Alright, so I was working late, not at all expecting it to be raining by the time I got out of the building. That close to 11PM there’s hardly anyone out on the street, much less a taxi. The rain was falling in thin sheets and I was shivering, soaked to the skin.
The taxi appeared out of nowhere. It must have been that famed break in the space-time continuum that released a taxi just for me.
“Come on in miss.” Big grin. The best three words I’ve heard that day.
While I was trying to piece back together as much dignity as I could in a sopping-wet skirt, hair plastered wet-rat style to my head, the taxi driver went on to explain that he was actually on his way home from his last fare. He just decided at the last moment to pick me up since it was raining and he felt sorry for me, standing all alone in the curb.
We drive in companionable silence, the rain humming, softly muted all around us.
At the gate he makes an extra little inward swing to position the rear door closer to the sheltering eaves of our garage.
“Good night ma’am,” I hear him toss out as I open the door.
“Take care,” I say.
I give him the sweetest damp smile I can muster.
I’ve been commuting on board taxis for over ten years, and oh, the dish I can tell you about my taxi rides!
I figure, since I don’t see a car in my immediate future yet, I will be hopping into more and more taxis, I might as well blog about it.
Taxis are a suspension of reality. When you get into one and you’re on the move, you’re basically nowhere—no longer in your point of origin, but not yet at your destination. No wonder everything turns surreal as soon as you close that car door. For that length of time that you are mobile, anything can happen.
Taxis have been unwitting participants to some notable points in my so-called life. I’ve invented several alter egos in taxis to maintain anonymity in the face of overly chatty drivers. I got away with just ripped stockings and a few bruises when the taxi I was in swerved in night traffic on EDSA to avoid an oncoming motorcyclist, who was drunk and in the wrong lane. I rode a taxi in a 2 am trip to the hospital in the throes of labor, making a brief stop somewhere on the way to get cash from an ATM. I lived to tell that tale through the kindness of a sleepy driver. Years ago, my gal pal and I cut short a taxi ride when we noticed that the driver was most definitely gassed up on something other than coffee. I’ve had taxi drivers recommending stuff to me—good movies, grocery stores, laundromats, multi-level marketing schemes, real estate investments, the ‘right’ newspapers, diets, yayas, apartments, bars, bistros, boyfriends (“a nice girl like you!”)—oh, the variety is enough to make your head spin.
I’ve been awe-inspired, angry, amused, alarmed, asleep, annoyed, anxious, amazed, asphyxiated, and adrift in taxis.
I’ve put on make up, hummed under my breath, scribbled shopping lists, read a book, escaped from a boring date, fought, made up, had to explain why I was dressed as a priest (yes, really), screamed at car drivers, been kissed, bought peanuts, looked up at the stars, smoked, made up my mind, plotted conspiracies, eaten siopao, cried angry tears, almost passed out, prayed for guidance, lugged a tank of LPG, defended feminist issues, twiddled my thumbs, pondered the meaning of life, in taxis.
See, the amount reflected on that meter randomly refracts the scenes that transpire. On taxis, you get more bang for your buck.
Searching for taxi metaphors, I came upon this:
n. A woman employed, as by a dance hall or nightclub, to dance with the patrons for a fee.
[From the fact that the dancers are hired, like taxis, for a short period of time.]
“To dance with the patrons for a fee.” Oooh, that is so apt. Shake it around a bit and you can let the dance happen between passenger and the ride. Later tonight, when I am speeding home on yet another wild taxi ride, I will be sure to save the details of my dance for this blog.
Wish me luck as I go off to flag another one down.