Madam let me tell you one thing - wheres your sign at the airportWell this week’s Signage Sunday is something of an inverse – a lack of sign rather than the usual amusing (or bemusing) signs I share with you, dear reader.

You see, as you know, I’ve just come back from London. A thing I do quite often – it’s a peripatetic life I lead, which is rather marvelous.

I do it a lot and I have a system for it all. Systems are the way forward. There’s the car company I use in the UK, the one in the US and the lovely people who collect me and drop me off in India.

When I still went out to work and didn’t just sit about all day on the sofa and call it work – I used to have a full-time driver. Well, a share in a full time driver. It was rather lovely, and very handy. There was always the same person driving me around and we got used to where I wanted to go and the little quirks of working together.

Most of all, there was someone to do the little chores that drivers do – picking up food, refilling the kitchen gas bottle (or not, in my case), dropping things off at friends. Drivers do a lot more than just drive in this country. And it’s all rather ace.

Pointless having one now I work from home though, so now I use the same car service, but only on the days I need a driver. It’s ok – they’re still the same fine people and the same lovely clean cars and reliable and everything. But of course I get a totally different driver each time. I’m not paying for one person, so I get whoever’s on duty. Or, if they’re very busy, a relief driver from an affiliate company.

Which means, that the people who drive for me now are one of about 20 people.

So when I arrive on the 5am flight from London I know there will be someone outside to pick me up – they’re very reliable. But I have no idea what they look like. They might well know me, may well have driven for me before. But I’ll have only really seen the back of their head and frankly, I couldn’t pick my driver out of a crowd if my life depended on it. I usually can’t even recognise the car, as each driver comes with their own car from the fleet.

So when I land there is always a message from the driver saying he is outside waiting for me. I go through all the arrival formalities and collect my bags and as I push out into the warm night, I am confronted with about 80 drivers…

…and I haven’t got a clue which one’s mine. And does he have a sodding sign?

No, he sodding doesn’t.

Instead we play phone tag till eventually they find me.

Get a sodding sign, people! It’ll speed things up no end. I’ve been up since the dawn of time, I’m cranky, I want to go home I do not want to be having a conversation that runs roughly speaking along the lines of:

‘Madam, I am here’

Yes, so am I. Where are you?

‘I am here’

This happens every time I get back. Sometimes I ask the car company to get the driver to use a sign – they treat this politely, but as the sort of weird and eccentric request foreigners make. But then they’re not stood there are 5am saying – yes, but where are you?

Thinking about it perhaps I should show this post to the lovely owner of the car company?

Raj – I like your service, but please get your boys to use a sign. It’ll help no end.


This sign is part of our regular series, Signage Sundays, where I indulge my obsession for all things sign related (and, I confess, occasionally, a few things that aren’t sign related – but it is mostly signs, and mostly Indian signs at that).

If you’d like to read more check out these vaguely related posts

Seatbelt is broken Madam, no problem

I stood arguing with a man with one arm

The view from the back seat

Or look at the complete list of Signage Sundays.

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