swerved around the corner, almost striking the metal frame of the bus shelter where we stood to avoid the snowfall.
We happily waved at him, thanking the gods of small favors, and when he wound down the passenger side window, we asked if he could give us a ride to the address in Finchley. “Yes me love… hop in; it’s on me way home anyway!” he said slurring his speech. Well, I say that now, but at the time, I just thought he had a slight speech impediment or a rather thick cockney accent. We hopped in and he shot off like a Nascar driver in the race of his life.