it was one of those days again when i got to think about the “what ifs” i always have at the back of my mind.
i was really late for work this morning and i had to take a cab to work. traffic was horrible in some parts of C5 even if it was already way past rush hour! still, i made it to work in one piece. barely, perhaps. or even maybe by a mysterious force of nature.
why am i saying this? because the driver was falling asleep while driving!
prior to this one, i’ve only had one driver who was pretty sleepy on the wheel. the first one was scary as well but not as scary as the one this morning.
the cab driver this morning was actually perky when i got in his cab from C5 Taguig area. he even tried to chat me up and we talked a little about the traffic near Kalayaan Avenue that we were headed for. once we were in the middle of the traffic, where everything began to sloooooowwww doooooowwwwwnnnn, he changed radio stations.
he also put the A/C on high. which i didn’t think was an indicator of anything to come since it gets really hot past 10AM nowadays. i realized just now that whenever i get sleepy and keep myself from sleeping, i get all hot and sweaty even if the A/C in the room is pretty cold.
anyway, whenever he heard the commercials on the radio, he would switch to a different station. very restless. and then he stuck to one station where he was familiar with and sang-along to some of the songs, maybe to keep him awake. it was good for the next few minutes until we reached another snag of moderate traffic in the Libis area.
we exit the traffic just past the entrance to Eastwood when i sensed a change in driving style which i noticed by the high revs he was making with the engine at low gear. there was this open road in front of him but we were doing just 20-30kph and he would hit the brakes without anything obstructing the cab.
it was just about 4 km to work so i tried to engage him in conversation to keep himself from sleeping, asking him about his job, has he met the ‘boundary’ yet, etc. it was no good since his replies were just “uhuh”, “ah, oo.” and “huh?” i asked him if he was ok and he insisted that he was fine.
no matter how much logic shouted at me and told me to do something — swap with the driver for the rest of the trip or slap him or splash him with water or something — i clenched my butt nervously until the end. besides, my mind was wandering and deep in thought because of some other event that morning.
what happened next is the thing that really had me thinking about my life a little. it reminded me of that Final Destination movie.
climbing the aurora-katipunan flyover was easy enough but as we got to the other side, there was a stalled motorcycle on the innermost lane of katipunan. the cab driver must’ve let go of the gas pedal and let the car roll down freely but i saw that his foot was on the brake but he wasn’t applying it.
somewhere in front of us, there was an “elf” truck that had pipes loaded at the back. of course, they jutted out of the rear but had that flaglet/cloth to aid other drivers in distancing themselves from the truck. well, guess what? a sleepy driver doesn’t see very well.
we almost snagged the motorcycle driver (who was signaling to on-coming vehicles to the adjacent lane) going downhill. it must’ve been just around 3 feet from the motorcycle before the cab driver changed lane onto the truck with the pipes and the pipes nicked the front pillar of the cab. he quickly pulled to the left and rode on the center island and landed back on the road. i was shocked, afraid, and angry. i didn’t know where i was anymore. all the driver could say was “sorry ser, ha?”
oh, and there is a cherry on top of this story. when we entered the gate to my destination, the guards would ask for an ID. the driver gave his Voter’s ID but the guards asked for his driver’s license. he said, “ser, wala. ticket lang.”
my eyes widened with disbelief after hearing that. but i kept quiet. i was still speechless and began to think things over with what had just happened. what if what happened earlier wasn’t as ‘fortunate’ as it should have been.
i was more concerned about not being late just 30 minutes prior to that. after what happened, i thought if i would have been prepared to meet our maker at that moment, at that hour, this day. was i good and obedient enough? will i be missed?
it’s eerily coincidental that last Saturday, we buried my cousin who died of kidney failure. it was heartbreaking to see my aunt cry over her daughter’s body. it’s ‘unnatural’ for parents to bury their children. again, i thought, what if i wasn’t as ‘fortunate’ as i was today? i know they would grieve for me but what kind of grief would that be? regret? generic sadness? pity (from on-lookers/non-relatives)?
i never got the cab’s plate number and name. i know i stared at the name and plate number painted on the inside of the door panels but it’s easy to mix up letters. all i can remember is that it’s Uxx 5xx cab. Kia Rio. brain cells storing it must’ve died with the shock i experienced. it’s weird that i don’t feel compelled to report the cab. right now i’m stuck in this phase where i am just really really thankful.