I have a fondness for public transportation, Manila-style. With more than twelve years’ worth of experience in roughing it in the streets of the metro, I have closely observed the pro’s of enduring reduced personal space when sharing a vehicle with a group of total strangers.
Back in college, the daily commute between Manila and UP Diliman helped me sharpen a couple of practical skills that I still keep in my arsenal. Aside from rationally determining the best seat inside a jeepney, I’ve become adept in flicking an MRT card inside the slot and perfectly timing my “para” so the driver will stop precisely when and where I want him to. Muscle memory and timing, people.
I have always singled out the jeepney as my favorite mode of public transport. Buses are too loud and impersonal, while the MRT and LRT are usually too crowded and therefore plain nasty. On the contrary, my jeepney rides tend to be more memorable. The noxious pollution notwithstanding, they’ve given me much needed pauses and ironically, have become personal quiet times. How else would I have had the chances to rack my brain and come up with design concepts for my design plates and points for my papers?
The jeepney ride is still lightyears away from being ideal. Like in any romantic affair however, one must also be willing to accept the other’s flaws. Irritating and causes my blood to boil sometimes, but it’s all part of the fun, ain’t it? During one of my recent rides, I had more than enough time to come up with my Top Five Jeepney Ride Pet Peeves, and I’m sharing them with you now.
In no particular order:
1) Mindless girls with wild, wild hair – “Dear Ate, I don’t care how terrific you think your hair smells or how awesome you think your unnaturally stick-straight hair is, I guarantee you that under no circumstance will it ever come remotely close to being gastronomically acceptable. Put a hand on it, and stop trying to feed it to me.”
2) Pushers and Squeezers – “Seatmate, keep your arms and elbows to yourself please. You’re not seriously trying to box me out, are you? And you know, there’s really nothing we can do if there’s simply not enough room to accommodate your full butt. I know how hard it is to balance on just one cheek, but we all have our days. So suck it. Quit squeezing your buttocks in, ‘coz it’s not going anywhere.”
3) Sweaty Joe’s – “Hi dude. I know this is me being rather mean, and I know it’s not your fault. But I honestly would rather sit beside someone dry, especially since it’s only 9am. Just saying.”
4) Loud and Proud – “Hey manong! How cool naman your taste in music. So bad ass. Kaya kelangan talaga marinig ng lahat ng tao sa kalye, no? Di lang ears ko, pati sahig at mga hawakan nagva-vibrate. Wag, wag mong hinaan. Sobrang lupet e. ‘Steeg!”
5) I hate getting stepped on. It hurts, and it messes up my shoes. Period.
See how much passion I have in riding jeepneys? Stirs a well of emotions, I tell you. Haha.
How about you? How do you feel about buses and trains and tricycles and pedicabs? Just so we’re clear, taking the cab still doesn’t count as commuting in my book.