Take a Deetour

"I write to find out what I think." - Joan Didion

Friday, November 04, 2005

Guilt Trip by Taxi

Let this be a warning to you: No one is safe anymore.

Why, on the rare occasions I'm in cab, does the taxi uncle feel the overwhelming urge to meddle? I swear my family are in cahoots with EVERY. SINGLE. LAST. TAXI. COMPANY. IN. SINGAPORE!

This is how I imagine how the wheel of my misfortune was set on its inevitable path of destruction...

Last night, after asking the Mother if she'd give me a lift to work in the city, she says:

"Hah? No lah, no time, I think you take taxi better."

Shrugging, I say OK.

(Cut to mom behind closed doors, taking out secret CB radio) "Calling all taxi units, come in all taxi units. The princess has taken the pea. Repeat, Princess has taken pea. OVER."
(Answer from a thousand eager taxi uncles across the isle) "Roger that, Operation Mattress in motion, rendevous at 1000hrs then 1800hrs. OVER."
(Mom nods at Dad, they chuckle with equal parts glee and menace) "Excellent, bwahahahahahahaha! OVER AND OUT!"

This morning, I hailed a cab and had a blissfully quiet ride to work. Taxi uncle, the BBC World Service and me.

This evening, I should have known better.

Stepping into the cab, a wall of medicated oil fumes slammed into my nostrils. But I soon got used to it and the ride went swimmingly silent, the way I like it. Just me and the wizened little old uncle with the crew cut, toothless smile and driving skills any Dodgems enthusiast would be proud of. Before long, we were pulling into my road and foolishly, I thought I was home free (figuratively speaking, of course). Wrong-o! He couldn't resist. He turned to me and wheezed in his curious mixture of Hokkien & Mandarin:

"Xiao Jie, are you married? NO?! WHY? How old are you? Hah? So old, must marry! Got money, what for? No good, got money also cannot finish using. Better have children. Then when you go home, got people say, "Mummy, eat!" Why you no married? No married no good! People must have descendents! I got one friend, borned 1976, you want? He earns more than $2000 a month, never smoke, never drink, never bet horses. Very good."

I tried to divert conversation to his four daughters and only son, but he persisted:

"Ya, ALL my children married already. My son, your age, married! Why you no married? Must marry! Must have children!"

I threw my cab fare at him as politely as I could, laughing in that helpless, hideously embarrassed sort of way and scrambled out to safety. And all I could think of was, here's another gem for the blog. I watched the uncle drive away, grasping for someway to compute what had just occurred.

(Cut to cab interior, Taxi uncle on his secret CB radio, still in his mixture of Hokkien and Mandarin) "Come in Queen Bee, Princess land on Tilam, liao! Sure can feel the pea, one! Donch worried, tiok liao! OVER."

(Mom upstairs behind closed doors, cb radio receiver in hands) "Roger that, kum siah, uncle! Bwahahahahaha... OVER AND OUT."

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3 humps in my highway:

At 3:11 am, Blogger wind-up-bird said...

heee. *love* your blog, it's hilarious! what i love about new york city: cab drivers make no attempt at human contact whatsoever. and i've been getting a lot of the "why are you not married?" because EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY CHILDHOOD FRIENDS is either engaged or hitched. i swear my sister will be pumping out kids before the M-word surfaces in my world. . . . eh, screw it. life is better for us, no? :D

At 10:00 am, Anonymous thedonutboy said...

At least it beats cab drivers trying to tell politcal jokes... then expecting you to laugh...

At 2:54 am, Blogger Deetourguide said...

Wind-up-bird: Your blog ain't too shabby either! ;0) I'm back to driving into the city, even if I have to pay exhorbitant parking prices - no more cabbie trauma if I can help it! As for the prediction on your sister, I'm living the nightmare! My bro & sis-in-law have just added #3 to their brood of (albeit loveable) monsters! But yes, c'est la vie - we enjoy it which ever way it comes to us!

DB: Thank God in heaven that hasn't happened to me - yet. But encounters with taxi uncles who blame all their problems and the world's on the "Gahmen"? Plenty! Amusing up to the point they expect you to agree with them.


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