Do you need a taxi?

bs107For me taxis have always been fascinating window into everyday life. I also have always considered taxi drivers more mature and experienced people in the world. Because nights are full of stories, darkness, chaos and devils. Those are things that make people appreciate more beautiful times, light and happiness. I still remember Estonian summer, where two crazy guys killed one kind-hearted taxi driver. It was unexpected horror. I remember taking taxis in my home city. All the taxi drivers were in paranoia, when I entered, big scary eyes looking you up:

Are you another crazy one?

I recall sitting next to a female taxi driver, who even shook in the driver seat. She told me it took 2 weeks to calm herself down. She could not sleep and her family also not. They used to call her in every five minutes. I always knew a life of a taxi driver is difficult. All those drunks, stupid people arguing and throwing up. Something similar happened withme. Few years a go taxi took home my drunk ex. She vomited in the taxi. Fortunately the taxi driver was father of my friend. Through humour and chemical cleaning we got all this sorted.

Fortunately, I have not seen drunks, vomit and crazy drivers in Russia. However, I have witnessed their crazy hustle in the St. Petersburg airport. I remember many non-official drivers fighting for my attention in front of the exit. Me again negotiating the prize, because I knew that they try to trick me. One old man took me around the corner to brand new Mercedes. Sadly, we could not agree on prize, so we started arguing intensively. He kicked me out of the car and I told him Estonian bad words. I could make only few steps, when I was approached already by 2 other non-official drivers. I agreed to drive with one of them.

He looked like a kind, good-hearted person. His eyes were innocent but also somehow tired of life. He told me he was 23 and had already two children. For me he always kind of spoke with an auto-pilot, like he was distant, gone, somewhere away in his misery and apathy. That was the reality of many Russian taxi drivers – young fathers working for their family. Mind you – he picked me up 05 am and had been working all night to feed his family.

I used to work 7 days a week, but then I could not distinguish day and night and started to go crazy,” he added.

As he was driving next to St. Petersburg´s canals, silence grew on us. Suddenly his face lit up, and he looked me:

Tell me! How are things with girls?”

*

This silent, distant taxi-driver archetype has always been the case. A week ago I took a taxi from training to home. Usually many of those non-formal taxis are found at the bus stops. As my bus was not coming, I decided to take one. I saw one lady entering, and then I went and asked if they had any place more. ( It is common in Krasnoyarsk or in Russia that you share a taxi with random people. Especially in the airport, where taxi driver might tell you: hey, wait in the car a little bit, I will go and look for another clients).
Again we were arguing over prize. He did not back down from a bit expensive ( not actually when compared to Estonian prizes) and told me to get in. Again this distant, dark and tense energy. When I told I needed a cash machine, we drove to Lenta and he told me quite rudely:


“ Make it quick!”

Since my friend Murat and me had kicked each other for 2 hours in the training I had no anger in me to get pissed off. When I returned he was scared that I did not take money. He asked me many times. While we were driving, he finally opened up when he realized I am a foreigner. He told me he works day and night as a truck driver and next to that as a non-official taxi driver. In the home there is waiting a wife and 2-year old Danil. The wife was not working.

Children need money,” he told me. Again, the voice echoed from somewhere distant. He told me he earns 20 000 rubles in his truck driving job. Add to that rent, wife, food and child and you understand. As we were driving in the city center, the Russian pop music was playing, and then gradually the snow started falling.

It was sad but it was beautiful.
*

I remember one time, when me and Murat were waiting for the bus after the training. Since it did not come, my friend asked my phone and called 3 different companies just to see who comes faster. When the bus came, he told me that we have to take it and ignore the taxis. Of course I told him no but he kept insisting. I explained him the meaning of karma and that it is not nice to do this to working people. He laughed, while angry taxi drivers were calling on my number! When we realized that we took the wrong bus, I told Murat that it is karma. He did not understand.

So when we got off from the bus, we saw another non-formal taxi. Murat found out that it was his fellow countrymen. Of course they completely ignored me and started communicating in their own language. Not communicating – it seemed they argued. Finally Murat told me that the driver charged us double, because it was holy days prize. They both screamed at each other and gesticulated lively with their hands.

Now let´s go out from the taxi!”

