Jeepney Weird 101

Lately I’ve been taking more jeepney rides than taxi rides.  Why?  Way cheaper.  And since there’s a need for a lifestyle change {or more specifically, a budget change}, I’ve subscribed to riding in jeepneys than hailing a cab though the latter is always too tempting for me.

Just to give you a comparative “study” of the great fare difference, this is how it costs when taking a jeep vis-a-vis taking a cab to that part of Talamban.

Jeepney fare from Echavez to Petron Nasipit, Talamban – P9.00 at the cheapest.  Some drivers don’t give me change whenever I give them P10.00 or P11.00 like I did today.

Taxi fare from Echavez to Petron Nasipit, Talamban – minimum fare which means not including the traffic jam factor:  estimated fare = P140-150.00

In my almost two to three weeks of riding a jeep to and fro somewhere in Talamban, I’ve seen and heard people from all walks of life.  I’ve fashionista jeepney-mates {that’s what I will call the ones I take the jeepney with}, noisy, brash and rude jeepmates, the cute guy with the boy-next-door look or the artsy gutsy type of guy who always seems to look mysterious.  Then there are the middle-aged women lugging their heavy plastic bags filled with vegetables and, sometimes, meat fresh from Carbon.  Or the yayas with the kids in their care in tow dragging their humongous bags behind them.

Then there was this weird thing I saw last night.  Maybe to me it was the weirdest incident I’ve ever seen but maybe to the others in that jeepney it was just something out of the ordinary.  Their eyes did not even blink when it happened but I could not hide the shock and the surprise on my face.

As I boarded the 62C jeep last night, a girl across me looked at me and I looked back.  I then looked at the kinda cute guy beside her but there was something unsettling about her.  Too much makeup and a too tight blouse.  Too many excesses.

My gaze went next to the girl seated beside her, near the entrance of the jeepney.  She had a haunted, glazed look on her face that I could not explain and something about her – to be honest about it – really frightened me.  Her straight, relaxed hair was plastered on her head and some strands covered her forehead and there was just an air of anger or something dark in her expression.

The girl with the too tight blouse leaned forward and for a moment it dawned on me that they were a couple.  I was shocked.  I tried to hide it by looking away.  It was the first time I saw something like that so closely.  Like across me.

The jeep was already infront of Gaisano Countrymall, its driver calling out to the people at the jeepney stop when suddenly everything happened so fast.

The girl with the plastered hair suddenly puked and threw up on her left side, her vomit hitting a man in his 40s standing near the jeep, trying to get in.  I was so aghast and did not know how to react.  But what was worse was that the people across and beside me did not even react visibly.  Maybe they were like me too – trying to hide my shock.

I looked at the man who had been “hit” and our eyes met and I saw that he knew I sympathized with him.  She did not even apologize or acknowledge him.  She just kept right on looking at us across her as if daring us to say or do something.

I felt like a coward for not rebuking her or for not saying something.  My fear of being attacked by a weird person like her overcame the urge to say something.  As for my jeepney mates, silence was the order of the day.  I don’t know if it was just nothing to them or they, like me, also pretended to ignore it.

My mom said, when I told her about it today, that maybe she was an addict or a drunk and that the ones beside me might have already known that fact and did not want to interfere.

I was just grateful the man didn’t get the full brunt of her “puke”.  But for me the whole thing really weirded me out and scared me.  I have had a lot of amusing jeepney stuff happen almost every day but that was the first time I encountered something gross and upsetting as that incident and without remorse at that.

So there, this probably isn’t something shocking to you, my dear reader, but to me it was. 🙂

Snappin’ as I wait…

This season I am learning to wait.  I’m not talking about marriage {though I’m praying and waiting for that too} but waiting everyday.

Since I’m in a “new routine” in this time of my life, I’ve learned to wait for people I need to meet.  Learning to wait beyond my comfort zone.

And as I wait, I get to see different people each with their own stories to tell, paths taken and full schedules.

There’s the jeepney that’s always in a hurry.  Biyaheng-langit {Heaven-bound because its speed looks like it just wants to crash and burn} we call them.  Almost as if a cop or a rocket launcher is after them.  Always in a hurry.

A sharp contrast though to the rushing jeepneys are the passersby walking  – not on the sidewalk but on the main thoroughfare – without a care if the rushing jeepneys bump them or not.  Okay, I’m exaggerating.  Man, sidewalks were meant for walking.  But in this area where I often stand and wait, the sidewalk has become the hawker’s stall – where students from the public school buy a candy or two, a pack of junk food after class.

It’s an interesting scene.  There have been many times that I wished I had a point-and-shoot or a DSLR to snap photos of the varying facial expressions that pass me by every afternoon as I wait.

Most of them walk by – mothers with toddlers, a teacher in a hurry, two or three students on their way home.  A few smile.  Some look at me strangely as I go about taking pictures of the cars, shadows, the leaves and everything.  The picture-taking is probably a sign of boredom to them. 😉

But for me I am learning that one must enjoy the time of waiting and maximize what I can learn and get out of it.

I snap away.  I read an e-book on my phone.  I do some last minute reviews.  Once, I talked to the strangers who offered me a seat.  They probably took one glance at my heels and offered me the plastic chair.  The topiary and the beautiful potted plants catch my eye and I can’t help but feel happy and blessed, wondering how uniquely and intricately they were made by a loving God.

I continue to wait until I see the familiar car come out of the driveway and I rush into the car happy to have the waiting over.

But waiting time was surely not in vain. 🙂