Thursday, August 24, 2006

My latest love-hate relationship

It is an ordinary weekday and I leave home early for my Math class; 6:30 it has to be, unless I want to get caught in The Morning Traffic Jam and burst an artery even before I see the bloodcurdling face of my adorable Math professor.

So I take the jeep that would take me to the nearest MRT station. I pay the discounted fare, but the driver would not believe I am a student. Students do not wear shorts and rubber thongs to school, he argues. I patiently explain to him that I almost always wear them to school, and guess what, Manong, there are now universities that do not require students to wear uniforms. Our conversation, rather, our earth-shaking debate, ensues, but in the end, I flash him my ID and he shuts up.

Inhale. Exhale. I do not need The Morning Traffic Jam to make my day, after all.

The jeep drops me off at Guadalupe where I will be taking the MRT. I line up at the station to buy a ticket, but first I have to figure out the ends of the long, tangled queues. And of course there are those homos who have an uncanny ability to cut through lines. After struggling against these people, I finally find myself inside the train, my face wedged between the underarm of someone who has been avoiding water and soap lately and the hairy chest of someone reminiscent of Undertaker.

While my senses reconstruct its definition of ‘sour’, I hallucinate. In my mind, I see the MRT bigwigs relaxing in a pool of cash, their hands holding goblets of wine, their pinkies sticking out daintily. I wonder why I think of that.

At Quezon Avenue station, I get off the train, and take a jeep that would finally bring me to UP. Thankfully, I do not have to go through another encounter with a jeep driver, as UP is already near and jeep drivers in the area no longer find the sight of a student in shorts and rubber thongs strange.

I arrive at UP, at long last. At around 5:00 pm, though, after classes and my work at the university paper, I suffer everything again—this time, in reverse: a jeep ride, the MRT, a jeep ride again.

Only when I arrive home and writing in my journals do I start to forgive all the troubles of commuting. See, I have always been under the illusion that I am a writer, and these traumatic experiences have always provided good material for my attempts at crafting short stories. I may be mad when I reckon with difficult drivers, smelly underarms, and MRT bigwigs in a pool of cash, and I may seem mad, too, when I write about it. But deep inside, I am learning to laugh at the foibles of the human character, including my own.

I write—foisting perhaps my (mis)adventures of the day to some character in my story, or maybe better, using Mr. Stinky-Underarms himself as a character. I don’t know, but it somehow makes me see the pleasurable trauma of commuting.

The next day, I will take the road again, and commit blasphemy as I swear to the heavens each time I endure the tortures of commuting once more.

As of the moment though, I write, and smile. ■


Anonymous said...

We share the same sentiments about the MRT. Once, I felt a boner from a guy behind my back. tsk.

Victor Gregor said...

haha. a boner, huh. well that depends, i guess. haha. btw, are you the same "trainor" guy? : )

let me have your URL so i could link you.