Stories are cropping up of drivers with all sorts of collections in their vehicles. There’s the driver who has snacks for sale. Then there’s the driver who turned his cab into a garden. But here’s a new one: a driver who turned his FX into a library.
Ysabel de Dios met the driver when she flagged down an old FX in Commonwealth. The vehicle was traversing Espana going to SM Fairview. She described the FX as having worn upholstery, and missing handles and locks.
Medyo matanda na si kuya driver, mid-50s siguro o mid-60s. Gaspang ng boses, parang naka-ilang kaha na siya ng sigarilyo sa kahabaan ng buhay niya. Nang mapuno ang second row ng FX–comfortably na apatan siya kung sexy kaming lahat. Pero dahil blessed ako sa hips, painful ang pagka-apatan niya. Galawang in-out ang physics na umiral at dahil yung hips ko yung nasa pinakataas ng food chain ng hips sa mundong ibabaw, ako na yung “out” sa gitna. Dahil sa position ko na hindi talaga feasible ang sumandal sa upuan, tsaka ko napansin na yung dashboard decorations ni kuya driver ay mga libro.
(The driver was a bit old, maybe in his mid-50’s or mid-60’s. His voice sounded like that of a heavy smoker’s. The second row fits four people, but only if the four people are sexy. But because I am blessed in the hips department, we had to arrange ourselves. I was leaning forward, so I noticed that the driver’s dashboard decorations were books).
She thought it was a random assortment, until she realized it was a library. The first thing she saw was an old edition of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. She then struck a conversation:
“Binabasa niyo lahat nang ‘yan, kuya?” (“Do you read all of that?”)
“Oo. Pero hindi sabay-sabay.” (“Yes, but not at the same time.”)
(“Oo nga naman. Sorry naman, kuya.) (I figured)
“Nabasa mo na yan? To Kill A Mockingbird?” (“You’ve read that? To Kill a Mockingbird?”)
“Yan? Naumpisahan ko na, di ko pa natatapos.” (“I haven’t finished it yet.”) (Laughs)
“Ano hilig mong basahin?” (“What do you like reading?”)
“May western, science fiction, crime, thriller…”
“Science fiction? Ano na nabasa mong science fiction?” (“Science fiction? What science fiction have you read?”
“Marami. Yung kay Isaac Asimov.” (“A lot. Like those by Isaac Asimov.”)
(Tindi lang ni kuya) (This guy is intense.)
“Anong Asimov na nabasa mo? Mga I, Robot, ganyan?” (“What Asimov books have you read? Like I, Robot?”)
“I, Robot… Foundation series. Mahaba yun. Limang libro.” (“I, Robot… the Foundation series. It’s five books.”)
“Nabasa mo na lahat? Yung una palang nabasa ko eh.” (“You’ve read all of it? I’ve only read the first one.”)
“Oo, lahat yun.” (“Yes, all of it.”)
(Tapos he spoiled the entire Foundationseries. Kwinento naniya yung ending. Thanks, kuya.) (Then he spoiled the entire Foundation series. He told me the ending. Thanks.)
“Nagbabasa ka rin?” Tanong niya sakin. (“You read, too?” He asked me.)
“Oo naman. May mga libro ka pa sa bahay?” (“Of course. Do you have other books at home?”)
“Siyempre, kung may libro ako sa kotse siyempre may libro ako sa bahay. Kaya lang nung bagyo–Ondoy ba yun?–nabaha kami kaya ang dami kong librong nasira.” (“Of course. If I have books here then I have books at home. But a lot of my books got ruined during the typhoon Ondoy.”)
“Stephen King, kuya, nagbabasa ka?” (“Do you read Stephen King?”)
“Oo, Stephen King. Pero mahaba yun eh. Gusto ko rin si Agatha Christie. … Pinagtatawanan nga ako ng ibang mga driver eh. Sila raw abubot nasa FX. Ako, libro.” (“Yes. But it’s long. I also like Agatha Christie. The other drivers laugh at me because they have toys in their FX but I have books.”)
Soon, the passengers in front alighted and Ysabel transferred to the front so she can admire the books up close. She decided to give the driver one of her books, Felice Sta. Maria’s The Foods of Jose Rizal. She sensed the driver’s excitement as he continued to tell her about the books he read. Soon, they reached Ysabel’s stop.
“Sige lang,” sabi niya, at mukhang willing pa siyang paghintayin yung ibang mga pasahero para tingnan ko yung mga libro niya.
Binalik ko na kay kuya yung mga libro. Nagpasalamat sa kanya. Bumaba ng FX, at tumuloy nang mag-lakad.
Naalala ko lang yung post sa Tumblr: “Seeing someone read a book is like seeing a book recommend a person.” Sa 10? 15? minutes na nag-usap kami ni kuya, hindi nawala yung excitement sa boses naming dalawa, kahit ba magkaiba kami ng mga binabasa.
Luma na yung FX, pero hindi makaluma yung nagda-drive nito. Mabuhay ka, kuya. Basa pa more, dahil ilang mundo na ang napuntahan mo habang naghihintay ng pasahero sa terminal. Habang nagpapalipas ng traffic. Habang umuusad sa mundo.
(He told me to look at his other books, and it seemed like he was willing to let his passengers wait so I can take a closer look.
I returned the books, thanked the driver, and got down.
I remembered this post on Tumblr: “Seeing someone read a book is like seeing a book recommend a person.” In the 10 to 15 minutes I talked to the driver, he never lost his excitement, even if we read different books.
The FX is old, but there’s nothing old about the driver. Great job, kuya. Read more, because you have visited many worlds while waiting for passenges in the terminal. While waiting in traffic. While moving through life.)
What do you think? Share your thoughts below!