If you cannot afford a car, you probably commute to work like me. It is also probably the worst part of your day. According to my boss, a world-renowned architect and urban planner, the average Filipino spends 1000 hours a year in traffic. Hours you could have spent with family, making money, or solving world hunger.
With the traffic situation being forecasted to become much worse, I opted to look at the lighter side of things and discover the things I learned in the 1000 hours a year I have been commuting to work.
1. Survival of the fastest
Imagine waking up very early on a Monday morning feeling mighty confident that you will finally beat everyone else to the bus stop. You find your confidence quickly go up in smoke as you witness what seems like scene from World War Z, only to realize it is actually a throng of commuters pining for the same elusive ride. Then, all of a sudden, another bus appears and it is almost full. Dearie, this is the time to make a run for it! Seriously, this game is most unforgiving to the slowpokes and high-heels-wearing fashionistas.
2. “Nut up or shut up”
I really wish there is a system where people line up and get on the bus one person at a time. It is not that complex, right? The reality, however, is that commuters seem to have a thirst for blood as they get ready to push and shove anyone to get inside. It is a potential disaster, really. So if you’re not ready to nut up, there is also an alternative that requires a certain degree if cunning. Just relax and go with the flow. You will be inside the bus before you know it.
3. Lithmus test for chivalry
This, I believe, is why men think we are not quite right in the head. We scream gender equality and yet get overly annoyed when a guy does not willingly give his seat for us. Ladies, it is a different day and age now. Gender does not dictate who gets a seat and who doesn’t. I think age should. Offer a seat to an old person or to a kid (or a person traveling with a kid). I think physical condition should. Offer a seat to a pregnant woman or a PWD. And for whatever reason a guy offers you a seat, please look him in the eye and say , “Thank you.”
4. You will not die if you go at the back of the bus.
If you just hopped on the bus and all the seats are taken, please do not be afraid to stand further at the back of the bus. You are actually doing yourself a favor. Victims of pick-pockets are usually the ones standing near the entrance.
5. Descending from a bus, a different ball game
Getting off the bus is equally as hard as getting in one, especially when it is jampacked. Regardless of where you are sitting or standing, you should start making your way through a crowded bus as soon as you are one block away from your bus stop. Prepare to say “Excuse me” a hundred times, smiling is optional. Use your bag as a shield/crowd-dispersal device.
Commuting to work may have made me hate Mondays. However, it is truly the spice of life. Every travel is an adventure, where those who do not possess the necessary skills and knowledge falter.
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