The moment I got into the cab/taxi I knew it was a mistake. From the musty odour that premeated the entire cab to the bent, wizened old man gripping the steering wheel with claw like hands and muttering some incomprehensible mumbo jumbo that on hindsight was probably the equivalent of "where to". But with the long line of cabs and no customers in sight, basic etiquette forbids one from scrambling out of the cab and going down the line for a different cab unless the cabbie is either:
- a stark, mad, raving lunatic; or
- he's changing shift and your destination isn't along the way.
And the old man was neither. So I took my chances. Which turned out to be a bad mistake. First things first, let me say that I have absolutely no objections to the elderly being gainfully employed. The economy is more productive..yada yada, their brain cells die off more slowly and they remain meaningfully occupied instead of blowing money on booze and the China hookers at Geylang and Chinatown. Flipping burgers at Macs is certainly a lot more interesting...and rewarding than staring out of the window and watching the World Go By. Or whatever else it is, the more sedentary ones do.
That's all fine and dandy. The Silver Revolution is after all one more reason why we
aren't burdened with welfare taxes are able to learn from the more experienced members of the workforce. But when a Senior Citizen who looks like he should be living the Good Life because he doesn't have much time left to do so is in a position where he might endanger the life of others due to his understandably delayed reactions, retirement should be mandatory.
Apparently driving a taxi is something you can do till you slump over dead at the wheel. So anyway, this cheerful and very deaf ah pek (old geezer) kept sprouting on and on in a hodgepodge of Cantonese and Mandarin which coupled with his lack of dentures and the equal lack of teeth sounded like a gusty wind whistling through the trees. About the only words I could comprehend were " yio zhuu Kang" and the amount of the cab fare. The rest was just a mish mash of breathy hoos and hees.
Which was still fine, really. I mean one could always put it down to the harmless ramblings of an eccentric old man. Even if he is a little too old, but still as long as the journey's smooth and one gets back, it's still OK. The only problem is this Ah Pek was driving like a possessed medium on crack and he released the clutch too fast when changing gears which meant we were jerking the entire bloody ride, the none-too-new taxi vibrating in tandem to his violent ministrations.
To compound matters further, he had this wicked habit of jamming on the brakes suddenly which he did frequently; from changing lanes to attempting to overtake the bus and failing then hurriedly jamming the brakes to avoid smashing into the back of a pickup truck. Which made for an extremely je eerk ky and nauseous journey. And to top it off, the cab fare when we finally arrived, in one piece thankfully, was a good $1.30 more than the usual $5.50 I'm accustomed to paying for the same trip give or take 30 cents. All that jerking and slamming on the brakes was certainly a novel way of inflating the fare. It's certainly a most uncomfortable method.
So next time I peer into a Taxi and see a shrivelled bent old man, gripping the steering wheel tightly and muttering to himself, etiquette is going out of the window and I'll head for the next taxi. Or call a cab if there isn't one. Once jerked, twice shy.
PS: RSS Feeds have been re-enabled for this blog.. partially. You only get to see the title of the updated/new entries, full entries must still be viewed on blogger.