Friday, November 3, 2017

Bitesize fiction. Taxi telenovela

The yellow car stops in front of me as I wave my phone to make the driver understand that it was I who had placed the order.

I get in the back seat with my luggage, mechanically confirm my name and give the driver the address. I sit back, relieved to be out of the cold.

The cabbie drives off and resumes his phone conversation without paying me any more mind. I really don't like it when the driver talks on the phone. At least he's using a hands-free device. Hey, it could be worse... he could be trying to make small talk.

I absentmindedly look at the buildings passing by, trying to give the guy some privacy. Easier said than done, he was speaking quite loudly.

"Yes, I know I haven't called you in a while. I needed some time to myself, you understand?" This sounded like a lovers' spat. If it was, it could potentially be too distracting for the driver. I listened in.

"You changed me, see, you made me be this way. I need to be myself and I can't be that with you around." Are they breaking up over the phone? Uh-oh. I feel a sense of panic creeping up on me. I automatically concentrate on the road and all the signs and turns. Why isn't he slowing down when the car in front brakes?

It strikes me then that his voice however has no malice, it is as if he were answering a survey over the phone. "You see? You change me. You have a strong personality and it is really clashing with mine."

The car zips left and right between lanes, followed by a few half-hearted honks. I'm sure that if he cared to notice, he would see me clenching my jaw and fiddling nervously with the straps of my shoulder bag. I knew most cabbies drive like there were some special traffic rules for them, with the ease that comes from doing this job every day. Relax, he stopped at the red light.

"Yes, see, I knew you would understand. You are very intelligent, that's what I like about you. You speak French very well and all too..." I admit, I did not expect the guy to have so much tact and steer the conversation towards a happy ending. He swerved at the last minute to avoid one of the many holes in our road.

"Mm-hm, don't worry about it. I told you, we will be fine."

I see him approaching my home with no sign of stopping. "Can you stop over here please?"

"Oh, yeah, sure," he tells me while braking almost too suddenly. "I have to drop a passenger off, so I need to hang up. I'll call you later, Mike," he talks into his hands-free.

I pay the fare and get out of the car. As I watch him drive off to another order, I think to myself, that was something you don't see everyday in a cab...

1 comment:

  1. This little story is based on one of my actual experiences while taking a taxi a few days ago. The names were changed in order to protect the privacy of the people involved. Also, because I simply forgot what name he said on the phone. Eh. Enjoy.

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