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I don't know how to drive. My old boyfriend, Stephen, attempted to teach me a couple of times, but we almost crashed into a tree. Thus, came the abrupt end of my driving lessons. Thus, I commute all over the Metro whenever I have assignments where I need to leave the house, or pick up groceries, or do my other errands.
Truth be told, commuting is more convenient and cost-effective. I don't have to worry about finding and paying for parking space, I don't have to shell out P40 to traverse the SLEX, I don't have to add gasoline to my growing list of expenses. And since I am directionally-challenged (read: I often get lost, I find it easier to ask people what jeepney/bus route I am supposed to take and where to get off instead of trying to figure out the maze that is Makati's one-way streets. Besides, walking to one loading/unloading point is currently my main form of exercise. So, yes, commuting does not bother me much, even when it rains.
Well, let's amend that to "commuting should not bother me much". What gets my goat are the creeps and pests that I have to share public transport with. If you have been on a jeep, a bus, or an MRT ride, you'd know who I'm talking about. They are the ones who do not respect personal space — actually, they are the ones who do not respect anything. Although there are fellow passengers who can make a metro ride pleasant (they smile, helpful in pointing me to the right direction, apologize when they bump into me), there are more of those who can make commuting an eye-rolling ordeal. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. The aqua-phobe. You rush out of your house to meet and appointment, hair still slightly damp from a shower, fresh clothes that smell of detergent or fabric softener. Then, you happen to sit beside him — the guy who smells like he has not taken a bath since the Cory administration. What's worse, he raises his arm to hold on to the estribo and a whiff of his sour pits can make you want to gag and hurl breakfast out the window. You hold your breath for the entire ride and pray to the high heavens that his smell does not stick to your clothes or your hair. Worse luck if it happens to be raining that day, as the bus windows are closed so there is no chance for even a whiff of fresh air.
2. The scent-sations. The opposite of the aqua-phobe, these people practically bathe in (cheap) perfume. Again, you are left hoping against hope that their particular fondness for designer-scent knockoffs does not have an effect on how you will smell at the office. One day, I would like to gather all these guys and explain how certain colognes and splashes can clash with strong scented deodorant and whatever greasy hair product they are using, and all of these are affected by body chemistry. In short — sweat and the wrong scent product will not have hot women chasing you down the street. And no amount of perfume will cover up for the fact that you have not bathed in days (see number 1). Girls can be equally guilty. I call them walking hoochies of kalachuchi.
3. The neat "freaks". You brush past them as you grab a seat, and they immediately, vigorously, and very conspicuously brush any item of their clothing that you happen to graze. They even give you the evil eye and tut-tut as they do it. Okay, we get it, you like being clean. But wait. Aren't you the same guy who threw out lanzones peels through the window a few minutes ago? What I don't get is why people want to appear so spanking clean and yet don't give a second thought to polluting the environment. When I encounter hypocrites like these, there's one thing I like to do — step on their feet really hard on my way out of the vehicle.
4. The leaner. This guy is oft present when you are commuting in the early morning or late evening. He dozes off during the ride and his head and shoulders droop towards your direction. That's okay if the guy is a cutie. But more often than not, it's either creep number 1 or number 2. Worse, the guy can also be drunk and drooling. There are those who even feign sleep just to be able to "score". This is a good time to get pushy. Use maximum force if necessary.
5. The broadcaster. Yes, sir and ma'am. We want to hear the blow by blow account of how your son or daughter in the Middle East is doing and how much the blessed child is sending you every month. We want to hear all those funny anecdotes that the OFW shares about their Arabo bosses. Oh, we, the rest of the passengers, are so proud of your kid. The problem is, you are not talking to us — You are talking to someone on your cell phone. I would like to have you know, as long as "we" are having this "conversation" that talking loudly on a cell phone has been ranked the most annoying mobile phone habit, and that in the US, a woman on a train was arrested for disorderly conduct because of it. She was nicknamed the "Choo-choo chatter".
6. The lap band. I wonder why, a woman who can afford to have her hair cellophaned and have meticulously-applied French tips on their nails will sacrifice her children's comfort by having more than one kid on her lap. These kids, in an effort to get comfortable squirm this way and that, more often than not, hitting the poor sap beside them with their shoes.
7. The perv. Yes, these are legs. I use them for walking. You have legs too. Why don't you stare at your own legs?
8. The deadma. One of the best examples of Pinoy bayanihan is the way we help each other out by passing the jeepney fare of the farthest passengers onto the outstretched driver's hand, and then pass the sukli back to the person. Of course, there are those who make no effort to help at all. Dear deadma: I am assuming that you ride a jeepney every day. So you know the role you need to play when you are seated nearest the driver. If you do not want to be bothered, do not park your butt there but move to the other side. Better yet, why not ride on the roof? That way, you are sure to be left alone.
9. The foot soldier. Of all the irritating people mentioned above, this one takes the cake. In what known universe is it okay for anyone to slip off his tsinelas in order to put your wiggling toes through the slots of the bus seat in front of him? That not only smacks of disrespect for the concept of personal space, it is downright disgusting. I remember a long provincial ride where someone did exactly that. It haunts my memory, and nauseates me until now.
Why do I still do it then? Well, aside from what I said about it being more economical (and the fact that I don't drive), it is also my little way of trying to help the planet. Mass commuting lessens the amount of toxic gases in our atmosphere. If I could do something to help kids breathe easier in the future, then I am all for it. Besides, unlike my friends who have to concentrate while driving their own cars, I get to sit back and (somehow) enjoy the ride.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HerWord or BusinessWorld.
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To add, I find the "non-movers" (or those who refuse to move to accommodate other passengers) super annoying! I'm always tempted to push them off the jeep. >:)
Posted by A on Monday, 10.1.12 @ 17:43pm
oh, yeah, i forgot those! :-) and another one too -- the walking shampoo commercial. they let their hair whip in the wind, right smack on your face. i once told the girl beside me,"miss, hindi naman masarap ang buhok mo. bakit mo pinapakain sa akin?"
Posted by maan on Tuesday, 09.25.12 @ 22:29pm
You forgot some people:
1. Scooter Perv / Possible Pickpocket - the fellow commuter who keeps scooting closer to you and/or touching your leg with their leg, even if the jeep is almost empty and you keep scooting away!
2. Space Invader - insists on taking up enough space for two people by sitting diagonally until the last possible moment, while forcing new passengers to squeeze into tighter spots around or across them.
3. Sweat Sandwich Makers - two people larger than you who squeeze you between them, wedging your shoulders against their sweaty armpits - OR - the person who squashes you against the driver's seat, which has a smelly (and sometimes damp) shirt draped over it. If people at your destination avoid standing next to you, you'll know why. :s
Posted by Kat on Tuesday, 09.25.12 @ 13:34pm
Nice image!!! :DDD
Posted by Ria on Tuesday, 09.25.12 @ 13:15pm
I'm the neat freak. I avoid holding onto the bars. I do express my disgust when I have to hold those bars. I also hate it when I have to rub skin (wet or stinky) with people. I hate it when people in the MRT crowd at the doors when the middle part of the train has lots of space. I also hate it when these women in the train act like they're the only ones having a hard time. Kung ayaw mo naiipit, mag-taxi ka!
I hate the public transport system of the Philippines. I hate it!!!!!!!!