Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Taxi cab tales

Taxi drivers are probably the people who have the most stories to tell, considering they get to hear a new one every time a new passenger comes on board. But the wackiest stories are those the driver himself tells--this not including the zany things happening over the gas prices.

Such a wild one I heard about an old woman practicing hypnotism on the cabbie. After 37 years of cab driving, he still got duped. The cab driver was offered a flat rate for a trip to the hospital and back. Upon reaching the hospital, the nice old lady gave him a hundred for the parking fee. But a few minutes later she came back lamenting that the money she brought with her was not enough. The cabbie, in a spur of the moment decision, gave her a thousand pesos to save the trouble of going home and back again. Well guess what happened.

I guess practicality overrules hypnotism here, but who knows what the cabbie really felt as he made that split-second decision?

Cabbies also advertise. One cab driver related how, in one day, he logged in 24 hours of driving all because he drank a really strong energy drink. It was so strong that when he finally got home for some sleep, all he managed to do was lie wide awake in bed waiting for morning to come.

Some cabbies like showing off their battle scars. Gunshot wounds, stabs...you name it. And you can tell they relish talking about it, because in the end, who lived to tell the tale? Gruesome as some of these stories are, there's a particular way the cab drivers tell them: it's always within the context of "I'm still doing this because I need to send my child to school." A sense of purpose, I suppose.

Finally, there's the unsolicited advice. And you get that without even encouraging small talk. My sister says she once got in a cab and the driver started yapping about, of all things, his sex life. He concluded the spiel by giving a go on promiscuity "as long as you don't get pregnant!" Whuuut. This guy shouldn't have a license to speak. Imagine how many young people he meets on a daily basis!

Of course, it's not like you should believe everything you hear. Moreso from a cab driver who'd take every chance to break a road rule (or give you no change) if he could get away with it. Take the tales with a grain of salt and always remember that these guys stay in one seat all day long--they're bound to get bored. Least you can do is listen when they've got something to say.

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