A Certain Weekly Return Commute

It was a Thursday, but the day after it was a Muslim holiday, which also meant a long weekend.

Knowing that, I packed up my dirty clothes into the new traveling bag my maternal grandmother bought for me, a bag which, for convenience, I also brought to the sole class (Professional Writing, taught by a favorite storytelling professor of mine) I had on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Leaving the blue-green bag I used for most school days at the boarding house which I’ve been getting more used to, I also put the stuff I would bring with me to my family’s house into the pink bag I used for such return trips, including a book to read for my leisure in the provincial bus ride part of that expected long ride through the large yet tight roads of Metro Manila.

Though really, yet again, my earphones and the iPod Shuffle it was connected to took most of my leisure attention during said provincial bus ride segment during that day. It wasn’t like the airconditioned bus didn’t have its lights on as the night began covering the sky, nor did I find no fun in finding out more about how local pieces of fiction are doing lately, but I guess I was distracting myself a little too much about what I’ll be doing in the future, thinking about possible music cover projects and fanfiction ideas, stuff that felt easier to do with my favorite music filling my ears…but felt harder to do when I thought about how much stuff I had on my plate already.

Anyway, I still had to keep my attention up for the bus conductor, especially when he started asking for drop-off points, distributing tickets, and collecting fares.

And speaking of paying attention to the bus conductor, I paid him more attention than usual, as he was unable to give me a proper amount of change for a long while. Even if he managed to give me my change by the time the bus had gone past the tollgate to the city where my family and I lived, I don’t think I felt impatience at the level of exploding.

Now that sort of thing makes me think of how much all those long commutes through Metro Manila have made me more reflective. I mean, that time with the conductor wasn’t the first time I had to wait for a very long while for my change, and thinking about it some more now, I guess we’re in the same boat, being people with not enough smaller pieces of money for an easier transaction.

Still, I had more active distractions during that long wait, a wait which took around four hours, a length of time which was longer than the usual one-and-a-half to three hours I went through on one-way trips from my family’s house to my university and vice-versa. That sort of thing reminds me of my dad’s talk about how days like paydays and holidays usually had more traffic, so I guess I should have expected the longer wait, especially since a long weekend was coming.

Now, as for other ways in which I managed to get myself distracted, well, there was the TV, which I looked at while having to look over my shoulder because of how my seat had me facing the back, a part of the unusual seating arrangement of the low-floor bus I was riding. It did make ignoring the TV easier when the show started going boring for me, though. For example, there was a revenge drama at one point, but I did spend some time having my eyes on that, probably because a revenge-centered drama was something I found unusual in Philippine television. Said revenge drama I was watching was showing a confrontation between the deceptive and grudge-holding protagonist woman and the corrupt and crazed politician antagonist man the protagonist was driving crazy, and then there were the presences of the protagonist’s allies interfering with her plans, much to her irritation when they came to rescue her from the crazy politician’s attempts at violating her.

If you find yourself confused by the situation in that show because of my explanation there, well, I guess that’s to be expected from plots involving lots of liars, regardless of whether or not you consider those some of those liars as good people. And to be honest, plots like those are stuff that I want to make fun of through story-writing, because well-intentioned or not, lying is a pitfall that we often fall into.

Also, there was the evening news, but I’ve been paying less attention to news lately, especially when I’m not accompanied by other people who can process the stuff better than I can. Oftentimes, all I want to know are the headlines, as I think that I need to be in the loop somewhat, at least, especially at my age. Still, if it’s interesting enough, then I’ll go deeper past the headline of a news piece. That’s pretty much how I deal with news because most news pieces I encounter are stuff I find particularly draining, and/or stuff that are like hammers driving nails in too much. For example, I find people name-calling other people, and although I can understand why such things would happen and why it would even seem like a good thing, I’ve already found myself tired a lot of times by the hypocrisy of division attempts for the sake of unity, especially since I have noticed myself doing such things before…like those embarrassing comments I left on a bunch of political posts I shared on social media before.

Yes, I thank God very much for having my parents around to help me process such things better…

Oh, and on my commutes, I can’t really use gadgets bigger than my phone, so…yeah, I was also distracting myself with my phone during that Thursday evening. In particular, I was distracting myself with a game there, especially since I couldn’t access the Net much. It was a cat-themed high-score puzzle game, and it’s surprisingly entertaining despite my weak inclination towards high-score games…probably because it’s not fast-paced like infinite runners. That, and it has cats. I like cats very much, you know.

And so, with all those distractions, I managed to endure the pain building up in my rear from all those prolonged hours of sitting until the bus arrived at my stop. At least I hadn’t drank too much water before the trip, or else I would’ve ended up having an awkward time with wet pants again like I did once semesters ago. I had also gotten the proper amount of change from the conductor as well. Then, having enough money to spare and interest in buying some pizza from the recently set-up Papa John’s near where I lived…well, I decided to buy a promo set that consisted of three boxes of pizza, an order I made which ended up requiring me to wait for a shorter yet still considerable while again because of long preparation plus high demand.

Still, the pizza didn’t disappoint. I texted my parents about how I was buying pizza and going to arrive at a later time as well. But at the end of the day, something got me worrying very much, and it wasn’t the whole long commute back home. The problem, well…

I think I’ve been eating too much lately (Again, the pizza didn’t disappoint)…and I need a lot more sleep…which I deprived myself of during that night via extracurricular use of the computer (read: writing a month-end blog post I could’ve written the next day, because hey, months have two ends, and if there’s the end of the month, then there’s the start of the month).

Yup, I still have a long way to go, alright.

God Almighty keep on helping us all.

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