Don’t you just hate it when things suddenly stop working out for you when you most need them to? Ah, the irony of life. And for that Alanis’s song will forever be significant.
But on that particular weekday, the cosmos were with me. Yes, Sir!
I was running late for work (my personal “grace period” for morning travels had already lapsed) so I snuck in a little dance when an MGE cab stopped in front of me after only three minutes of waiting.
I got in, gave the cab driver my office address and made myself feel comfortable in the backseat. The cab smelled of citrus fruits combined with sweat and body odor, and this reminded me that I really cannot have everything. A perfectly clean and polished cab when rushing for work — what nonsense! Haha.
But I shrugged off the smell (though I am easily disgusted by such signs of bad hygiene) because I thought, hey, I won’t be late for work today!
The first ten minutes of the cab ride were peaceful, which was great because my brain still needed a reboot (and God knows how long this process takes). I was still taking in the fact that yes, I had to go to work, and no, I cannot stay glued to my bed forever.
So imagine my surprise when Mr. Cabbie selected a disc from his collection, slipped it in the player, and started bopping his head to the beat. Rappers 50 Cent and Eminem were on full blast — and when I say full, the stereo’s volume really was on the maximum — and there was no stopping them. I almost thought the car would bop to the music as well, but thankfully it didn’t because that would have been such an embarrassment in the middle of EDSA.
The music instantly awakened my groggy self, all right!
Mr. Cabbie started rapping along to the songs, which he obviously knew by heart. And let me just say that he looked every bit the part with his trucker cap, tattoos, and baggy uniform. I was in a cab with a Pinoy K-Fed!!
In between all the craziness, we were able to converse a little. There was a lot of shouting though because we couldn’t hear each other well given the volume of the music. We were in a party cab for Christ’s sake!
I couldn’t quite recall how exactly it happened, but we found ourselves in a street lined with towering trees.
Mr. Cabbie said: “Ang daming ganitong puno sa may amin, Ma’am.” (Rough translation: “There are a lot of trees like these where I’m from.”)
I answered: “Saan naman yun?” (“And where’s that?”) His very thick accent confirmed my initial suspicion:
I said: “Ah, madalas ka ba umuwi?” (“Do you go home often?”)
He replied in Filipino, “No, I haven’t been home since I was 12.”
In my head I was like, “What the? This guy looks about 30!” But instead I said, “Bakit, ilang taon ka na ba?” (“How old are you?”)
He said, “24.”
#1: 12 years without family, that must have been tough. #2: The guy may be a year older than I, but I still maintain that he looks about 30.
I asked politely, “Bakit hindi ka umuuwi?” (“Why haven’t you been home?”)
“Naglayas kasi ako nun e.” (“I ran away then.”)
His answer alarmed me. He might have killed someone back in Bicol or something! But I kept my composure and asked cautiously, “Bakit naman? Ano nagawa mo?” (“How come? Was there anything you did?”)
But Mr. Cabbie just laughed. His reasons for fleeing his hometown must have been too personal to share so I didn’t press the matter.
A few more minutes into the ride, however, I failed to restrain myself so I said in Filipino, “It would be nice if you went back home. I’m sure your family would be very happy to see you.”
He responded, “Siguro, Ma’am. Siguro kapag nagka-lakas loob na.” (“Maybe, Ma’am. If I find the courage to do so.”)
And just as I was about to get off, Mr. Cabbie said, “Sana nga makauwi ako balang araw.” (“I really hope to come home one day.”)
Oh Mr. Cab Driver, I really hope you try to reconnect with your family! *crosses fingers*
You can read my previous story here.
Cab image was grabbed from the Internet.