I had a truly fabulous day exploring some incredible malls with a fellow American here in Thailand and I’d love to tell you about it.
But the evening really belongs to my taxi driver and his nervous laugh.
If I were ranking People I Don’t Want Laughing Nervously While Working, I think taxi drivers fall right under heart surgeons and airline pilots. I place so much trust in this random stranger to not get into a car accident and kill me. And in Thailand, where traffic rules are really more of guidelines, I place double the trust.
My taxi driver tonight would speed up abruptly, or slam on the breaks, and make a sort of “whooooeeeshhhh” noise right after. At which point I would laugh nervously. And then he would laugh nervously. And then we would narrowly avoid hitting someone on a motorcycle.
About ten minutes into the drive, my taxi driver abruptly pulled over and said: “GPS no good.”
Except I did not understand him at first and looked out the window in bafflement. I informed him this was not my destination, nor anywhere near it. He repeated “GPS no good” about six times before I finally understood and pulled up the destination on my own phone and handed it over.
“I speak a little English,” he then informed me, beaming. “GPS no good.”
“Are you having a good day?” I asked conversationally.
He ignored me. Several other attempts at communication – all ignored – left me convinced his “little English” only involved GPSs.
He did have much to say about GPSs. He informed me his GPS came from Thailand. I had Apple?
I pointed out that my phone is a Samsung. (Probably. It was the cheapest smartphone I could find.)
He nodded knowingly. Japan. Good phones, good GPSs. (We narrowly avoided hitting another biker.)
Another problem presented itself. My phone showed the distance in miles and feet, not meters! Eh, he shrugged it off. Close enough.
Then my phone dimmed. This freaked him out. It went dark! But he did not know the words to say it went dark, so he kept contrasting the dim screen of my phone to the bright light coming from his.
By the time we reached my destination, I counted 6 motorcyclist who barely made it past us with their lives.
* insert nervous laughter *