I’m a walker. Since my freshmen year, I’ve been walking to and from school except during the rare bouts of laziness when I decide to waste 15 bucks on trike fare. But losing two phones last year as I comfortably sat in the sidecar was the last straw and from then on, I walked anywhere along Katipunan. But like every other super human, I am bound by my earthly attributes. I can only walk so far. For example, the nearest mall (my least favorite), is not really within a walking distance. Unless I have extra feet to spare. Enter my dependence on cabs. At the risk of sounding picky or pompous, my distrust in our local trains has coerced me to spending so much of my pleaded money just to get to farther places. I am also the least geographically oriented person in the world and the complexities of mega taxis and jeeps confuse me. (But I’ll ride them, as long as someone street smart–literally and figuratively, accompanies me).
I’ve experienced all types of cabs and cab drivers. Pleather, leather, threadbare, wooden (yes, the passenger seat was replaced with this wooden construction). Cars that reek with orange-scented air fresheners, smoke-filled, odorless, pungent. But the cab drivers are always the most interesting. And it’s not simply because my mother orders me to subtly take photos of the driver in case anything happens.
1. The silent type – listen to the address, nod, then zoom off to the location.
2. The reckless – king of the road. This is not Speed Racer, you’re car, sir, is a beat-up KIA.
3. Confused – These are usually for the older ones whose hearing isn’t as sharp anymore. You tell them to turn left, they miss the turn. You say 100, they take you to 105. They’re not familiar with the road so they ask for your guidance… but listening is something else.
4. Pretend confused – Sly drivers who pretend to be lost just to worm money out of you.
5. Extortionist – They forget they own a parking meter, they charge you 50 more to account for non-existent traffic jams and gas money (whut?). They find ways to steal even more money from you–some techniques include: pretending to have no change, taking the longer route, failing to stop the meter when in a gas station.
6. The jovial – They hate dead air. They talk throughout the whole duration of the trip–from the El Nino phenomenon to Robin Padilla’s stint in Wowowee.
Be careful though because this is just a refresher course. Cab drivers can also be a variation of one or two types.
Last week, on two consecutive days, I had the most colorful experience with two cab drivers.
The first one, I forgot to get his name, saw me reading a thick Jodi Picoult book and began talking about his love for books. What I thought was just a lame knowledge on those cheesy local Pinoy novels, he began this extensive analysis on his favorite character, Sherlock Holmes. As in the detective Sir Arthur Conan Doyle breathed life into. The cab driver confessed that he was guilty of buying 150 peso books in Booksale despite his meager salary. Just like me, he loved crime novels but his favorite was Lawrence Sanders. But when the discussion progressed to politics, he lost me. He supported the man in orange.
The second one needs no explanation. Five minutes after picking me up, he said he had an emergency but assured me that he was going to drop me off in a road brimming with taxis. He left me in a residential area that wasn’t even near a main road. And true enough, taxis passed by but they were already loaded with people. In heels and tailored clothes, I had to walk around searching for a cab for over an hour.
Such experiences (mostly negative) have prompted me to finally taking driving lessons. I appointed my super incredibly awesome boyfriend to teach me because 1. He is free (he wasn’t doing anything and I don’t have to pay him a fee); 2. It’s a test of our relationship; 3. He’s an incredible driver who will restrain all his frustrations and anger no matter how many mistakes I make. I am his girlfriend, after all.
Lest to say, no one got killed. No cars nor animals were hurt. And the worst thing that happened was I slammed the brakes really hard, causing Jason to suddenly fall forward, his face slamming against the windshield. First rule of driving lessong: Always wear your seatbelt. 😀
I can’t wait to try again on Friday!