Wondering While Wandering
By: Hala Alsafadi
After a long day at work at AMIDEAST, I and my best buddy, Khalid, walked down the street to stop a cab. By hook or by crook stopping a taxi to Tal Al Hawa can be a pain in the neck. Therefore, Khalid always makes sure that I get in a cab before he leaves home, which is so damn sweet of him
Anyways, he did actually stop me a cab. Once I looked at the driver I was like “ Khalid, I believe this guy is high!” He told me not to get in the cab and he would stop me another one. However, I was really tired and didn’t actually like the idea of waiting God knows how many more minutes to get a ride home. I got in the taxi and I wasn’t shocked to realize that the cab driver has some issues.
The moment I got in the cab, the driver started cursing out Gaza. He complained about the horrible situation he has been living in for the past 5 years. His words made me want to look at his face. I wanted to guess how old that guy was, just out of curiosity. Well, it seemed like he is in his twenties, yet the amount of wrath in his speech indicates a man in his forties. He kept on talking and talking while I was thinking about every word he was uttering. He talked about how he works 24-7 trying to make some good money so that he can get married, however, his effort seems to be in vain. This “ young guy” is a son of an unemployed father, his dad used to work in Israel before the Intifada. His mother is disabled and in a continuous need for medicines. Moreover, he has five young siblings, he refuses to let them work so that they can focus on their education. He is the man of his family that takes on the responsibility of getting the money to keep his own family surviving. Consequently, all his attempts to save up some money failed. I felt so sorry for the guy as the amount of pain he has been holding inside is easily sensed. The way he just wanted anyone to get in the car desperately to let out all of those things that are driving him nuts made me realize how much stories need to be told from Gaza.
My cell phone rang, it was Khalid who wanted to make sure that I was ok and I got home “safe” since we had thought that the driver is “high”. I told him that the driver is fine and that I was 2 minutes away from my house. My little chat with my buddy interrupted the driver’s story. He stopped talking and turned on a desperate song sung by a depressing singer, Mustafa Kamel. Hearing the song, I started smiling. Even though it is not really funny, I find it funny how I more often than not hear that song while I am in any cab.
Finally, I got to my house with a new story to tell. A story which is certainly shared by many Gazan guys due to the bad economic situation we live in, noting that more than 70% of the Gazans are unemployed.
I wonder if the driver is still wandering and wondering in his cab till now? Did he share his story with some one else? Or did he figure that Mustafa Kamel’s song would help him out more than us?