I have been a frequent taxi rider for the good part of 14 years. I ran after taxi units while balancing precariously on high-heeled shoes (eight years), begged taxi drivers to take me to the cities of Taguig, San Juan, Quezon, and Manila, and braved the road to hell guised as EDSA. My twice-a-day taxi rides exposed me to one of the most maligned professions in Metro Manila. I am fortunate to say that majority of my rides have been stress-free, with friendly drivers (sometimes, a tad too friendly, but I let the friendliness pass as long as I am safely ensconced in my seat and the driver keeps his limbs to himself) who just want to earn an honest living.
Based on experience, if the vehicle moves slower than a herd of turtles stuck in molasses, talking to or listening to the driver is not a bad idea. In this entry, I am going to tell the story of a taxi driver who embodies the belief that “basta driver, sweet lover”.
While traversing the EDSA-Cubao underpass, the driver started narrating some of the shenanigans he did. He told me that he wooed his wife who was living in the province to take him back. Given the distance between them and the reputation of drivers I thought I had an idea of what happened, but I still asked him why. He was smiling when he said that he was no saint and had other women on the side. He blamed the cold nights for his extramarital affairs. So I told him, that the falling-out was of his own doing. He just chuckled and agreed with me. Then he continued with the story.
He cohabitated with a woman he met at a karinderia. Their torrid love affair went on for months, and he thought he was living the perfect life. Without his knowledge, one of his neighbors sent his wife text messages to report his indiscretions.
One day he woke up when he felt throbbing pain on his left thigh. When he opened his eyes and shook off dizziness, he was shocked to find his wife holding a machete dripping with his blood. His wife intended to kill him, but he had his wits about him and moved as fast as he could and exited the rented room. When her sanity was restored, his wife looked for him in the neighborhood and brought him to the hospital. His wife stayed with him until he was well enough to travel to the province where he made up for his mistakes.
Once he regained his wife’s trust, he went back to Metro Manila to resume his job. He moved to a different neighborhood where nobody knew his wife. Later, he carried on with his womanizing ways. I said, the wife should have stabbed him a little higher to end his naughtiness for good. He roared with laughter and said, “masakit yun” (it would have been painful). Before I got out of the taxi, he asked me if I wanted to see the proof of his transgression. I declined and told him to keep his pants on and keep it in his pants.