Of Drivers and Long Talks


I’ve always been quite the talker. So when I was stuck in traffic for more than an hour somewhere in Makati on my way to Sampaloc from Macapagal, I had no other thing to do but to engage the driver in a small talk. But only because I got bored singing to songs from a well-chosen Spotify playlist. I was meaning to ask the driver what the playlist title was but I figured we weren’t that close. Of the many days that I decided to study out and check out the new Starbucks branch, I chose today. Today when there was traffic that I did not anticipate. Today, when there was two-hours worth of rain and thunderstorm. Today, when truck ban was lifted. (It seemed like so.)

This week I’ve been on done a lot of commuting. A lot. And it’s Finals week. I had to de-stress as I’ve been taking examinations for more than a month now. Can you imagine? To keep my sanity, I had to see the inside of a shopping mall, eat out with Med friends, and of course, hang with my friends from high school. Why else would I call them my constants? Sigh. But enough about this misery. I know what my classmates are thinking as soon as they stumble upon this post, “how on earth did she find time to write something like this?” Beats me. To be honest. But this week has been eventful. I’ve been mistaken three times for being anything but a Waray-waray. The first one I forgot who asked; the second time by my dermatologist who thought that I was Ilongga because of my “malumanay” accent, which ironically is the very opposite of Waray accent. On the same day my Uber driver told me that I did not have the probinsyana accent when we were on the subject of probinsyanos living in Manila. I easily transition when the situation (and the place) needs me to.

Speaking of drivers, the long (just some two hours) of sitting down and talking with the driver was fun today. I met Kuya Ericsson today. He shares the same fate as me, as we both were named Baby Boy and Baby Girl, respectively. At least that’s what our birth certificates say our names our. There were so many things in common between us. We both graduated as nurses. He shared that the reason why he wasn’t practicing his degree was because he had a child when he was 23. He entered the BPO industry to earn money for his budding family. At present, he is happily married, raising their eight-year old child. I think that he is in a good place in life right now as both he and his wife are earning. Sadly, he can’t have more children because of unforeseen circumstances. He was so nice because he did not complain about the traffic even when it was I who was between him and seeing his family a little earlier. I’m really sorry. To make up for this I paid PHP 300 for a PHP 215-worth ride. Later on I received four calls (that weren’t supposed to be missed, by the way) from him. It was a little creepy so I didn’t bother returning the call. I then received a text message that said I was enrolled in a promo so that I only had to pay PHP 139. It was too much effort to go downstairs and get my change so I had him keep it. After all it was too much to endure two hours of traffic with me.

Thankfully, there are still nice drivers out there. Last Saturday I had the opportunity to meet this other driver whose name I forgot but I do remember that he doubles as an assistant cameraman for TV5. He is a proud father of two. He is surprising his eldest daughter with an iPhone 5S because he is a cool Dad. He hated the passenger before me because she didn’t behave well around him. He is a frustrated lawyer, but pursued being a seaman. He later on decided to give up working as a seaman as he can now afford a comfortable life for his family of four. Oh, and he’s been to our town in Eastern Samar. How cool is that? This is how we got to the topic on accents.
Like all children, I’ve been reminded countless times before to never speak to strangers. But here’s the thing, there’s something about talking to strangers that’s a little interesting. They can judge you for all they want because what little odds there are that your paths will cross again. You can openly talk about something without having to worry if they think otherwise because then the conversation keeps going. You’ll be surprised with the number of things you have in common, and the many interesting things there are that were once unheard of. But more importantly, at least for me, I’m happy whenever they talk about their family the way I do: all smiles, and optimistic. I wish all fathers were like them, hard-working and family-oriented. I wish all drivers were like them, careful and easy to talk to. I never heard them cuss, by the way. This is difficult to stop yourself from doing as driving in Manila can be a handful at times.

From where I’m sitting I can see my Med2 handouts calling for me, somehow shouting my name to have me read them. It is the least bit enticing and I need every ounce of motivation to read them right now because I am one exam away from clerkship. So, pray for me?

I will not re-read what I have written because I really don’t have the time.


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