Ivan Musoke

A 'taxi-turvy' tale

I appreciate convenience as much as the next guy.

Really. For some reason, I think this has factored heavily on my reliance on boda bodas over your regular run of the mill-striped can of sardines that the transport sector now and then tries to pass off as a legit form of transportation.

It’s been working out fine for the better part of, I don’t know, many years, so I don’t know how or why I let my mate convince me to use the most public of transport. In hindsight, I think the turgid clouds were overflowing with the most compelling of arguments.

Psych majors are always quick to suggest that sometimes one can undergo an experience so unpleasant, the brain figures it will file this away in a little dark corner that no one will ever chance upon. No one, that is, except for a nosy psych major. I suspect that’s what happened with my recollection of the taxi experience.

My brain had selflessly taken it upon itself to open a new folder, stash the memories in there and then {having closed the folder} renamed it to something it knew I would never ever chance upon if I tried hard to look deep within. Sort of like an offensive Justin Bieber lyric.

So just why do I loathe taxis? Why do I keep shunning these tin cans despite knowing  that they are actually safer than the two wheeled vehicle that was undeniably the product of a pact between Lucifer and an overzealous mechanic? Well, I’m not sure, but may be if we try to recreate my experience, some light may be shed on my plight.

This actually feels better than lying down on a fake leather couch and telling a stranger how I feel. {what I’m doing, incidentally, is lying on my bed and telling you how I feel. In many ways, it is NOT the same thing}

I climbed into the taxi and then the strangest of things happened. The hidden folder chose that exact time to ‘come out’. It didn’t really do it as flamboyantly as I would have expected. No, that would have been too easy and I’d have likely alighted before my tormentor had had his way with me. In a manner of speaking, it sort of came out in dribs and drabs, more like Andersen Cooper, less like Ricky Martin.

Act I  – The Triumphant Entry

I boarded the taxi with the dexterity of a contortionist and made my way to my seat at the back. This was, for all intents and purposes, alright. What wasn’t, however, was the little cloth-encased railing that I tried to use for support. It was soaked and all at once I started trying to keep theories at bay. Sure, it had rained, but why was the whole damn thing soaked.

There were bits that would be shielded from the rain; this thing had no business being as wet as it was. And yet there it was, unrelenting and drenched. My brain attempted to sneak in some comic relief suggesting that it was not rain water that my hand had recently made the unfortunate acquaintance of, but rather sweat; copious amounts of sweat from random travellers. Not funny.

Act II – The Pursuit of Happiness

Nonetheless, I was in and there was not much I could do. Life handed me a lemon, the logical next step would be to look for some Tequila and make this work. So that’s what I did…except that there’s really no correlation between taking shots of Tequila and fighting to find a comfortable position in a taxi. A sumo wrestler would likely register higher success trying out positions from the Kamasutra.  

After what felt like hours of trying to find ‘the spot’ {essentially any position where I’d have a fairly decent amount of leg room whilst also not bumping my head on the roof of the vehicle} I found something. Unfortunately, right around the same time, this dude bedecked in what looked like Nigerian garb found a spot in the sit right in front of me.

Act III – The Art Of War

The journey started as most do, with the taxi undergoing what probably passes for vehicular hiccups complete with the agonizing start and stop movements that with the right blend of colors would have triggered an epileptic fit from an onlooker. Then something strange happened. Everytime we would go over humps, pseudo-Naija chap would lift himself from the seat. Every. Damn. Time. Now, I don’t want to come off as insensitive or anything, but it was downright annoying. You see, for him to achieve his pathetic levitation technic, he would have to support himself with the back of his seat. This in turn would press against my knee and much discomfort would follow. I didn’t like this and even the thought that the poor slob might have been dealing with hemorrhoids gave me no joy. I really really needed to get out of there.

Act IV – The Voice Of Missing Reason

Coupled with the faux-Naija dude’s see-saw antics was my neighbour’s voice. On any other day I’d have no problem with her’s or anyone else’s voice, but with all that was going on it was just unbearable. The irony of it all is that it wasn’t one of those whiny squeaky ones that you usually find lurking about on the floors  of make-shift salons. No, that would have actually been preferable. My neighbor was, for lack of a better expression, soft spoken, Again, this in itself is not a bad thing. Soft spoken is good. BUT soft spoken sucks majorly if you’re trying to tell the taxi driver to stop so you can alight. What happens in such instances is that you feel like a fellow conspirator every freaking time the young lady opens her mouth and it’s not a good feeling. She doesn’t know me like that.

Act IV – The End is At Hand

Fortunately, the drama was coming to an end, something that was made all the more obvious when the little marker announcing my destination danced into view.  On the plus side, we were on a decent road which meant that ‘Naija-wannabe’ had finally gotten round to sitting his ass down. The hoarse whisperer on the other hand was still trying to communicate with the seat in front of her. I announced that my destination was nigh and promptly paid the ‘conductor’ who in turn, did what he does best- nothing. At. All. So I tried again. This time he had the decency to look at me and with a forlorn look handed over my change. By the time the driver had the sense to stop, my destination was a couple of kilometers in the past and I had to trudge back.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think I may have one or two good enough reasons for avoiding taxis…

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