most cab drivers are forgettable at best. on your off days, you get the worst driver ever (i’m refering to most sg cab drivers); on amusing days, you get someone trying to hit on you (hey uncle, i really don’t have the energy to carry on a bantering sesh with you). if you’re in manila, dozing off is a no-no because something criminal might happen to you. but sometimes when you’re in luck, you might get a cabby like wahana.
normally i’d ride the gojek from office to my house because it’s cheaper, and beats the nightly commute. but this night, i forgot my indonesian phone, which they would call to ask where to exactly pick you up. so yey for 2hr commute!
lucky i got wahana, who speaks nominal english and i guess, saw an opportunity to practice with me. he taught me to count in bahasa from 1-10 [i’m ashamed to admit that i only know satu (1), dua (2), and lima (5) at this point], and to say it in monetary terms. i had to tap out at one point because of the sheer volume of words he was teaching me and my mind was refusing to cooperate in comprehending set phrases.
but what caught my attention is how he became a cab driver. he said he used to work at the indonesian stock exchange. i’m not sure whether he really worked as a stock trader, or just within the building, but it sounded to me that he had a better job than what he’s doing now. so i asked:
me: so why did you become a taxi driver?
wahana: i just wanted a relaxed job. here i just drive around. there i was stressed
me (understanding): but how about the salary? are you making ok now? (of course i knew this HAD to be a paycut, even if he’s a blue bird driver)
and that made me smile. while we all work our asses for god knows what, here’s a guy who some will say doesn’t have high ambitions, but looks happy and content, stress-free, still is able to provide to a wife and 2 kids, and overall sounds content with his life. how many among us can say that about ourselves
once again i am besieged by envy with a person’s lifestyle, simplicity, and courage
before we parted ways, he gave me his number, for if i need extended driving services (he once drove for some italians for 9 days, different city in one day, and they reached as far as bali). as i walked away, i promised myself: ONE DAY