Hi folks

I’ve been thinking a lot during lockdown which for me can be quite dangerous. There is a strong, lingering smell of burning around my home and it’s played havoc with my smoke alarm.

But living on your own during a pandemic leaves time for reflection in between Zoom calls. Figuratively speaking, I’ve picked up a fare from lockdown to self discovery. On my journey I’ve found I can be happy without triple quilted loo roll, I don’t need to shower every day to be a good person and playing board games is beneficial for my mental fitness. I actually came across an Edinburgh University Study which found that regularly playing board games slows the decline in your brain function as you get older. I’ve not found a study that proves my hypotheses about loo roll though.

My big discovery is that I want to try again to find my soul mate: the one I can sound off to about my deepest fears and highest hopes and the one I would be happy to lose to when we play Taxi! Board Game. So, I uploaded my Epixel of Youth to a well known dating app.

My problem is my erudite cabbie-punter banter buckles under romantic pressure. I’m reduced from James Bond in my cab to Mr Bean on a first date. To help me through first date nerves, I’ve swotted up on do’s and don’ts of dating and scribbled three reminders for a successful date on a scrap piece of paper:

1. pay compliments and ask questions

2. dial down the sound offs

3. if I like her…don’t accidentally call her Lorraine

Read on for my first appearance on First Dates Zoom (usual privacy settings applied…)

“Hello there. Nice to virtually meet you, Susan.”

“Yes, I can see you.”

“Okay, Susie it is. You have lovely lockdown hair. It’s very Hermione Grainger.”

“Yeah. It’s a compliment. I meant an older Hermione.”

“No. No. I’m not saying you look old. Do you like salt and vinegar or sauce on your chips?”

“Yeah. Me too. I used to be a sauce man before I became a Personal Transport Professional.”

“I like to think there’s more to being a good taxi driver than just getting punters to their destination. I like to add a personal touch.”

“No, it’s not the taste. I’ve gone off sauce cos when it congeals it’s really difficult to clean off Lorraine’s seats.”

“Haha. No, she’s my cab. I named her after..err… You know, like they do ships and planes.”

“It’s a long story. Tell me about your job. It must be really interesting.”

“That sounds rewarding. Helping people deal with their personal problems. My dad has suggested I should see a therapist.”

“I feel fine about  it. My dad and me have a good relationship based on healthy competition and mutual mockery.”

“Nah, we don’t do much emotional stuff. We stick to what he calls our man-to-mans.”

“Well, we do shake hands.”

“I can tell you to the day. Our last hug was 16th June 1998.”

“Because it was the last time Scotland scored a goal in a major international football tournament.”

“Yes, I do have a strong female role model. She’s warm, generous and caring. Intelligent and funny too. She’s a really important part of my life.”

“Oh yeah. And my mum as well. You’re very good at this. I feel I could tell you anything. Do you have somebody who listens to you?”

“Well, I’d be happy to. I’ve got a bit of counselling experience  from my job.”

“Most of the time it’s sports, politics and celebrities but I’ve been asked for marriage advice, career advice and even health advice.”

“No. I can’t say. Like in your line of work, cabbie-punter privilege is sacrosanct.”

“Yep, what’s said in the cab stays in the cab. I’ve also done a bit of self-therapy to help me deal with adverse experiences from my past.”

“Well, I’ve not found any studies that help much. I think I might be breaking new therapeutic ground.”

“I suffer from something I call TED.”

“Trauma from Early Dating.”

“It is. It can be quite debilitating.”

“I get flashbacks when I’m in stressful dating situations. They become stronger and more vivid if I like the person. Wait. Give me a few seconds. I’m having one now.“

“Yeah. I can hear you.”

“ Okay….CaAalm.. Caaaaalm. Caaaaaaalm.”

“Oh. That’s really worked. I feel better already. I’m glad a professional was on hand.”

“Oh no. That’s the time up warning already.”

“Yeah. Me too.  We should do this again.”

“Definitely. It was nice to met you, Lorraine.”