They were men who had to fight for every cent and rubles. Murat had come here to study but could not enter to the university. Now he was working in construction work, where sometimes the pay did not arrive. Sometimes the conditions were not the best. The driver was working day and night driving taxi. A bit better than construction worker. Murat did not have all the days to eat something. Sometimes he only ate potatoes. I did not know about the driver but it looked he was not having caffe buffet all the days also.

Murat wanted to go out in the middle of nowhere, with a freezing of -35. I told no. We took him home, while he closed the window, he told me:


“Give him only 150! We have enough expenses!”

Then me and driver were driving towards my home. Russian pop music was playing and the snow started to fall. I completely lost myself to my train of thoughts, when he asked:

What about girls?”

Taksojuhtidest Krasnojarskis.

Minu jaoks on taksojuhid olnud alati peegelpilt ööelule. Öös on asju. Deemonid, purjus inimesed, hullused ja meeletused. Igaühel neist on mitu lugu ja momenti. Siiamaani on meeles eelmine suvi, mil kaks noort Eesti kaaki heasüdamliku taksojuhi Pulli lähedal ära tapsid. Mäletan mitmes taksos istumist, mil nad kõik mind küsivalt piidlesid: ega sina ole samasugune hull? Mäletan üht naistaksojuhti, kes lausa nutma hakkas. Siis mainis ta, et nii tema kui ta pere olevat hirmul. Laps ja issi ei suuda terve öö magada, sest emme ei saa terve öö magada.

Muidu on minu Eesti takso kogemused olnud positiivsed. Välja arvatud kord, mil mu ekstüdruk purju jõi ja takso täis oksendas. Õnneks oli taksojuht tuttav. Saime kuidagi asja klaaritud.

*

Õnneks pole mul taksojuhtidega sarnaseid probleeme Krasnojarskis. Küll aga on mul võimalus olnud kuulata nende lugusid. Kõik algas muidugi Peterburi lennujaamast, mil hunnik musti taksosid sind sõitma meelitavad. Nagu varese kari, võitlemas iga kliendi nimel. Kui üks ei saa sõita, sokutatakse sind teisele, et kellelegi teenet teha, mis meelde jääb. Võttis mind siis peale üks vanem härrasmees uhkes S-klassi mersus. Ütles liiga kalli hinna, pakkusin madalamat. Hakkas vaidlema, vaidlesin vastu. Siis viskas ta mu autost välja, saatsin eesti keeles pikalt. Võtsin siis oma sumadani ja asjatasin tagasi lennujaama poole, kui juba uued taksojuhid – kui tuvid saia järel – mind autosse tirida üritasid. Sain ühe lapsenäoga mehega kaubale ja võtsime suuna bussijaama poole.

Kui me möödusime vihmases Peterburis kallastest, tundsin, et tegemist on hea inimesega. Uurisin ta elu kohta ja selgus, et ta oli 23- aastane kahe lapse isa. Naine tal ei töötanud ja taksojuht oli tema ainus amet. See oli see “ MIKS”, miks ta nahaalselt kui harakas mind oma autosse meelitas. Vaikselt kuulasin ta lugu. Aasta tagasi oli ta töötanud iga päev öö läbi, kuniks mingilt maalt tundis, et hakkab hulluks minema.

Lapsed vajavad raha. Aga lapsed vajavad ka isa,”

ütles ta. See oli üks tüüpiline Venemaa taksojuhi lugu. Noor isa, kes üritab noort pere üleval hoida. Eestis olid taksojuhid pigem vanemad härrasmehed. Kui me sõitsime, hakkas vihma veel kõvemini sadama. Vaikus kasvas meie peale. Järsku muutus tema nägu aga lõbusaks ja ta küsis:

Kuule, kuidas teil seal Siberis tüdrukutega on?”

