Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The jesus freak

There are some cabbies one must never talk to. There are whole expositions and numerous lists in travel books about cabbies to avoid dialogues with, and boy do i bet, that way on top of each list is the JESUS FREAK.

Silent unassuming, will hit you with littanies and sermons just when you least expect it.

I had been blessed to understand the wisdom of this warning when I rode one of these heaven sent driver's cabs on a day I was feeling especially chatty.

It was 3am and I was on my way home from overtime when I stopped the freak's cab. I went in a little bit dazed and ignored the subtle cues that this man was a frustrated preacher. A rosary on the mirror and a small figurine of Mother Mary lit by a red light. Nothing prepared me for what lay ahead.

I commented on the radio talkshow. A college girl was complaining that she was haviing trouble with her parents. "They won't let me go out with my friends or even talk to my friends on the phone. I'm torn please give me some advice DJ."

"I highly suggest you move out of your parents place." I said.

The second phone in question came from a guy asking about the meaning of a religious term. He had a small pubescent voice and seemed to eat all his words.

I found myself muttering " I only have a few words for you boy, you have too much time!"

The cab had gone up the Ayala flyover by this time and we were about to go down Edsa when the driver looked at me. It was the first time I saw his face since i got in the cab. He was dark, spectacled, he looked like a local comedian named Chiquito, his skin has a greasy sheen to it and the red light only made him look scary.

"Iha nagbabasa ka ba ng Bible?" he asked ("Little girl do you read the Bible?")

I don't know why I answered honestly. I should have known better than to say no.

Because of my stupidity I the driver just went on and on about the value of reading the Bible. On has to read the word of God he just went on and on. He went from book to book. Quoting every parable and verse he could remember.

I had about enough of this nonsense by the time I reached Kamuning. And I told him to please respect my own beliefs. People are not the same after all. When we pulled up in front of my house he said he would pray for me. I thought that would be fine and I gave him my fare. When he looked back and grabbed my hand I almost jumped in my seat! He wanted us to pray together. I almost screamed. He looked so scary backlit by the red light. I thought God had sent the devil for me.

After repeatedly saying I would not pray with him and slamming the door. I went into our house upset. Called up all of my freinds and told them about this man's mission to scare me to death and save me while he's at it.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hooker rides

Been telling people about the blog. My adorable sister who lives far away in Cambodia
reminded me of a few rides of mine that she found particularly interesting.
"So did you write about the time the cabbie thought you were a hooker?"
My mind made an inventory of all my stories and this made me realize
I had been mistaken for a hooker lots of times.

Maybe driving for eight hours straight makes everyone look like a prostitute
because short skirt or not I still manage to look like one.

Sugar Lolo

One time back in my freshman year in college, my dad picked me up from my
apartment in Malate. He went in the apartment and helped me with my things
and then when we were about to go in the car he couldn't find the keys. He had
left the keys inside! I think we tried to ask for help from a few neighbors. Dad
told me to just ride a cab home and that he'd stay to open the car. I really know
why we divised this system but we did. So Dad helped me to a cab and then gave
me fare. I instructed the Manong to bring me to Kamuning and then I was on my
way home.

"Ang bait naman ng customer mo."/ "Your customer seems very nice" the driver said.

I was in my jeans and big shirt, my hair was still very short then and I was barely 18.
I don't really think I was in any way wanton looking. I even had braces on then.
I looked very pre teen! And my Dad though much older than I am didn't look in
any way like a client after a transaction. My Dad looks like a decent old man!

"Manong he's my Dad."

"Ang tanda naman ng tatay mo." / "Isn't he a little too old to be your Dad. "

So in effect all old men are dirty? I was thinking. And so old men and
young women cannot be seen in Malate? I could see the logic of it then.
But now, after having a deeper understanding of sexual relations, I
find myself quite offended. God forbid grandfathers and their grand daughters
to walk along Ma. Orosa!

I think the cabbie asked a few more questions with inuendos.
But I was very innocent then, I should have given him an upper cut.
But its a good thing I didn't because as I stepped down the cab
and went inside our house, there was a newsflash about a killer
on the loose that kind of looked like him. CREEPY!


