Conversation with cab driver
An older man helped me get off the coach at the first intersection in Taichung.
"Where are you going? Do you want a cab?" he asked.
"No. I need to make a call. Is there a telephone?"
Disappointed, he led me to a public phone in the taxi waiting area. I motioned that I needed to change the 50 NT coin into smaller ones. NT stands for New Taiwan Dollar. 50 NT is about one British pound.
Another cab driver came up and said he'd help me. He gave me five coins from his car.
"How much is it to make a local call?" I enquired.
"2 NT," he replied.
Instinctively I threw two of the coins into the green phone. I entered the numbers but didn't hear a thing. I tried again. The phone ate my coins. Help!
With a glowing cigarette in one hand, the cab driver who gave me the change took one coin from me. "This should be enough," he said. And that's when I realised that I had put in 20 NT not 2 NT.
Since he couldn't fathom how the phone worked, he offered his mobile phone. After my phone call, I told him sheepishly that I was getting a lift.
"Actually, I don't mind taking a cab, if I know the address. My dad just doesn't want me to take a cab. He gets worried, you know," I said.
The cab driver looked at me up and down quizzically. "I don't think your dad should be worried. You won't get kidnapped."
Sensing my misinterpretation that nobody wanted me, he added, "I mean, maybe twenty years ago somebody would want you."
I was very offended by now.
"It wasn't as safe twenty years ago. It's much better now," he quickly said.
I may be old enough to take a cab by myself, but my daddy still thinks I'm a little girl. And I suppose I will always remain too vulnerable to take a cab by myself, for cab drivers might eye me up and down --- and think I'm twenty years younger than I am!
12 April 2004 Monday
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