This is a tribute to everyone who patronizes public transport in their everyday lives, and the life lessons that we acquire in our daily journey.
I grew up in the province where taking the tricycle (motorcycle with a ‘sidecar’) was the most convenient mode of transport for all of us. That meant that when I reached college I didn’t know how to commute. It was definitely the start of an adventure for me – province girl goes to the big city.
Well, I’ve been in the Metro for around eight years now, and trust me I can go from one place to another without the fear of getting lost, but enough back story let’s go to the fun part – mundane things that make commuting fun and exciting; the lessons, skills, and anything under the sun, which we see, hear, feel, experience, and learn from commuting.
1. Strong as a Bamboo – The most elusive technique of all – The Balancing Act – when people see you riding the train everyone’s like, “OMG! I need to learn that.” You know how it is during rush hour, everyone’s just in a hurry to get home, or make it to work on time, with limited hand rails and not enough space to lean on the train walls. You have absolutely no choice but to stand, stand with all your might without holding on to anything or anyone. This needs a lot of focus and concentration, which only a master can do. (Results may vary especially when the train operator thinks he’s operating the Shinkaisen (Japanese Bullet train).
2. Smells Good – Morning: Kakaligo ko lang pero amoy araw na ko ( I am too lazy to translate this)
3. No Feet! – This is based on personal experience, I can’t remember which particular train line I rode, but it was early in the morning. The station was packed, and of course no one wants to be late for work/class. I don’t know how I got inside the train, but I swear I never moved nor lifted my feet to alight the platform, before I knew it, I was already inside.
4. Killer Bus – Public transport ain’t all about trains , we also have the commuter and pedestrian friendly buses (insert sarcasm).
Conductor: Where to kid?
Me: Tenement (gave money, sat down, and started to hang on for dear life)
After 10 mins – Conductor: Tenement! Anyone getting down?
Me: Oh, God I’m still alive!
Ride takes approximately 31 mins from SM North EDSA to my destination – distance: 21.2km
Although these buses are really, really dangerous, there are moments when I really appreciate those buses. They’re not always in a hurry to reach the terminal, they only do it really early in the morning, or late at night when the cops are no longer within their radar. They save me time to rest when I get to work early, or I get to see my family still awake when I happen to reach home late. Plus side is when you don’t have the time to blowdry, when you reach your destination, your hair’s already dry. (These are not aircon buses by the way).
5. What Are Traffic Lights?
Green – Go; Yellow – Gas It; Red – What?
Pedestrian: Damn It! When can I cross the street?!
6. Express Jeepney – similar to the killer bus. Some people call it “Express,” which pertains to lot of things, Express to destination or express to heaven… once you get to ride one also remember to hang on for dear life.
7. Put Your Head on My Shoulder – Back to the trains. You sit comfortably, enjoying the cool air from the train, and so does the person sitting next to you, with headphones on and resting on your shoulder like you’re good ol’ buddies. I see different reactions from the victims:
> Tsking as if the person snoring hears them
> Lifts their shoulder and the person snoozing will apologize, sleep again, try to hold their posture but can’t. So this becomes a cycle
> The good mom just lets the little girl rest on her shoulder (I’m not sure if she’s really a mom, but she sure is nice to let complete stranger rest on her shoulders.
8. Interesting Personalities:
> The Olympians – whether trying to get inside or leaving the train, they always want to get out first. Running ahead of everyone else as if there’s a prize to get right after.
> I’m Pregnant! – there’s this special area at LRT Line 1 and MRT for the pregnant, with children, and the senior citizens. But one of the most annoying truths that I discovered is this: women pretend to be pregnant so that they can sit in that special area, so disappointing, tsk tsk.
> Bookworm – crowded or not, sitting or standing, this person seems to never get their eyes away from the book.
> Tabworm – yeah if there’s a bookworm, there’s the tabworm. They’re either reading an e-book, playing candy crush, watching a movie, or whatever else you can do in a tablet.
> Sleeping Beauty – no matter what the situation, standing, sitting, or leaning these people does not cease to amuse me. I can understand sleeping while sitting, but standing and not holding on to anything? Now, that’s amazing!
> Outstanding Citizen – gives his seat to the elderly, pregnant, disabled, women with children… This person is very very rare, I’m not sure if he exists, but if he does, we need you!
> Warfreak – perhaps it’s the heat outside, or the long wait to get inside the train that creates warfreaks. They complain for every single thing and wants to make a fight with almost everyone.
Well that’s basically what I have for public transport. I see and learn a lot on my everyday journey. Perhaps this page is not enough, or maybe there are lots of things that you’d like to add.
I discovered that I have a great sense of directions because of commuting, I also learned the proper timing for crossing on dangerous roads especially if drivers don’t know how to interpret a traffic light. Your public transport story is probably more interesting than mine, but if there’s one thing that I’d like to point out is this: You need a ride to get somewhere! 🙂