Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Breaking the Taxi Code

I have no other cab pics, this one's in Thai
I've been meaning to write this for quite some time now, and since that time, several months back, nothing has happened to make me change my opinion that I have incontrovertible good luck when it comes to cabs. I take a cab almost every other day so I think if my number would ever be up, then it would have been up for weeks now. So far, I'm still cool, I could count on one hand the really bad experiences I've ever had in cabs, and the worst didn't even have anything to do with the driver (think post-rager vomit on the floor and excitable roaches).

Maybe it has to do with how I'm totally empathetic to the cause of public transport. It's a respectable living. Your carbon footprint should be lesser if you join the mass commute, but then come on, the cab will be taking in other passengers anyway, and they've been wasting gas minutes before you hailed it. Taxi rides are based entirely on trust, I think. If I were a serial killer (Sherlock), I would use a cab as my front.

Every time I get in there, I think of the dude up front and what he's been through, which is why I guess I don't really get mad when I catch cab drivers get droopy-eyed while driving. Sure, there's the matter of surviving the trip, but I'm not sure why I don't get scared enough to get mad at the driver or make him let me get off. It might be irresponsible, but I've always felt immune to accidents whenever I'm inside cabs--strange, I know.

My standards are pretty basic: cab drivers who don't complain about the traffic, won't talk to me, and won't ask for dagdag for whatever reason. I'm a fabulous tipper so when they ask for dagdag I'd deliberately withhold the tip to spite him--unless the line has been delivered in such a polite way I'd give in anyway.

Perhaps it's those low standards that have allowed me to open up to cab drivers far more than I ever should be doing in real life, given as I'm a girl and I'm often tired and way below my game when I get in. Over the years I've made small talk with cab drivers about the weather, I've shook hands with them (I don't remember why, though, maybe prompted by a really good conversation, I guess), been given at least one indecent proposal, if not an underhanded invitation to become their suki from thereon, I've been narrated life stories and the travails of love, I've gotten really cool cab drivers who listen to RX and say "Yuck" when they see traffic, I've even gotten one who sang along Adele's Someone Like You when it came on. I've even sung power ballads with a couple of cab drivers (Jon Bon Jovi, ano pa), and laughed with them when listening to Papa Jack sessions.

However, the best cab driver in recent memory, hands down, would have to be the guy with the sprained neck. He ditched some big girl because he saw me hail him first and so he waited up for me and when I got in I told him where I was going and he did a half-body turn to face me to say, "Ha?" which I first interpreted as, "Ang layo naman!" but before I recovered he smiled but didn't move a muscle. "Joke lang," he said, "Actually nai-sprain yung leeg ko kaya hindi ako makalingon. Saglit ha," and then he ever so slowly shifted his body back to its former position.

Later on he made small talk saying he'd been on a bender earlier that morning and not only did he have a sprained neck but it seems he couldn't hear from one ear because he'd fallen of the seat of the bus he was riding in on his way home. Normally I hate it when taxi drivers make small talk, especially when I'm not in the mood, but there was something about this dude that made me want to engage. By the time I was in Marikina I was laughing sincerely, not politely, about life in Cavite and life as a cab driver in general. I was tempted to say, "Kuya, tingin ka naman dito o," when I handed over the fare but was really just happy about the trip home I didn't bother.

I'm not sure what I've done (or am doing) right but there it is, one of my many secret superpowers. Taxi cabs love me.


Tin Lagrimas said...

Sana pinilit mo syang lumingon ng biglaan para matanggal yung sprain(a trick for stiff necks). But that might cost him so...
Diba you had this one cab ride na you ended up in a spa instead of home kasi, lo and behold, handbrake ang pang-brake nya?

Christina the Astonishing said...

Uh-huh. Biglang napa-Nuat Thai si ate. Pero A for effort si kuya. Mairaos lang ang trip hahaha.