Wisdom in a Black Cab

It all started with a haircut…

My hair had been neglected for far too long.  I sent an SOS out to my friends and was told that I must go to Salon Josh Wood in hip and trendy Notting Hill.  I called and got an appointment for Friday afternoon.  Coincidentally, that morning Gwyneth’s blog, GOOP, popped up in my inbox with the title: How To Do Your Own Hair.  Apparently DIY Hair requires 12 complicated steps and should first be styled by George Northwood who works at the same salon I was about to visit!  I did worry a bit when one of his helpful hints included how to do a ponytail…do I really need direction for the laziest hairstyle in the world?

Anyway, off I went on Friday.  I was running late, so I hailed a cab.  This is where the story begins….

I stepped in, gave my location, and opened my magazine.  My cab driver was an old, friendly guy with a thick build, bald head, ruddy cheeks, and a strong Cockney accent.  He was very chatty.  In fact, he was insistent that I converse with him:

Where are you going to Luv?

To get a haircut. (I looked back down at my magazine)

At your usual place? Do you live in that posh part of town?

No, somewhere new. I don’t live there.

I never met a woman who wasn’t going to her regular place.  This is brave!  You are embarking an a bold adventure!!

(Really? I thought to myself)

Do you read poetry?

Sometimes. (This was too much)

Well get your phone out and Google this.  Go on,  find your phone Luv.  (I obediently dug through my purse, and then he proceeded to spell the word:  DESIDERATA)  Read it.  You won’t be disappointed.  Inspiration for the girl who is on her way to somewhere new.

I did as I was told (I had no other choice), and he was right, I was not disappointed.  Actually, I was quite touched.  The poem was written by an American, Max Ehrmann, and became widely known after being found at Adlai Stevenson’s deathbed in 1965.

I thought I’d pass it forward for all of you.


Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

A bit more than I bargained for on my way for a mundane haircut!  My hair looks better but not all that different.  More importantly, I feel better knowing there is a cab driver sharing beautiful inspiring poetry as he drives along the streets of London.

I like the last line best.  What better quest is there in life?

Strive to be happy

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Josiane September 9, 2015 at 10:00 am

not much else could be better. 🙂 the steret where i grew up has the most lovely crab apple trees and there is one week when they are all abloom with beauty. My favorite week. ♥


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