Monday, January 08, 2007

My Three Wisemen Drove Metered Camels

This was something I wrote in between Christmas and New Year's Eve of last year 2005.

You know how sometimes our cab drivers would start with an unending monologue of unsolicited opinion? You're right there at the passenger seat, trying to breathe out stress from the day's work, wanting to get home in the quickest time possible with the loudest prayers for an uneventful drive. You're beginning to chill to some easy music in the background, and the air conditioning's working it's magic to get you relaxed. Then, just when you're almost all settled in, the driver turns the radio off, smiles back at you, and begins his first attempt at small talk.

It's not exactly rude, since there were still small semblances of a polite approach. And you can't really blame the poor guy. I mean, he's alone and probably friendless in his small office. And with all that travelling, you better believe that he's seen a lot of ugly BS that he just wants to get out of his system. Drivers are people too, and just like everyone else with a bad case of the shits, they just want to talk those out to the next available pair of ears. Which happened to belong to the passenger they're taking home. Which happened to belong to me for the time being.

I never mentioned in my resume that I am a people person since I clearly am not. I like people, but I like them better when they leave me alone. But I've come to realize that these drivers just needed somebody to talk to. I used to think that there must be something in me that attracts unwanted conversation. Turns out they're just bored for the most part.

Wiseman number one I met in the morning of Christmas Eve. He had a parasitic lesbian daughter with a heavy attitude problem. He was okay with her being a lesbian, but he was ferociously crusading against her being a 24 year old bum. He says, "Okay lang na mag-uwi siya ng babae tapos itira sa amin, pero yung ako pa ang aasahan niya na gumastos sa kanilang dalawa? Malaki na siya, naipag-aral ko naman, pero sobrang tamad at saksakan pa ng yabang. Wala sa lugar."

"Nahihiya na nga ako minsan sa may-ari nitong taxi. Dami nang bangga nito sa kin, pero kailangang kapalan ang mukha dahil ito trabaho ko eh. Ako lang ang kumikita sa min, tapos aangasan pa ko ng anak kong babaero. Yung tomboy."

I braced myself for more Gulong ng Palad material, sat still and shut my piehole. I don't really know how I can use this unnecessary information, but for some reason... "ay teka, bababa na ko. Here, manong, keep the change. "

I gave him eighty pesos for a ride worth 77.50.

Driver number two: "Sabi kanina nung pasahero ko, ang bagong pamahiin daw eh kailangan yung prutas ay walang itim na buto. Malas yun. Tapos kailangan eh pagulungin mo ng walong beses sa lamesa para tuloy tuloy ang pasok ng suwerte sa buong taon. Ako dati ang alam ko eh okay na yung puro bilugang prutas ang nasa lamesa, yun lang eh su-suwertehin ka na buong taon. Pero dati yun. Tingnan mo yung mga yan (points to nearby stalls selling new year's day props and merchandise), anong oras na pero andami pa ring ititinda. (It was roughly around seven in the morning) Wala mashadong nagbibilihan ngayon eh. Sa hirap ba naman ng buhay natin eh, kailangan mo talagang magtipid at gumawa ng paraan para magkapera. Di mo yan ia-asa sa mga bilugang prutas na walang itim na buto."

You know what, manong, you ought to go and start a blog or something. Or maybe even your own ministry. You're a freaking fountain of wisdom.

Driver number three: (started the ball rolling with) "Diyan ka na nagbagong taon sa opisina? (Smiles) Anghirap din minsan lalo't lumaki ka na pamilya mo ang kasama mong nagbabagong taon. Malungkot."

"Alam mo ba kung ano ang pinaka-importanteng bagay sa mga Hapon (Japanese)? Trabaho nila, tapos pumapangalawa lang ang asawa nila. Aba, katwiran nila eh pag maganda nga naman ang trabaho mo eh kahit ilang asawa pa ang kunin mo. Kakayanin mo pang pumili. Di na nga ako nagtataka kung bakit pag napapanood ko sa TV eh sa MRT na sila nakakatulog, nakatayo pa yun ah habang nakakapit doon sa sabit. Kailangan nilang pumasok eh. Importante sa kanila yung trabaho nila. Ganoon kahirap ang buhay ngayon, di gaya nung panahon ni Marcos."