*

Selline kurv kulgemine noorest isast taksojuhiga on väga tavaline. Kuna bussijuhid otsustavad ise, kas ja millal sõidavad, pidin üks päev pärast trenni takso võtma. Tavaline on, et mustad taksod passivad bussipeatustes. Vaatan siis, et üks naine astub sisse ja mõtlen, et küsin hinda. (Venemaal on tavaline, et suvalised inimesed jagavad taksot. Mäletan, et üks kord istusin kahe grusiini mamma ja arbuuside ja ühe joodikuga taksos)

Hakkasime jälle vaidlema hinna üle. Taksojuht oli tüdinenud ja väsinud näoga. Närviline ja magamata. Kuna ma ei viitsinud kuskil Krasnojarski karauulis tänaval passida, nõustusin peale minema. Palusin, et käime pangaautomaadi juurest läbi.

Tee kiiresti!”

käsutas ta mind. Kuna olin terve õhtu Murati tampinud ja tema mind oli minust igasugune agressiivsus kadunud. Lasin tal nõme olla. Autosse tagasi tulles oli õhus masendus, apaatia. Ainult kui hakkasin oma naljaka aktsendiga Stolbõ seiklustest ja veidratest juhtumitest rääkima, hakkas ta soojenema. Varsti isegi naeris. ( Tihti on venelased esmapilgul väga külmad ja ebaviisakad, aga peagi kui klikk käib, on asjalood kardinaalselt erinevad) Raadios mängis poppmuusika ja mees uuris Eesti palkade kohta. Uurisin vastu tema elu kohta. Tuli välja, et tegemist oli noore isaga, kellel kodus naine ja kahe-aastane laps. Sellepärast istus ta pärast pikka rekkajuhtimist öösiti bussijaamades. Sellepärast küsis ta viis korda üle, kas ma ikka raha välja võtsin.

Lapsed vajavad raha,” ütles ta kuidagi apaatselt. Terve aja rääkis ta kuidagi eemalt, äraolevalt.

Hakkas lund sadama. Mängis kurb vene popp muusika. Vaikisime ja millegipärast oli hinges ilus.

*

Muidugi on taksodega seiklusi tänu minu sõbrale Muratile. Muratil oli komme helistada pärast trenni viiele erinevale taksojuhile ja vaadata, kumb enne tuleb. Kui aga buss ootamatult saabus, otsustas ta kõik pikalt saata. Seletasin talle, et nii ei tehta, et inimesed teenindavad sind ja et karma maksab kätte, aga tema ei kuulanud. Sõi bussi sihvkasid ja irvitas. Muidugi helistas ta minu telefonilt ja seepärast pommitas mind vihane taksojuhtide kari. Kui buss järsku seisma ja jäi bussijuht meid poolel teel välja viskas( ta lihtsalt otsustas, et enam pole mõtet edasi sõita), ütlesin Muratile, et näe karma.


Keset udu ja miinus 35 kraadi, leidsime uue takso. Sees oli tumedama nahavärviga mees, kes samuti pärit Tadžikistanist. Nagu tavaline: unustasid Murat ja taksojuht minu ja hakkasid tuliselt oma keeles seletama. Mingilt maalt hakkasid nad vaidlema, mis mulle tundus rohkem karjumisena. Tulised sõnavõtud ja žestid. Selgus, et pühade ajal olid tariifid kahekordsed, ja see Muratile ei sobinud. Samuti ei nõustunud temaga taksojuht, kes näitas ametliku paberit selle kohta. Muidugi palus Murat seisma jääda. Aga mina ei kavatsenud -35ga kuskil karaulis passida. Eriti veel kahe euro pärast. Muidugi pidi Murat võitlema. Üks trenni kord kukkus ta kokku ja uurisin siis, et mis viga. Selgus, et tal pole väga süüa. Tihti sööb ta kaks kartulit päevas. Pikad päevad ehitusel, kust ta peagi lahkus, sest omanik ei maksnud raha. Muidugi oli taksojuhi olukord parem. Tema töötas soojas autos. Aga ma olin kindel, et ega ka tema restoranides päevast päeva ei istu. Ka tema pidi oma raha eest võitlema.

Vaata, et sa talle ainult 150 rubla annad! Meil niigi palju kulutusi!” lisas veel mu ainus sõber Siberis ja lõi ukse pauguga kinni.

Sõitsime siis tadžiki taksojuhiga kodu poole. Mängis kurb muusika ja lund hakkas sadama. Kaotasin ennast ära oma mõtetesse. Järsku äratas ta mind üles küsimusega:

Kuidas sul tüdrukutega lood on?”

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