May 18, 2013 § 2 Comments
Having stood in the street for over half an hour already, I was nearly giving up on successfully getting a cab. I was sleepy and sweaty and just a few meters from home, but having remembered of how such a small inconvenience this is compared to other people’s, I decided to give it another chance. After a few more tries of saying “UST Hospital” and getting that repeated shaking of the head, I finally got an “o sige na nga, pero payag ka miss may dagdag?”. His taxi was old, and so was he, and I have no idea why I even had to ask “magkano po dagdag?” when I should have already locked in the deal immediately. Manong said “kwarenta lang”, and in my mind I thought “sus, yun lang pala. mabait naman pala si kuya” as I hurriedly entered his car. As I settled myself down, manong asked me in jest the deprecating question “bakit, manganganak ka na ba?”, to which I said “ha ha, hindi po” as I tried to stop myself from further asking, “bakit mukha ba akong buntis??” for the fear that he might even say “yes”. He struck up the usual conversation explaining that he had to ask extra since it’s traffic going to Manila at that hour due to the victory campaigns for the election, etc. I filled in with the usual “aahhs” as I looked about disdainfully in the derelict state his taxi was in. I hated riding old taxis. As I didn’t have anything else to do, instead of just usually shutting up throughout the ride, I decided to ask manong a few more questions. The traffic was going to be a long haul. In the course of our conversation, I found out that he lived in Dasmarinas Cavite too and that the taxi company he worked for was in Evangelista Pasay. He wakes up 2 in the morning and gets home 4 in the morning. His shift was every other day, 24 hours each, and his daily boundary was Php1,300 plus an additional Php1500 for the gasoline. Only then would he start earning something, and that income would be divided for 2 days. He was more than 65 years old and although he has 3 sons, he still has to work to be able to live out on a daily basis. His sons have their own families and were all not in a position to help him and his wife in their expenses. He told me about his encounters with “talagang kamalasan”, which was how he looked at hold-ups. He’s been slashed with a knife in his neck, and had faced a gun twice, but he relayed the stories all the same in a jovial and amused manner which sent our taxi slightly veering off at times of humor. At the last leg of our journey, he even intentionally slowed his pace down as he was trying to finish the story he was telling me. I allowed the delay and I left him with an additional extra as that was the only thing I could give to express my sincere thank you for the humbling experience. After that taxi ride, I realized the undue distrust that I usually give to taxi drivers. It may be true that there a number of them out there who prey on innocent passengers and intentionally rig their meters or make up excuses of having no loose change, but the world is not out of good taxi drivers. Just as the world is never out of good people, if only we stop and look. At this day and age, trust is a luxury most of us have been conditioned to never give freely. We live in the constant fear of being shortchanged for play when we give love, or murdered when we give help, or even mugged if we make just as much as a stop or an eye contact. But we should never stop believing that good will always prevail, no matter the odds and the circumstance. I thank God for making me ride Manong’s taxi. I also thank Him for all my friends and relatives who helped and supported us immediately even without us asking and who prayed for Inay’s recovery. Thank You for reminding me to trust again. And I especially thank You for my mamoti and naychi. Flawed as we all are, every single day there are lessons to be learned from them such as dedication and courage. Thank You for the lows in my life so that I would appreciate all the highs. :)
As life with cancer is filled with “good days” and “bad days”, we had a “bad week” that eventually ended good. :) My mom was hospitalized again after barely a month due to her sudden anemia and electrolyte imbalance. I was touched by all our family and friends who willingly offered to donate blood immediately. As I was processing the PhilHealth papers (my mom’s name is so well known in the PhilHealth office at UST because of her regular ins and outs in the hospital for 16 years), the guy who was manning the booth was again telling me about how well he knew my dad already. He always tells me that whenever I’m the one processing, probably forgetting that I’ve talked to him before because it’s usually my dad who processes the forms. As he expertly staples and rearranges all the forms in order, he goes on with “Akala ko ba tapos na mommy mo? bakit andito nanaman?”. I tell him my mom needed blood transfusion, and he says “ang tagal na ng mommy mo na may cancer no, sa bagay okay lang mayaman naman ata si mommy?”. I correct him nicely with a “ay hindi po”, and I add in simultaneous realization that “mabait lang po ang Diyos”.
“As time goes on, you’ll understand. What lasts, lasts; what doesn’t, doesn’t. Time solves most things. And what time can’t solve, you have to solve yourself.”