Leather Jackets, Omega shoes and commuters

2017-06-08 06:00
on the runlunga adam

on the runlunga adam

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Being dependent on a taxi, behind whose wheel is a man adorned in a leather jacket and Omega sandals- no matter the season- for my daily commute to and from work, one would be forgiven for thinking this writer’s life revolves around hitching a ride. Nay?

A fortnight ago, I brought to light the spectre of criminality that seems to has become associated with the Avanza taxis.

Readers reactions were somewhat mixed.

As for the 15-seater taxis, what I have come to notice over time is the “abnormal” manner in which interactions between passengers and then between passengers and drivers.

Listening to this, one would swear said commuters are from completely different worlds.

If it is not a case of folks being not in the mood to talk, then it is unrequited greetings, or the curious case of two people sitting next to each other but barely able to hold down a conversation.

Instead each would be on their cellphone, listening to music or sharing the latest umgosi via WhatsApp.

Another disturbing scenario, though, is that each might be gossiping about the other to their respective social media communities.

“Yho, lo bhuti ndihleli ecaleni kwakhe kule taxi sana unuka amakhwapha”, or “Akasemkhulu lo sisi, undixinile yazi.”

We really don’t seem to make good fellow travellers, in fact, I am not ashamed to admit that because of this growing trend of people playing deaf to a greeting, I save myself the trouble.

Instead, it is me and my phone or a book (or, in the worst-case scenario, my thoughts) until the end of the journey.

My favourite part about these taxi journeys is when the fare falls short as a result of a passenger failing to pay or forking out the required amount.

I like that part, because I know the culprit will soon receive his or her comeuppance.

In such instances, the other passengers have to scramble for a rescue plan as, by now, the driver has parked by the roadside, or is busy threatening to drop all and sundry off at the rank, to explain our side of the stories to the “authorities”. Chaos rules.

I have come to admire the womenfolk in such moments of insanity and confusion, because they are always the ones who leave no stone unturned in trying to locate the conman in the midst.

Alas, before you know it, screams of “nguwe bhuti ongabhatalanga; bhatala tyhini!” reverberate around the cab.

I must also add that those who sit in the front are often found wanting in such situations.

Some would, much later, blame it on forgetfulness.

Others simply pay and then plead the fifth amendment.

It would take the whole paper to rant on and on about the drivers and how they tend to maltreat those who put food on their tables.

While there are the few well mannered among them, there are those who just don’t give a hoot.

Theirs is to start up the jalopy and transport folk to their destinations, period.

Some play music so loud you struggle to hear your phone ring. One time this woman complained about the speed at which the vehicle was going, to which the driver told her she was welcome to get off if she so wished.

Imagine doing that in the middle of the N2, late in the evening. No one uttered a word afterwards, as he swerved dangerously and changed lanes at will.

Talking of music, would it not be a welcome change if taxi drivers could choose their playlist according to the taste of the majority of those on board.

What’s the use of playing Babes Wodumo when more than half the taxi is filled with passengers on the wrong side of 50.

Would this not eliminate the desire to listen music on their smart phones while travelling by taxi, thus increasing the likelihood of decent conversations?

But not all of these chaps are cut from the same cloth. The other day, there was this passenger who was so out of it he could hardly tell his name from the next guy.

I helped the kind driver load him off and drop him at the Philippi East police station. Now, imagine if we had more taxi drivers like him!


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