The cab ride

“Where did you arrive from?” The airport taxi driver asked me as we left the airport.

“Hong Kong,” I answered.

“I thought you came from Leyte,” he joked, “because your luggage is so light, like you have hardly any clothes.” And then, as if to explain himself: “I just came from Leyte, to get my mother. She lost everything. When you’re there, you look forward, left, right, behind you — you see nothing, only debris.

“She didn’t want to go with me,” he continued. “I said I would make her, even if I had to carry her. ‘Why will I go with you?’ she told me. ‘I have no extra panties, just the one I’m wearing.’ ‘I’ll buy you new ones,’ I said.”

We entered Makati. He is careful at every corner. “I only started driving cabs recently,” he explained. “The rules are different here in Makati. If the traffic cops catch you, the fine is so expensive. It’s one day’s profit, gone.”

We talked a little about politics, the traffic.

“I used to be a seaman,” he said. “I went around the world. The other seamen asked me why I could be away from my wife for so long. ‘I’m tired of women,’ I’d joke. ‘I’m into men now.'”

I laughed. “That must be tough, though, to be away from your family and not come home.”

“Six to eight months at a time, and yet you’re the one in the wrong,” he suddenly spat out, defensive. “My son is spoiled. He took the money I earned and didn’t share it with his mother. He’s an addict, you see. You’d see his hand shaking when he holds a cigarette, like it was weed. His mother just kept going out with her friends. I earned so much money as a seaman, for what? It all went to my son’s rehab. So I might as well come home and be near them. That’s why I drive cabs now.

“Life is okay,” he concluded as we arrived home. “Driving cabs is okay. It’s a quiet life. Steady. Simple. Life can be okay if you’re ambitious.”

I paid him the fare. It was at once expensive and not enough.

Historical quotes and translations

One of the things I love about being a game designer is I get paid to research and learn the coolest, funniest things.

Today’s historical fact, found in my random reading:

The mantelpiece commemorates the marriage in 1510 between SirJohn Campbell of Argyll and Muriel Calder of Cawdor. The allegorical design and the inscription in dog Latin have never been satisfactorily explained or translated, all of which is highly satisfactory. The writing may mean ‘In the morning, remember your creators’. Or it may mean something quite else, like ‘If you stay too long in the evening, you will remember it in the morning.

If you are into this kind of thing, the English translation of Lorem ipsum is actually quite wonderful.

But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?

With all the crap that fills up the Verse, I’m always pleased to find these little gems.