Have you ever experienced sitting next to someone inside a jeepney, who has got her mouth close to your ear while she is talking loudly to another party on her phone? I hope not. However, for many of us everyday commuters, born to inherit the scourge of public transport, this is a torturous everyday reality. To add, because we generally are a timid and decent people, a direct confrontation would be deemed not worth it, so that the end result of this would be… chill.
Que sera sera.
I was actually quite confused. Mixed emotions of how-dare-you, the-gall-of-this *!#+**, and let-it-go and breathe deeply, alternately ran through my head. They must have shown on my face clear as day, because I espied the sympathetic stares of the passengers sitting in front of us. But really now, already-resigned to keeping a tight rein on my feelings, I sulkingly looked away, as her voice, like a send-to-all e-mail, bansheed its way into my head.
I have just come to realize that I’ve written about this a long time ago. So what? Nothing has changed, people. I should maybe like join the bandwagon of idiots who tweeted that they will leave the country because they were disappointed with the election results, only my reason for doing so would be to search for a quieter ride. Or stay at home. Or buy a car.
But, in spite of all these appealing possibilities, that is precisely it, whatever you do, it’s plain-old coping (which may be good to some degree), but not necessarily dealing with the problem. Should every poor commuter be held hostage to the shotgun blast, one-way ranting of another fellow passenger? Whatever happened to respecting others?
Of course I know that what we are is molded largely by culture: how we were raised, where we hail from, influences of school, religion and people we’ve interacted with, etcetera. In this context, what particular page of that tome of experience is the little briefer on empathy? It may all seem funny when one hears about similar situations happening to other people, but the fact that it happens, however innocently, is really nothing but a sure gateway to graver things we could eventually become de-sensitized to, like other abuses and such. Shall we then look away?