People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Well, it’s been a good couple of weeks now since we last took public transportation and, for all the s*** the daily grind puts us through, and we think that phrase applies here—we kind of miss it to be honest.
‘We miss commuting.’ It’s kind of weird hearing yourself say that.
That said, there are a few things we wish wouldn’t return when public transportation resumes once the enhanced community quarantine is over. So, here five things we miss, and five things we don’t miss about having a daily commute:
Things we miss about commuting:
1) Time to think
When you need some time to yourself, the longer the commute, the better. Bus rides, in particular, present themselves as perfect opportunities for self-reflection—especially long air-conditioned rides following a run-of-the-mill day at work. Hey, there’s a reason you see so many commuters staring blankly into the void outside the bus window.
2) Sound trips
For many of us, commuting playlists are something we take great care in preparing: We have one to fall asleep on the bus to, one to get us hyped for another day at the office, and one to help us wind down during an uneventful ride home.
Having the freedom to soak in your sounds without the responsibility of manning a steering wheel also allows you to put a random playlist on shuffle to discover new tunes to get into—we miss that.
3) Being able to use the phone during trips
Riding public transportation is also a great time to catch-up on social media, or down a couple of uploads from your favorite YouTube channels before getting to work at the office or settling in for the evening at home. Hell, you can even take in a couple of episodes of your favorite Netflix series if your commute is lone enough.
4) The exercise
Fact: You have no need for a gym membership if your commute is a big enough pain in the a** to count as exercise. The escalator at the MRT station is broken? You trek up counts as cardio. Your bag is heavy? No need to lift weights then, right? It’s all just a matter of maintaining a glass-half-full perspective of things.
There’s something unusually relaxing about watching people come and go—whether it’s while stuck in traffic on board a bus or waiting in line to board the MRT—going about their daily commute. It brings a sense of mindfulness and reminds you that you’re not alone in the daily grind. Fight!
Things we don’t miss about commuting:
1) The long lines
We’ve all been there: We’re almost late for work, we jump out of the shower, skip breakfast, quickly hop onto a tricycle, only to be met by a kilometer-long line of commuters waiting for either a bus, train, or UV Express van to arrive. Nothing’s more disheartening about not owning a car than this.
2) The smog
You’ve probably heard that air quality in Metro Manila is currently at its best level in years on account of the enhanced community quarantine period. We hope there’s a way to maintain this once people get moving again, but if we’re being honest, we aren’t counting on it. One can dream, right?
3) The packed trips
It isn’t just the lack of personal space we hate when we’re faced with entering a bus or train coach full of commuters packed like a tin can of sardines—there’s the risk of having something stolen from you, too. Having to squeeze into a claustrophobic form of public transport after a tiring day at the office is like adding salt to the wound.
4) The exercise
Fact: You have no need for a gym membership if your commute is a big enough pain in the a** to count as exercise. The escalator at the MRT station is broken? Your trek up counts as cardio. Your bag is heavy? No need to lift weights then, right?
Yeah, it’s a love-hate sort of thing we’ve got going here.
5) The chaos
From the 30th floor of a condominium or from the comfort of a plush, air-conditioned minivan with a driver, EDSA’s sea of red lights is a sight to behold—beautiful, even. But from onboard a tightly-packed bus or a slogging MRT coach, it’s hell. No other way to put it.