On Saturday evening I took a taxi into town to meet a friend for dinner. After a delicious dinner, around 10 pm, I hailed a cab to take me home.
Recently I've started taking the front passenger seat if it's available. I hate having to scoot over when I'm in the back and the driver picks up more passengers. So even though it feels a bit familiar, I sit in the front if possible.
We had only gone about a block when the driver was hailed by a man standing on the corner. It wasn't obvious to me until the man was already in the taxi and we were on our way that he was drunk. I'm not sure the taxi driver had realized it either.
The drunk yapped at the driver for the entire trip, calling him "Tio", and other familiar names. He talked mostly to himself because I was not going to answer and get into a conversation with him, and the taxi driver just grunted responses to him now and then. "La verdad, no se" (honestly, I don't know). I don't know what the taxi driver said he didn't know, because the slurred speech of the drunk made it hard to catch everything he was asking. And it's not like what he was saying was anything that would make me hang on every word anyway. I did eavesdrop, simply because I'm like that, but it was rather dull.
I was left with the impression that the taxi driver was wishing he hadn't picked up the drunk, but the drunk was smart - he prepaid, so there he sat, alone in the back, talking to himself, and seeming to enjoy himself.
Yesterday afternoon we were driving along the coast and passed a man carrying a heavy load of planks. The man yelled at us as we passed, so Miguel stopped the cart and asked the guy where he was going. "Adelante" was about all Miguel could get out of him - "Ahead".
The man greeted me in English and tossed the odd English word at me as he yapped at Miguel. Miguel quickly realized the guy was drunk, so tried not to get dragged into a conversation with the man, and again, I sat silently and stayed out of it. I don't enjoy speaking with drunks, I don't enjoy watching drunks, and I don't enjoy trying to avoid interaction with them. I never quite trust them, even though most drunks I've seen here seem happy and friendly (there are exceptions, I know).
Finally we got to the corner where the drunk wanted off, so we stopped and let him unload his planks and go on his merry way. I asked Miguel if he knew the guy. Yes, he did - he is a cement mason, a bricklayer. And Miguel informed me he was drunk, as if I hadn't noticed. Many bricklayers drink from Saturday afternoon until Monday afternoon - it's their free time, and getting drunk is their routine, their release from a week of heavy toil in heat and humidity. If I had to do their work, I might drink too.