Still naive at 20, I visited the restaurant I did menus for in Timog named
Zucchini's. Wearing a short skirt and a punk top. I went out of the store and waited
for a cab in front of the megadisco(prostitution joint) right beside the resto.
I didn't realize it was already night time when I got out of Zuchinni's, and
that by that time the other joints nearby were already in business.

When I got in I told the cab to take me to Comonwealth the driver began
looking at me strangely and barraging me with questions.

"Matagal ka ba dun sa pupuntahan mo ma'am?" / "Will you take long where you are going?"

I replied "... well maybe a little before 12."

"Gusto mo balikan kita ma'am?" / "Would you want me to come back for you"

I replied "Hwag na manong baka matagalan pa."

"Bakit ma'am matagal ba ang business mo doon?"/ "Why will your business there take long?"

"I'm meeting my friends manong, and they can drive me home."

We both fell silent after realizing we were having totally different interpretations of
what the other was saying.

I couldn't believe it the driver thought I was a hooker on my way to a client.
I think he laughed nervously after and I just stared out the window and pretended he didn't exist.
I didn't find this amusing at all. I told all my friends and family after.
And to this day I get annoyed, and to this day my sister loves this story.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Save the best for last (the latest from my collection)

Coughing like crazy and suffering from a slight fever, I took a
cab to my meeting last Saturday. I wasn't in any mood for conversation, so
I expected a quiet ride punctuated by my occasional cough and consequent apology.

Suddenly half a kilometer away to my destination the cabbie says:

"Teacher's village..." with a dreamy look on his face.

Not knowing whether he was having a fond or disturbing memory I
asked if he knew anyone from teacher's village. "A woman rode with me
one late evening in Timog and asked me to bring her here."

The cabbie was in his early 50's. He had the build of an earnest and hardworking
grandfather. No extra fat, military posture, sun tanned skin with matching kind eyes.
He looked and sounded like Noli Me Tangere's Elias so I summoned all my energy to listen.

"She was very drunk"

.7 kilometers away from our destination you decide to talk!-I was thinking.

"She was very frank, a manager in a small company"
"She asked me what my boundary was to which I replied 1,300"
"She asked me what my usual profit was to which I replied 900"
"She asked me what my usual gas expense was to which I replied 1,000"
"She asked me to compute everything and I did, 3,000 pesos"
"She then posed the hypothetical question...If i payed you 3 thousand
would you do whatever I wanted?"

My golly we were half a kilometer away I wanted to scream "Drive very very slowly!"
The cabbie had a decent air about him so I suppose he wasn't out to brag and his story was still really juicy!

"So what did you do Manong?" I asked hoping to speed things up.

"I thought she was going to make me her personal driver..."
"...but when we got to her house she asked me to have coffee with her..."

I was getting very excited about his story by now I wanted him to stop. Already, I could see the building that would be my drop off point.

"Oh my Manong! What happened?" I asked again with a little more urgency in my voice this time.
"She was 41 years old, she had two children, an 18 year old and a 13 year old both girls and both asleep when I had my coffee. She had a husband in the United States but they had long been separated."
"When I had coffee she went to that bathroom...I almost froze when I saw her come out in a see through outfit."

5 meters away from destination, I was already mapping out my other possible drop off points.

"I couldn't take it my body just froze, what if what she was doing was a trap, what would happen to my family?"

I should be telling him to take a left by this time to drive by the parking lot of the Fine Arts Building.

"I didn't entertain her offer. She asked me for my number and I gave it to her. She still texts sometimes but I ignore her."

"Manong take a left" I said just in time.

He talked more about what he told the the woman to do. That maybe she should just look for a better man in her
field. He was really earnest and nice, he must be a good Lolo. I wanted to interview him some more but I was at my stop and
rather late for my meeting.

"Dito na lang po, Thanks." I said as I paid for my fare.
By thanks I think I meant his story more than the ride.

In the beginning

Every cab ride is an adventure for me. I seem to have an affinity to
ridiculously weird drivers. From bible zealots, serial killer lovers,
directionless probinsyanos...name it I've ridden on their cab.
My friends keep telling me to write a book about my stories.
For lack of a publisher I thought I'd just blog them(well actually I'm
just too lazy to write a book.) Hopefully you'll like the ride.