I have been a commuter all my life. I prefer it that way, it’s easier in my pocket and to the environment (really!). With that, I have seen a lot of happenings inside the bus, the jeepney, the train, the plane and whatever public utility vehicle I have used.
I believe that there is an unspoken code of ethics that commuters follow. One such thing is to pass the fare from the paying passenger to another passenger until it reached the driver. Another thing that is expected to do as a commuter is to give space as much as one’s body and butt can allow to another passenger so the driver can immediately restart the vehicle to move along.
These things may seem easy enough to follow but it can really be surprising to see how some people can get really obnoxious about it.
Last week, I boarded a jeepney on my way home. The jeepney was fairly full and there was just barely enough space to squeeze in my butt. People started to adjust their space to accommodate me. As I looked around with my arm grasping the overhead metal handhold, I saw this fortyish guy sitting by the jeepney’s door lost in his own world while sitting almost sloppily with his legs spread wide and both of his arms hanging loosely between them. The guy infront of me with knees clipped together while already rubbing knees with mine looked at him with the evil eye but Mr. Legs-Spread-Wide couldn’t care a hoot what’s going on with his jeepney mates.
I tapped him on his arm and told him to move a bit (which actually meant that he should clip his knees together and seat properly). His answer was one that could start wars and also manifested that this country still has a long way to go in terms of cooperation and sense of participation. He laughed while saying sarcastically, “How can I move a bit? There is just no space to move unless you want me to get off the jeepney.”
Holding on to my patience, I answered back to Mr. Legs-Spread-Wide, “If you could just clip your knees together and not spread your legs wide (in my mind: like you’re trying to air out your balls), there’ll be more space for us here.” I heard somebody giggle and the guy in front of me smiled; but Mr. Legs-Spread-Wide just laughed and did not move. As for us other passengers, we adjusted our butts to accommodate each other until we reach our destination. Mr. Legs-Spread-Wide must have felt refreshed upon disembarking from the jeepney.