Confessions of a Commuter Part 3


            Thursday 9 a.m. Mother called me to visit her condo unit at Taft, Vito Cruz. Coincidentally, I have errands to claim my contact lenses at Ideal Vision Center, SM North EDSA and to buy Jollibee across the stall, since I skipped breakfast that morning. I claimed my lenses first then proceeded with ordering my favorite cheeseburger and fries meal. Frustrated with “no-time-to-lose” agenda, I ran all the way to the FX routing from SM-North EDSA to Buendia. In the Philippines, FX is like a mini bus/shuttle using a basic van that holds up to ten people (passengers). I was the last one before the FX leaves, so I seated on the right side behind the shut gun; With the Filipino ‘spatial culture’, we hardly breathe during the ride to comply with the space of the next passenger. I have three people seated on my left.

            On my way to the road, I caught myself tempted to devour at my food. A perfect scene where my stomach growls, the aroma of the food fill the air, and my head was going dizzy. I asked myself ‘Why not?’, totally insensitive of The Rule, and so I helped myself. I stuffed my mouth with the lavishing burger and shove fries in my mouth.
 It was until three big chunks of the burger that the driver spoke to me ‘Hey miss, pa-burger ka naman. Daya na ikaw lang kumakain. Lahat dapat tayo meron’ (translation: provide us burger. It is unfair that you’re the only one eating. All of us must eat so you can be allowed to.) I just laughed it off.  Being aware with my ignorance, my ‘seatmates’ in the middle of the chair just looked at me and the burger. The driver halt and turned at me, pointed at me while saying ‘Miss sabing mamaya na iyan eh. Madaya na ikaw lang kumakain.’ (Translation: Miss I said eat it later. You’re being unfair because you’re the only one eating.) I crumpled the thing and shoot them inside the paper bag.

Good thing no one can have access to anyone’s thoughts, or they’d all hear my prayers the entire ride. And believe me it was a long, long journey accompanied with heavy traffic and interrupting halt of leaving passengers. I hoped deep within that the driver realized that I was starving, but it was my fault that I am having such bad vibes. First is my ignorance for eating inside the vehicle, but I would not be furious if he said it nicely the first, second, or nth time. Second, the traffic is taking me so long. I have to arrive Taft as soon as possible because my mom needs me at that moment. Third, I don’t get why Filipinos enjoy ‘little space’ in public. I believe that space is kind of personal. I don’t want to commute so much because rude passengers squeeze me inside anyway. Fourth, how could I not defend myself? I’m such a weenie, I say.

One by one, passengers get off the ride. Deep inside I hoped that I wasn’t the last passenger because that would be awfully awkward for me and the driver, but then again, my wish didn’t come true. It was until under Pedro Gil station at the LRT 1 that people inside the FX left, except for me. I kept myself calm and collected, and tried my best to pick the right battles. When I reached my destination, I ordered the driver to stop the car. He didn’t listen. With the look on his face, obviously he was trying to piss me off. I was but then I asked again, “para [STOP].” He dropped me off two streets away from my target point. I slammed the door hard because he deserved it.

There are things I have learned from this encounter. One is people like manong driver are like the usual people. These people want them to be nakakalamang or superior, having more benefits than the rest of the people but they don’t want the idea of having others take over. Meaning, if someone’s “dominating” them in some way, they would rather prefer being “equal” with the rest of the group because that would be unfair. Two, I realized I was wrong for being insensitive. I ate inside a car just because I was hungry and I didn’t know any better way to carve off my hunger. I was also ignorant to the rule. That just like mini shops, FX is a “private ownership” in which I paid for only the ride. Three is I have to defend myself. I stayed quiet the entire ride because I thought I was being classy, but in the first place, skipping breakfast is not ‘classy’ as it sounds. Instead of stating my needs, I shut up to gain instant peace; external peace, but internal war. If I state my condition, they would have given me the excuse to eat. If I did pass out if they didn’t, then they would bring me to the hospital, which would be worse.

From then on, I stopped riding FX. Just kidding. Only to that driver, of course. I told that story to my mom and had the best of my expectations, “she told me how stupid I was and should have known better.” Sorry mom, but you’re not really helping me. I needed a hug that time but as expected, I’ll get your ten-day speech. I told my story to my twin sister who is my best friend. She asked me if I was okay, hugged me and offered me water. Isn’t she best person next to me, right? Anyway,  she told me, “If I were in that situation, as soon as I reach my destination I would say ‘Ikaw bahala sa akin kapag may masamang nangyari sa akin dahil di mo ako pinakain nung gutom ako, ah [you will be responsible to me if something bad happens to me because you did not allow me to eat when I was hungry] and I would be the go out the car and never shut the door. Dramatic exit counts as the best revenge, sis!” And I smiled.
Confessions of a Commuter Part 3 Confessions of a Commuter Part 3 Reviewed by Michelle Tan on 9:01 PM Rating: 5

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