In taxis, people tend to have this “taxi attitude”. You know, that frown that warns “do not attempt to have a conversation with me” even when no one is trying. You find a seat next to a window, whip out your phone and start ‘facebooking’ with an absorbed look that suggests you’re on to something serious and should not be disturbed. It helps a lot with unnecessarily friendly passengers, but not all the time.
Last saturday, I was traveling to the village when half way the journey, the taxi stopped to drop off and pick up more passengers. Waiting at the stage, was a mother of three kids. The oldest, a gleeful five year old or so had a bald shaved head that shimmered like she had been dipped in a drum of oil. She hauled along her younger brother who was limping on one shoe with a dirty bandage on the other foot. Their mother carried their youngest sibling in one hand and what appeared to be a baby bag in the other. It occured to me that I was in trouble when I looked around and realized that next to me was the only available free seat. Had we been in the taxi park, I would have dropped my bag in the seat and pretended it was occupied by my friend who had gone to buy airtime. But under the circumstances, I had no option but to push up and let the woman squeeze in.
In all honesty, I have no problem with mothers and their kids. But if you’re going to travel by public means with your dreggy family, the least you can do is pay for an extra seat for your kids. But the problem with such people is that they’ll always pretend like they’ll cage their kids between their knees which is unfeasible. Ten minutes into the journey and girl started encroaching into my space, craning her neck to see the trees that were running in the opposite direction of the car. It wasn’t long before her brother started crying for my phone while the one they carried on the shoulder was drooling on my shirt. The most frustrating bit is that unlike grown ups, kids can’t decipher facial expressions to know that this one wants to be left alone. I only got lucky when a passenger in the front seat got off along the way and I took his place.