Sat Oct 22 00:05:33 SAST 2016

Winter's seating arrangements are back-to-front

By unknown | May 22, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The best place to sit in a taxi during winter is the back seat.

If you are lucky, there might be comfortably padded people who will keep you warm until you reach the Noord taxi rank.

The back seat is not ideal in summer because of the extreme heat generated by the squashed conditions. In summer you cannot breathe, sweat runs down your back and you sort of stick to your neighbour. It is very uncomfortable.

But in the winter months, the back seat is lovely.

Your generously endowed neighbours generate enough heat to warm you up.

Be careful not to get into the back if there are a couple of skinny guys or girls. You need someone who can block the icy draft coming in through the ill-fitting windows.

The seats near the door are not ideal because you have to constantly open the door for other passengers. It is torture to get in and out of the taxi when people want to get off. Just when you warm up a bit, you have to climb out into the cold to make way for someone who wants to get off.

I did not realise the hidden benefits of the back seat until an extremely obnoxious passenger rudely pushed me aside and got on the taxi. She had jumped the queue just so she could make a beeline for the back seat.

I was going to complain about her conduct and her rudeness when someone told me that this woman "was rushing for the heaters".

Generally people are well-mannered in taxi queues. There is a certain etiquette that rules the behaviour of the passengers.

Women with babies are allowed to stand at the front. They are allowed to jump the queue so that their tiny bundles do not catch a cold.

I find this a good idea because the mothers usually carry many cumbersome bags when travelling with their children.

The cranky children also cry a lot, making quite a racket.

As with everything in South Africa, there are women who try to put one over on us by jumping the queue with a tall seven-year-old child.

If they are questioned they claim O gola ka speed, meaning the child is still very young, he just mushroomed overnight.

The disabled also do not queue, which does not need an explanation.

But now there is a new species, the widows, who also jump the line. They are supposed to sit in the back so that they do not pass on their bad luck.

Widows these days wear all sorts of clothes and colours and it is a bit difficult to know if they really are in mourning or are wearing an Isishweshwe dress.

The same goes for those who wear the apostolic dress to mourn. You cannot be sure if they are wearing church uniforms or what.

In the end many who do not qualify con their way to the front of the queue. I suspect the taxi commuters will not be accommodating this winter.


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