An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

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Location: Philippines

Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

21 August 2015

To the streets

After more or less nine years of driving a car, I am back to taking public transport. The change is required both by practicality and my psychiatric condition; traffic in Metro Manila has been getting worse, and I have the vestigial remains of a driving-related anxiety which has plagued me for two long and excruciating months. Because of these, in order to cope, I have transformed myself into a commuter.

So far it has been relatively easy, and the ease is of course facilitated by my move to a place that is much closer to the office. Now I carry an umbrella in my bag. Now I wear rubber boots when it's raining. Now I walk to where public transport is, and join the horde that battle the streets to get where they need to go everyday. Now I am one of those who say, "Bayad po," and , "Sa tabi lang." It's not particularly difficult, but it's not easy, either. The Metro Manila commuter is, I daresay, the new salt of the earth.

There isn't much contact with other people when one drives a private car. Most of the time it's just Daft Punk, America, and me. I can make and take calls. I wear a Bluetooth headset. I use Waze. I talk to myself sometimes. I let my mind wander a bit, especially when stuck in traffic. Though I still traverse the same streets as public transport, it's still an entirely different plane.

As a commuter I have to be alert always, and I have to keep my phone on silent and out of sight. I dont bring my valuables. I don't need Waze. And I dare not listen to music for fear that it will distract me. I am one of the horde now, walking, taking rides, walking again, and taking another ride, until I get to where I need to be. It's a very earthy kind of existence, one with its own norms and demarcations that I am still in the process of learning. I traverse a different kind of plane this way.

[Image credits: 12]


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