Wednesday, June 28

Batugan (Translation: Lazybones)

At present, I'm a habitual taxi rider. I've always been a commuter (thanks to my feeling that road rage would make me into a mass murderer behind the wheel), but these days I just want to dispense with crowding into sweat-smelling crowded MRTs and buses that make hour-long stops. Taxis get you to where you want to go, fast. It's not cheap, but I can afford it. In the past several months, I've seen good taxi drivers and bad taxi drivers. I curse them, praise them, damn them to hell or lift them up as saviours of the race. Ah, taxi drivers.
Well, early today I got another memorable taxi experience. I was heading to work, standing at Katipunan to hail a cab. The sixth or so taxi that passed finally stopped and when I mentioned my destination, he nodded. I hopped in and we were off. Seconds later, he asked me again where we were headed. Apparently, the guy was only now realizing he was headed for Makati.

Anyway,, some minutes later, as we were on C-5 Highway, in the middle of nowhere, the cab starts to slow. The guy stops at the sidewalk, and then starts trying to 'restart' the engine. "There seems to be something wrong with the starter," he says, trying several times to bring the engine to life. Of course, to no avail. He blames the owner of the cab for replacing the starter with some cheap part. As he apologizes to me for the inconvenience, saying that this is as far as he can go. I respond with "I'm sorry too." At which point, I get out of the cab and start walking away.
The grungy cabbie (he's not even in uniform- just a t-shirt and 'puruntong' shorts, showing he's a colorum driver) calls my attention and asks for payment. I angrily respond with a negative. "YOU LEAVE ME OUT HERE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE AND YOU HAVE THE GALL TO ASK ME FOR PAYMENT??" He says something about the starter, but I don't even bother to listen. I keep walking. You could argue that I could have paid him for the distance I came, but I knew what the real score was. I hated being conned.
Another cab came and I hailed it. It stopped and I jumped in. "Makati," I said, and the old driver nodded. I looked ahead at where the other cabbie, with his supposedly stalled taxi, should have been.

Of course, he had driven off by then. That was fast for a cab that wouldn't start.

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