Saturday, November 19, 2011

A day in the life of a commuter

I was on a bus Tuesday morning bound to cubao. Everybody becomes generic after some time, lifting the feet on the doorsteps, choosing where to sit, and the estrangement of profound sorts while the passing of the views outside the window blend into a blur. My brain, running loose and free, is neutralizing the effects of being sleep-deprived the night before and the squirming away from some uncomfortable distress brought a super low-temperature aircon.

There are just too many variables that make a commuter's life very vivid and exciting. There's this woman behind me who talks loudly on her mobile, nonstop, from Cabuyao to Cubao. I alternate between calm anticipation of her cellphone battery draining to the fullest and an inordinate fear that she would have a back-up phone should the cells in the battery gave up. Predictability and comfort are valid human longings. I just want to snap a light nap to cobble up myself before i got off the bus. But lo and behold, she seems perennially engaged in herself that she no longer mind the people around her, having no choice but to shoo away from our ears all the unwanted conversation she is having on the phone. Our country is in complete shambles, and here is a woman, a self-absorbed one who chose to plug herself in the barrage of all the passengers' disappointments.

In a bus bound south, i happen to sit beside a man in a three-seater behind the driver. He was sitting beside the window, above him is the aircon adjustment knob, to which, i immediately adjusted in my direction to counter the high temperature surroundings. I nearly fainted as i sit, having smelled the foul odor oozing from his armpit. Adding insult to injury, i just wished i am dead at that moment when i learned of his stinkin' breath after cracking a conversation with the driver. (So friends pala sila) I transferred to the empty two-seater across, and heaven has no beauty than a comfortable seat while traveling.

An old woman sat beside me after a stop. She adjusted the aircon knob above me, looked at me, and smiled at me. I smiled back, to give her due respect. She then untied a plastic, grope for a fork, opened a transparent bowl of sliced fruits, and offered me to partake of her meal. "Neng, kain tayo." She slightly held the bowl close to my lap. I could have grabbed her fork and picked a sliced pineapple having eyed the same bowl when i passed the supermarket an hour ago. But instead, i offered back a smile and thanked her. "Salamat po 'nay,busog pa po ako," I answered back, as i gestured to return the bowl in her lap. My heart tumbled with a love that i cannot explain. For hours i feel that the world is a fine place to be. Whatever troubles of the day i had experienced had been forgotten and put on perspective by the kind-hearted and generous old woman who sat beside me and offered me her food.

Life is so magnificently larger and broader in scope, in fact, it defies the word scope itself. As one can always find beauty in the ugliest situation, the ultimate context of life being larger and broader in scope makes any other sub context pitifully miniscule. So miniscule as the loud-talking woman behind and the foul-smelling man beside me, to a broader context of kindness in the form of the old and generous woman whose physical attributes had been withered by time, but managed to keep a heart so big to wholeheartedly share to anyone she barely know.