It’s eleven PM and I’m getting out of a movie called The Canyons. I’m not sure what I think about the film, do I like it or not and why, and it is with this kind of cinephile reasoning in mind that I board a taxi cab. I tell the driver the itinerary, Laranjeiras via Túnel Rebouças.
And the guy drives like a mad man, so fast, so dangerously. This is not unusual in Rio, specially at late hours, I try to keep calm. It’s not only a matter of how fast he drives, but the way he does, as if he was in a race or worst. His driving was suicidal, insane.
Taxi drivers hate when you tell them they’re driving too fast. For that reason I try not to say anything and hope for the best.
But I’m not in the mood to die just because this guy invests his testosterone, or lack of it, in his driving. So I ask him, with the uttermost politeness, if he could slow down just a little bit.
His reaction is instantaneous. He spits a couple of aggressive mumblings and then pulls over and commands me out “of his fucking car”. “You don’t like my driving, get out”.
I get out of the car, only half surprised. But I didn’t expect this to be so bad. The anger in his voice and face is tremendous, it’s out of proportion.
We are by Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, and it’s dark. No one is passing by. I’m out of the car and look in the other direction to see if I can get another cab as I am far from home yet. But I don’t get rid of him.
The driver gets out of the car and comes straight to me, infuriated, his chest projected ahead as men use to do when they want trouble.
He wants me to pay the ride so far. It’s absurd and I start reasoning about it. But I give up after just a few seconds. He’s going to punch me, it’s in his eyes, in his body language, all of his self delivers the same message: I’ll beat the living crap out of you.
He’s this close to me. He wants me to say something, anything, so he can attack me. It’s probably his testosterone issue, excess or lack of it, I don’t know and I don’t care. I am ok with my own testosterone, I have a happy sex life and I love to live so I get my wallet and pay the guy.
He’s finally back at his car, I walk always from him but not much because this is the only spot I have a chance to get another taxi. I listen as his car moves a little. I look back at him. And this is when it gets ugly.
He moves a few meters, no more, and stops.
Why did he stop? I look at that car. It’s sinister, it’s a scary situation. Inside the car, I can’t avoid to imagine, he considers trashing me, killing me. He can kill me and get away with it. There’s no one around, no way to connect me to him.
And now the car moves again. Backwards, in my direction. I can’t avoid to think that now he’s made his mind. In his imagination I am already a bloody mess in the sidewalk, my eye smashed, my teeth broken. Or all he sees is a shot and then a corpse with a huge hole in the chest. Whatever it is it’s ugly and it ends with the end of David, the end of me.
All those thoughts in a few seconds.
The car gets close and at this moment I finally capture another taxi. I get inside it as fast as I can, I give the driver directions, he moves on and I look back. The other car stopped and then went ahead again. I’m not there so he has no reason to move backwards anymore, does he?
I’m home. It’s late, maybe 3am or so. I don’t think about the driver anymore. I ate something, went online for this or that and now I’m watching TV. It’s The Walking Dead, episode three in the first season.
I’m calm as I watch it, I’m getting a good amount of entertainment, that’s all. But then when we’re close to the end of the episode there’s this moment when Shane attacks Ed. Ed is an asshole who abuses wife and daughter. He has just punched Carol in the eye and Shane won’t take it lightly.
Shane punches Ed in the face. And he punches Ed in the face and he punches and punches with extreme violence more and more. At this point something ugly happens to me.
I feel a strong wave of anger sprouts from deep inside me and it grows and grows fast, very fast. I’m with Shane now, I am Shane and I punch and I punch and I punch that guy mercilessly. The same way that taxi driver might have punched me for those seconds when I was a dead men. And I punched and punched angrily and I wish Shane never stopped beating Ed in the face.
Airports as parallel realities.
Having serious fun (and serious work) with the delightful help of John August's Writer Emergency Pack.
Me and Pedro Almodóvar in the twentieth century.
The whereabouts of a book
Just cracked the Rio Mate experience….hot beach, soft people, very sweet, very cold, very strong Mate. To DIY the drink… I will come back to work here!