The cellphone has reared its head again in the taxis. I am not sure whether people think that the other commuters automatically shut their ears when someone answers their phone.
There is an e-mail joke doing the rounds about a moegoe who called his sweetheart about supper.
The conversation goes:
Moegoe: Hello lovey, just cook pap only today.
Sweetheart: Maar why?
Moegoe: Because I am bringing home a pizza.
I have seen several versions of this e-mail, which place the moegoe in Polokwane, Zeerust in North West or Randfontein.
I can understand Randfontein being made fun of. There was once a pop song that lamented the lack of pretty women in Randfontein.
The story goes that men from Randfontein were forever on the trains to the East Rand looking for wives and sweethearts. It seems that Randfontein lends itself easily to ridicule.
But back to the scary stories we hear in taxis. There was one woman who spoke in a loud voice, actually shouting into the phone and caught everyone's attention.
She was speaking to a cousin in Lady Frere about their grandfather's funeral. She barked that no one was to spend the funeral society's money until she arrived home.
She named four or five suspects who would run away with the grandfather's burial money. She threatened to sort everyone out when she got to Lady Frere or "Igama lam' andingu Mavis" (or else my name is not Mavis).
The other commuters tried, but failed not to listen to this loud harangue about her relatives' thieving habits. We were unwillingly drawn into a family drama.
A young girl seated next to me wanted me to tell her what the protocol was for such calls. She wanted to know if we could ask questions about umzala Luvuyo and Bhecezi.
Were these cousins the grandfather's caregivers? How often did Mavis go home to relieve them and take over looking after the old man? Did the grandfather give Mavis specific instructions about the disposal of his remains?
I told the young girl that the conversation had nothing to do with us, but I was also consumed with curiosity about this heated topic.
Another cellphone conversation concerns a young man who is always "catching up" with female friends in the taxi.
We will hear a particular girl's name for a few weeks and then that name will be replaced by another. Sometimes an old name crops up again to confuse us further.
I am sure I am speaking for other commuters when I say we hate listening to other people's love pleadings, angry messages and inane conversations.
We are trapped in the taxi with them and cannot get out or avoid hearing these snippets of their lives. I think someone should write a book about cellphone etiquette in taxis and everywhere else for that matter. This is not on.