Friday not the 13th
I don’t know what it is about last Friday. What I’m sure though was that everyone I spoke to complained only of one thing–turtle-fast traffic!
I shared the same sentiment. It was madness. The streets were jammed. My usual 30-minute ride to work became an hour and a half. Not to mention that a quarter of which was spent waiting for an empty cab.
It was one hot Friday. It wasn’t the 13th though but as I gazed out the cab window, each face wore a kind of gloom. Maybe they’re thinking the same thought I was thinking–I wish I were someplace else but here.
The only good thing about that day was the paycheck. I’d be compensated for the first half of the month that I toiled. The bad thing (again?), it was almost spent out even before I get it. Life, and all the bills that went with it, is a total sacrifice.
The day went on. I screamed frantically at my computer hoping to beat my deadlines–or I’m dead. And I lived. I even managed a few hearty laughs, a few good bottles of beer and a lot of insights. You see, when I took a cab to finally head home, Manong Cab Driver, to ward off any sleep spell, tried to manage a conversation with me not at all minding if my answers were as dull as grey.
“Where do you work?”
“Somewhere in Ortigas.”
“What do you do?”
“Uhm, I write…”
“Really? That’s wow!”
Wow? I thought to myself. Why wow? Hmm.
“Maybe you can write about my life story. I hope to submit it to Charo Santos, you know, win P10k in the process and help my eldest son finish college.”
And so he went on to tell me how he came from a poor town in Quezon. Left his wife, only to come back with her all cold and lifeless. He has a son who wants to come here to Manila and be the one to drive the cab so he could retire. Of course, Manong Cab Driver has all good intentions. He wants his son to have a good education. He wants him to be a nurse. Nurses these days are the next millionaires, he said. They bring home the dollars.
“And what does your son want?” At last, I asked.
Manong Cab Driver went all silent. Then he said, I think he wants to sing. He can sing, you know. But he’s no Christian or Mark Bautista. Are they siblings? Anyway, he has no future in singing. Nurses have. And he can then take care of me when I’m all callous and old. So, will you write my story?
I blinked. For one moment there, I had the urge to explain that I’m into technical documentation. But that would be like bursting his balloon. He already had shared with me half his life.
“I’ll see. Maybe your story will be my next project.”
Stupid, I forgot to ask his name.
With all due apology to Manong Cab Driver. If only his life is an application program, I could have documented it.