Comfortable, efficient, and fast – there’s no denying taxis are great and their usage on the island is on the rise. But this habit has birthed a number of microcosms within the ‘cab driver’ demographic, so here’s an attempt at grouping each of these in a number of categories.
1. The Bro
As he greets you with an amicable ‘X’għandna xbin’ you feel your insecurities fade away. For some weird reason you’re suddenly inclined to talk about that one time your parents forgot to pick you up from Mużew and how you think that’s the reason you’ve got commitment issues. As he silently listens and nods, you picture him making it big as a therapist.
You leave the car feeling like a weight has just been lifted off your shoulders. Seeing a stranger drive away has never been so hard.
“Ħaġa waħda ngħidlek, tinbidel għal ħadd bro”
2. The Patri
The radio’s tuned into Radju Marija, blasting the Litanija tal-Ispirtu s-Santu. An Olive Branch from Ħal-Qormi’s 2005 Ħadd il-Palm Festivities is stuck to the sun visor. Is that incense you’re smelling? Probably. The Rosary Beads dangling from the rear-view mirror keep banging against the windshield with every pothole you encounter.
It feels like you’ve just been picked up by the Son of God himself, but hey, you sure are feeling #blessed.
“Madonna tat-Triq, wassalna fis-sliem”
3. The Lost Cause
A 10-minute journey to your friend’s house for some post-exam pre-drinks has turned into a full-on road trip around the island. You feel your anxiety kicking in as you’re pretty sure this ride’s going to at least cost you a kidney. Your phone vibrates – it’s your friends telling you that they’ve already started making their way to PV.
Morale is low. Send help.
“It’s a shortcut bro – trust me”
4. The Ex-Formula 1 Driver
The second you buckle in your surroundings turn into a blur. The speedometer is barely keeping up as you go from 0 to 60 in a fraction of a second. The imqarrun you had for lunch is slowly making its way up your throat as you say one last ‘Ave Marija’.
With drivers like these, who needs a metro system?
“Dik sajjetta jew speed camera kienet?”
5. The Quiet Guy
Your obligatory ‘Kif aħna?’ Is welcomed by a disgruntled ‘orrajt’ and not much else, but the awkward silence is quickly broken by his pumping playlist. What you thought was an average cab ride quickly turns into ‘Clique’ on a Friday night. You don’t manage to catch much of the driver but the hideous rendition of ‘The Creation of Adam’ tattooed on the back of his neck is ingrained in your brain for years to come.
6. The Politician
What’s that on the windshield? Is it a holy picture of Santa Liena or an excessively airbrushed picture of the party leader? It’s safer not to ask. As a political anthem to the tune of ‘Waka Waka’ permanently damages your ear drums, you get flashbacks of when you got trapped at the Fosos during a mass meeting right before the last general election.
There’s no stopping this guy as he talks about that one time he shook the prime minister’s hand at the festa tar-raħal with tears in his eyes.
“Narak il-coffee morning tal-partit il-Ħadd li ġej?”
7. The Long-Lost ‘Relative’
After enthusiastically exclaiming that you look familiar, this guy will stop at nothing to find out where he might know you from. Were you at his step-sister’s nephew’s baby shower? Probably not. Did he teach you the tuba at the każin back in 2005? Absolutely not. But then it hits you – he’s your late Aunt’s first husband, the same guy who got way too drunk at your first Holy Communion party at Popeye Village.