(Marcos... Marcos... whenever I hear that name, something tells me that this is going to take some time. And maybe some microwavable popcorn.)

"Nagsimula na naman yang mga manghuhula na yan kanina, sabi nila na mas matindi raw ang demonstrasyon laban kay Gloria ngayong taon. Ganyan naman palagi eh, pababagsakin nila't pababagsakin yung mga nakaupo diyan, tapos ganun din gagawin nila sa susunod nilang iha-halal. Hindi rin naman ako naniniwala sa mga hula hula na yan, pero wala namang mawawala sa iyo diba? Palagay ko, hindi malabong tsumamba yang mga manghuhula na yan ngayong taon."


  1. 2005? they did piss you off big time. tagal ng retention ha.

    ey how's your holiday?

    miss ya!

  2. I was planning to give that away as an introduction, but it's already a long post as it is. I didn't have no blog yet back then. Maybe I did, but as you placed it in your most recent post, it warn't that aesthetic yet. So I took the time.


  3. Wow mel. Where have you been holing up to? You wrote it in 2005? LOL! That is such a long time to hibernate.

    Good thing you brought it back to life. It's very funny but quite tragic too in some ways: people still working really hard in New Year's Eve, the mood of resignation and apathy in post industrial age Manila. Finding humour in depressing and desperate times. Just like a black and white Woody Allen movie - as if I've really seen one. LOL!

    Happy New Year and welcome back!!!

  4. He hee @ Howling

    I was playing Pokemon Leaf while I was waiting for the New Year to dawn on me. It did, and quite dramatically, my Mankey evolved into a Primeape at the same time.

    Story of my life so far.

    I was too itching to have this little story blogged away, but I have no real blog back then. So I waited. It might not be fiercely punctual though; glad you liked it all the same!

    Happy New Year!


  5. whether then or now, i'm sure that eeriness one gets from that experience - a certain stranger controlling a conversation involving the two of you - certainly stays familiar. ha ha.

    (super) belated happy new year.

  6. Devilicious misses u!!!9:10 PM

    Dearie! Where on earth have u been???
    Missed u big time!

    Hehehe.. sometimes.. u'll get weighty
    insites from strangers like them..

    Sarisaring kwento ng buhay na kapupulutan ng aral.. :P

  7. Well @ IE

    I would prefer calling the experience as something, as Devilish referred to it, as something insightful as opposed to eerie. But then, eerie can be an appropriately relative term.

    Ha haa, and how was your christmas and new year?

    Muah @ Devilish

    Weighty + Insights = I love the phrase!

    Muah! And I missed you so much!

    Cheers all!

  8. Bwahaha.. akalain mong.. yun nga.. insights nga! naboblax nba ko sa spelling?

    Nyetters.. sabi ko nga e.. kulang nko tlga sa tulog..


    love u!

  9. It's funny and sad at the same time.

    I remember tuloy when my classmates and I attended a Journalism awarding ceremony in Makati. When the taxi driver found out we're from UP, he asked with a very loud voice, "Oh, anong masasabi niyo sa pamumuno ni Gloria? Tapos eto, tataas na naman pamasahe at gasolina!" LOL.

    If they can only talk with their radios and all...

  10. he hee @ Devilish

    Kumusta naman!


    Exactly! @ Shari

    They have this network of drivers in Pasig with built in walkie talkies in their taxis. That ought to shut them up.


  11. Momel!!!!

    How are you? You've been soo busy with work! I miss you! And your wit! Hehehe

    I will be back later to read. I'm still at work.

    Take care!

  12. Wah @ Sasha

    Thanks for asking. I'm doing like shit stepped over. Twice. But I'm doing okay, am about to embark on what can be, might be, probably a very life-defining moment.

    I miss you!




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