Human Luxury: The Black Taxi

News - Human Luxury: The Black Taxi

August 14th 2013

What is Human Luxury? You know it, even if you've never defined it. It's the validation of a small human desire in a single moment. It's great service, a moment of private delight, the creation of a unique, inimitable memory. In a series of personal interviews we ask the YOO team to convey what human luxury means to them.

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Black Cab2
Emma: A few weekends ago I was offered a last minute ticket to Secret Garden Party, in Cambridgeshire. It was a great weekend but inevitably Sunday evening came around all too quickly. I found myself suddenly alone at Stansted, a little worse for wear, running to catch a train back to Liverpool Street in time for the last tube home. 

I caught the train, but in the second challenge I failed.

As I trotted down onto the tube station platform, weary and weighed down by my rucksack, it was announced that services from this station had now ceased. My heart sank deep into the muddy wellingtons I still had on. Monday morning was looming large.

A helpful guy in a high vis jacket pointed me in the direction of the bus stop and reeled off the route I would have to take which involved a number of tiresome changes and the threat of a long wait. I trailed out despondently into the rapidly cooling night time air. And at the moment, of course, the heavens opened.

It was then that I saw it, through the sluicing downpour, that reassuring letter box of yellow light winking in the distance. Subconsciously I did the maths. What price was I willing to put on my own expediency? Was an hour and a half of my time and a slow Monday worth £30? The words ‘throw money at it’ bubbled into my mind. My arm went into the air.

Soon I was comfortably installed in the leather sanctuary of a black cab being whisked over London Bridge. As the city lights refracted through the rain drops on the window it struck me - this is genuine human luxury. It was ok that I felt unable to cope with the idea of getting myself across London after a heavy weekend. That feeling of late-night vulnerability to the stress of a midnight struggle home with a heavy bag had been validated instantly.

The genius of a black taxi is its ubiquity; it’s in the probability that one will materialise right when you need it, right there, as if by magic. It’s in the gift of relinquishing all responsibility for yourself to the cabby, who knows exactly where you want to go. No poring over my iPhone waiting for Google maps or Journey Pro to load. No waiting in the rain at a dirty bus stop. Instead, a sense of security, calm and the unexpected treat of a tour of my favourite city in its ritzy night-time garb. That’s when London looks its best.

I was home and in bed in 20 minutes.

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