Of the many things I hate the most two that I really cannot tolerate no matter how hard I try are liars and people who challenge simple logic with stupidity.
I encountered both last Saturday in the form of two taxi drivers from hell. How I ended up in a situation involving those a__holes is something I’d rather forget but I just cannot as of the moment. I’m still a bit shaken by the whole incident so this post will most likely come out like a stream of consciousness piece (translate: disorganized and long winded).
It all started when Taxi Driver A rammed into the back of the car of my “master and kumander.” When it happened I was almost at a full stop and was already waiting for about a few seconds for the vehicles on the other lane to clear the way so I could make a left turn. I happened to look at my rear view mirror and I noticed this taxi coming in fast directly towards me. It only took a few milliseconds for me to realize that this beat down taxi was on a direct course towards my “master and kumander’s” Toyota Vios. In an attempt to avoid being rammed into, I stepped on the gas to put some distance between me and this speeding taxi. Unfortunately, the taxi still connected and with enough force to send me into temporary shock.
I disembarked and inspected the damage. What I found was a dented bumper with scratches too many to be fixed with a simple paint touch up. I then turned towards Taxi Driver A who, by then, was already walking towards me.
Considering the fact that it was pretty clear from my point of view that the accident was the result of recklessness on Taxi Driver A’s part, I was all set to give him a severe dressing down. Well, to my utter shock and disbelief, Taxi Driver A beat me to the punch and started pinning the blame on me. He said I made a sudden stop and that I was probably using my cellphone while driving. Big mistake. Had he not started off with that line and tone, I would have probably just released a few invectives and immediately proceeded to discuss with him damage settlement. But, since he came out blaming me, he gave me more than enough reason to unleash the wrath.
To abbreviate, Taxi Driver A and I had a lengthy argument. Naturally, I defended myself from his ridiculous claims and stressed the obvious point that he was the one who hit me from behind while I was practically parked. I must admit it got to a point that I was directly calling him “gago” and other colorful Tagalog terms to describe an a__hole.
I also ended up showing him my media ID. Now, regarding this part of this story, let me just make it clear that I don’t make it a habit to flash my media ID as if it were a badge. The fact is I don’t even use it even when I’m in the office. I do, however, keep it on hand in case I find myself facing abusive state employees who want to separate me from what little money I have.
Going back to what happened. When it became clear to me that Taxi Driver A was trying to weasel himself out of the situation I felt I had no choice but to resort to some intimidation. So, while he was in the middle of accusing me of using my cellphone while driving, I told him to accompany me to my “master and kumander’s” car as I was going to show him something. I also told him that I was not going to use whatever it was that I was about to show him to pin the accident on him but merely to make him drop his false accusations.
Well, I will not deny that it helped that i showed him my media ID. The moment he saw it his tone improved and he became a bit more cooperative. He even asked me if I was Kapuso or Kapamilya. I said it didn’t matter. The fact is I was neither for I am merely a Kanguso.
With his accusations out of the way, we proceeded with discussing how to settle the matter. It was then that Taxi Driver B came out of nowhere. At first I thought he was just a curious pedestrian. I only suspected he was another taxi driver when he started saying things in support of Taxi Driver A. My suspicion was confirmed later on when I saw him getting something from the driver’s side of a taxi parked a few meters away from the site of our little accident.
To abbreviate again, Taxi Driver B messed up what had already turned into a civilized discussion between me and Taxi Driver A on the matter of damage settlement. Taxi Driver B succeeded in doing this by acting like a Crime Scene Investigator. As if it were his business, he approached the Vios and pointed out that some of the scratches on its damaged bumper were not caused by this accident. At that point it became clear to me that I was faced with an uzisero who just didn’t know his boundaries. Well, just like taxi Driver B, he received his share of colorful Tagalog words. Hell, I was ready to rumble by then. Two a__holes against one. Luckily, it didn’t get to that as Taxi Driver B apparently got it clear that I was ready to raise hell if he insisted on meddling with our business. He left soon enough but only after taking some camera snapshots of the “crime scene.” This a___hole must have really been channeling one of the characters from CSI.
Again, to abbreviate, after Taxi Driver B left Taxi Driver A and I continued our discussion. He later admitted that he beat the red light and that he didn’t see me as he was looking somewhere else. I did suspect though that he may have fallen asleep on the wheel judging from the sullen look on his face.
