I got into a long conversation with my jeepney driver as we wended our way through slow-moving traffic. Our icebreaker was, ironically, a car behind us that had overheated. I made my observations and he made his. “Wow, we’re lucky we’re ahead of them, not behind,” he commented. And since automotives were his element, he started offering me various trivia on all things radiator-related.
“Nothing to do but stop and wait for it to cool down.”
“You have to keep an eye on the thermometer. If it starts getting too hot, you’re in trouble. Me? I like to keep the needle right in the middle.”
“Just pour water over the radiator to cool it down. But not the engine, okay? Because that will ruin it.”
“Sometimes you can go on driving even with a broken fan belt. If the car starts to overheat, well, just pull aside.”
“Notice how some smaller taxis drive with their hood slightly open? That’s to keep the engine cool.”
It must be lonely being a jeepney driver. Unless you have a mate beside you, there’s not much interaction to be had, except for taking payment and giving change. I wanted to go back to what I was reading on my phone, but I decided to humor the guy. Besides, I was picking up a bit of education I wouldn’t otherwise get. But you can really only talk about radiators so much and our conversation turned towards the increasingly heavy traffic in Davao.
“Our roads weren’t meant to take this many vehicles,” he observed. “With the new condos coming up, you can be sure there’ll be even more cars. Each of those guys are sure to have their own service.”
“They should build condos farther up, you know? Like maybe in Cabantian. The ground there is pretty solid, and it won’t be so clustered in the city.”
“Yeah, even if you own your own condo, you still have to pay monthly dues. It’s still like paying rent. And, what? After fifty years they just tear it down again.”
“I wouldn’t want to live in a condo, no sir. If you live in a condo, you can’t cook dried fish! What kind of life is that?”