Conversation with a taxi driver # One hundred and something.
Taxi driver: I am a Mick Jagger specialis
TD: ANGIE! ANGIIIIIIE! Wit no lovin’ in our boats, and no money in our souls, you cannnnt say you satisfiiieeeed!
Me: Woohoo! Yeah Pak! Ayo!
TD: Apa lagi?
(TD’s handphone rings to dance music tune . Has detailed conversation in Indonesian “yah, dia orang Australi. Yah, sebentar, ya.” Passes the phone to me).
Voice on phone: Giggles
Me: Halo! Nama saya Belinda!
TD grabs the phone off me. “Ya! Dia Orang Australi! Betul!”
TD: That my wife, my istri, missus.
Me: Oh ya?
TD: Yah. She hypersex.
Me: Err? Apa?
TD: I harus leave Jogya. She di Jogya. She with laki-laki different all the time.
TD: She come to Jakarta, satu minggu. I cannot work missus. We make love, six hours, setiap hari. Still she want more. I tired, I tired missus. I say her- I cannot! No more istri! You know, hypersex?
Me: I know
TD: Maaf, ya missues for say this. Ya, she hypersex. Nanti aku nggk bisa bangun. Aduh. Saya mau cari- you know cari, missus? Find? I want find?
Me: I know.
TD: Ya, aku mau cari istri bule. Wife for bule, ya. Tidak hypersex. And tall. You know tinggi?
175 centimetres tall Me: Yes. I know.
TD: You beautiful, missus.
Me: Saya turun di sini, pak. (I get off here).
My mother calls it the family curse —the tendency to attract very very strange strangers in my every day life. When I was a little girl I used to offer old senile ladies lifts from the bus stop on a regular basis, forcing my mother to deliver on the promise. She didn’t really mind, because Mum’s got this endearing thing about being nice to old people in the hope someone will be nice to her when she’s past it. She also attracts strange people. She married my father.
Back when I lived in Sydney I had homeless people follow me home and reveal to me their life stories. If an odd-looking person got on the bus, guaranteed they’d sit next to me. Moving to Indonesia, big, white, bule me, has magnetized me ever the more. Except now half the time I don’t understand what they’re saying. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it. I love strange people.
I know I’m not alone. We strange stranger-magnets are never short of such stories. I’ve always wondered what it is about us. I’ve been told I have a bit of a naive/sincere/innocent/incompetent look about me that maybe is nonthreatening? I guess I could also be described as slightly eccentric, and so maybe they subconsciously recognize a kindred soul?