Not long after we were negotiating for a settlement. I demanded that he pay me P2000 right there and then to cover the participation fee I may have to shoulder if I were to have the car fixed under the terms of its insurance coverage. As expected of all a__hole PUV drivers, he laughed at my demand and made a counter offer of P500. We haggled and haggled but then I got tired. My “master and kumander,” who was already at the site by then, also told me to just let it go. In the end, I just accepted Taxi Driver A’s P500 offer.
I’m pretty sure, about half of my two loyal readers, would say that I should have just called a policeman to secure a proper police report. A security guard from a nearby establishment called the precinct. And, I did wait for more than 30 minutes for the policeman to arrive but to no avail.
All in all, this whole accident put a big dent on what should have been a relaxing weekend. In fact, it really messed me up that I fell ill the following day. Clearly it was the stress. You see, despite the blog title that I chose to run with, I really don’t like having feelings of anger. I also don’t like feelings of guilt. And, I definitely hate having these two feelings all mixed up.
You already know the angry part of the story. The guilty part came in after the fact. Taxi Driver B was about my age and was physically fit enough to get rough with me if the situation called for it. Taxi Driver A, however, was probably in his late 40s or early 50s. He was also smaller than me. The truth is not once did I think of getting physical with Taxi Driver A even at my angriest point during our confrontation.
Ironically, while I didn’t resort to bashing his head in or stomping on his foot, I ended up taking away what could have been his day’s earnings. My angry side could argue that his settlement of P500 was nothing compared to the damage he caused. Still, my guilty side felt that I could have secured that amount in a manner that didn’t involve any intimidation. Somehow, I felt that I came out looking like the abuser.
It’s been a few days since that accident. I no longer feel guilty. Why should I in the first place? Strangely though, in lieu of guilt, questions of some seemingly cosmic significance now occupy my mind. (Play “The Twilight Zone” theme music here.)
This wasn’t my first vehicular accident. I have fallen victim to the recklessness of other drivers quite a number of times over the past few years. My old car, a Nissan Stanza, got hit once by a Pajero driven by a minor. Well, that was the story told to me by a taxi driver who claimed to have witnessed the incident. He also told me that the driver of the Pajero didn’t even bother to check how much damage he caused and just sped away.
Years later my other old car, a Mitsubishi Lancer, was sideswiped by a bus, rammed from behind by a tricycle, sideswiped by another tricycle, and hit by a bicycle all in the span of three weeks. The bus driver tried to get away but I caught up with him and was able to get a measly settlement of P700 for a dented fender and a broken headlight. The first tricycle driver I just let go seeing that he was old enough to be my great grandfather. The other tricycle driver, well, he got away. As for the bicycle rider who dented my passenger side door, I really had no chance of getting anything anyway since he was just a kid.
Accidents happen all the time I know but this latest accident made me think that maybe Karma is at play here.
When I was just new to driving, I found getting in or out of parking spaces quite difficult. One time, while I was backing out of the parking space in front of my favorite bookstore in Quezon City, I scraped the side of an old Toyota Tamaraw parked beside me. The driver of the Tamaraw was nowhere in sight and since I really had no idea then how to deal with such a situation I decided to just leave the scene. I did intend to leave a note indicating my contact numbers. But, of course, intending to do something is not really the same as actually doing it. Although, it was just a very small scratch, I’m sure the owner of that Toyota Tamaraw cursed the a__hole responsible for the damage to his or her property. Incidentally, the place where this happened was almost the same spot where the hit and run on my old Nissan Stanza also happened years later.
One of my two readers finds it funny that I would even think of such Karmic implications. When I told her that I thought the accident with Taxi Driver A happened for a reason she laughed. She laughed even more when I proposed that the accident could be God’s way of amusing himself at my expense. I only said that because the street where it happened was wide enough for three cars to pass through side by side. There were also no other vehicles on that side of the road at that time. It was also daytime so visibility was not a problem. In short, I thought it was an accident that shouldn’t have happened or could have easily been avoided if not for some cosmic intervention.
Sure, I could just dismiss that accident as just another experience. But, why shouldn’t I milk it for my own amusement? And, how could I not think there’s some strange force at work here when just yesterday, while driving along Araneta Avenue, the same taxi that started this whole thing came driving up alongside me. (play “The Twilight Zone” theme music here again).