Rhys Darby

Comedian Rhys Darby on life in New Zealand

Rhys Darby: Shambolic journey is a drive on the wild side

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The driver's got one eye on the road and the other on Google

The driver played an evenly matched game of "lookie roadie, lookie phonie". Photo / Thinkstock
The driver played an evenly matched game of "lookie roadie, lookie phonie". Photo / Thinkstock

I've often thought driving people around for a living would be interesting. The people you'd meet, the stories you'd hear. Sometimes though, as a passenger you get the feeling it's not their dream job. Case in point? Last week, while on tour in the States, I had arranged to be picked up from the airport ...

I got a phone call from the driver, a tad early I should point out, as I was still sitting on the plane. He gave me a few instructions, logical tips like where to collect my bag from before telling me that I should come up the stairs and meet him outside.

"Meet me outside door No 4," he said. Twenty minutes later after I'd eventually collected my bag I did as he asked and waited outside. Then I got a phone call ...

"Where are you?"

"I'm outside door No 4," I said.

He told me I was actually standing in the wrong bit of "outside". Apparently I was in the departures area. Oh dear, how shocking for a guy who's never been to this airport before. By now I'm thinking, "Just come and pick me up already!"

Soon he did arrive and I jumped in. He confirmed with me the hotel name, which I reconfirmed back with him and then off we went. Unfortunately though, not very far. He pulled the car over a mere 200m up the road.

"I'm just going to get the directions to the hotel," he said as he pulled out his phone and brought up Google Maps. I was thinking exactly what you're thinking right now ... "Surely he should have done that earlier?" What was he doing while I was waiting for my luggage?

The next part of my journey consisted of him driving with his phone on his lap. He played an evenly matched game of "lookie roadie, lookie phonie".

How disorganised can you be?

This was all rather odd, not to mention dangerous. The car started drifting out of its lane as he studied the phone. Thoughts of sudden death crossed my mind and this was not the way I wanted to go out.

"I ain't goin' out like that!" I sang quietly.

"Excuse me?"

"Just singing some Cypress Hill lyrics, everything okay up there?"

Eventually we arrived in the vicinity of the address. We were close but I couldn't see my hotel. In the end I had to get my own smartphone out which was obviously smarter than his because it took us all the way there.

Here's the upshot: In general most drivers are great but if you don't really care whether you get me there safely, can we all agree that another profession might be the way to go? I'll even drive you to the interview. Meet me outside door No 4.

- NZ Herald

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