The Lovely and the Not-So-Lovely Thought
Let’s begin with the not-so-lovely thought:
Have you ever experienced waiting for a bus along EDSA (or anywhere else in the metropolitan Manila area) during rush hour? If you have never been in that spot in your entire life, then I say “Lucky you!” For the rest of the populace, here’s an unpleasant reminder of what’s it like – not that you need the reminder, mind you, he he.
- You flag a bus down but the driver or the conductor doesn’t see you.
- The buses whiz by, leaving you choking on their fumes.
- You flag a bus down, the driver or the bus conductor sees you… but the bus stops far from where you’re standing.
- A bus stops right in front of you, the bus conductor tells you “maraming upuan, maraming upuan.” You gratefully get on the bus, and it turns out you’re just one of a million he has duped with the same line.
- You get on a bus and you’re the only one without a seat (aping-api ba).
- You find a seat. Unfortunately, it’s a window seat and the person occupying the aisle seat refuses to stand up so you can easily get to it.
- You find a seat on the aisle but the person by the window doesn’t want to budge an inch.
- You find a seat but it’s one that requires you to fold up your knees up to your chest – yoga in a bus, that is what it is.
- Your bus conductor is rude and surly.
- Your bus conductor has a weird sense of humor. (I have a story about just such a bus conductor here.)
- You‘re in a hurry but the bus – the very full bus – keeps stopping everywhere and keeps getting caught in tight traffic jams.
- You’re in a hurry and the bus takes a shortcut. The traffic policeman is waiting on the other side and asks the driver to pull over. The policeman scowls at the driver, gives him a lecture and goes through the act of checking the bus’ registration and the driver’s credentials. Curiously, the long process will end not with a ticket but with a “Ninoy” – if you know what I mean.
Now, for the lovely thought:
To comfort those of you who have to live in the metropolis and have to suffer this scenario everyday, here’s a lovely anecdote. This is a true story. Supposedly, the main character is a late professor from UP. Think of this when your hackles are rising – and if you have the guts, you may even try to do what the good professor did.
In the past, buses were allowed inside the university campus. The professor got on to a bus when the conductor told him “Maraming upuan.”
When he was inside, he saw that there were no more seats available. He confronted the conductor, saying “Sabi mo, maraming upuan. Asan?” (You told me there were seats available; where are they then?)
The bus conductor smirked and told him in a very supercilious tone of voice: “Marami naman talagang upuan ah; may nakaupo nga lang.” (But there are a lot of seats; they’re just occupied.)
The professor was furious, but he kept a tight rein on his temper. Near Cubao, the bus conductor asked his passengers: “May dadaan ba ng Q-Mart?” (Literal translation: Does someone need to pass by Q-Mart? Actual meaning: Does someone need to get off at Q-Mart?) The bus conductor had to ask because Q-Mart was out of the usual bus route and required a special detour.
The professor said, “Ako” (I am). So the bus conductor told the driver to take the detour. At the Q-Mart bus stop, the bus stopped and the conductor looked at the professor. The professor did not budge; it soon became apparent that he had no intention of getting off the bus.
The bus conductor was annoyed and told the professor: “Sabi mo dadaan ka ng Q-Mart? Ba’t ayaw mong bumaba?” (I thought you said you had to go to Q-Mart. Why aren’t you getting off?)
The professor said, in a supercilious tone of voice, “Sabi ko, dadaan. Di ko sinabing bababa.” (I told you I wanted to pass by Q-Mart. But I did not say I was getting off at Q-Mart.)
The bus conductor was furious, and the professor had his revenge.