Skip to main content

people-watching

I relish long bus rides, just as when I was younger and such bus rides signified a trip to some exciting destination. Now though, bus rides are a unique experience in itself. I like to choose a seat somewhere near the back door, where I get a good vantage point of what goes on in the bus. Then, I unplug my earphones, settle down and observe.

In the early mornings, the commuters are a hodgepodge of sullen schoolchildren with hooded eyes and skewed uniforms, housewives with their shopping carts on their way to the wet market, and young working adults in their shined shoes and crinkled office uniforms. My favorites are the retirees. Dressed in a simple white top, loose slacks, neat shoes and vintage suspenders, an old man who lives in my neighborhood boards the bus every morning without fail, to make his way to the nearby town centre for his breakfast routine. It makes me sit up a little straighter, when this stooped old man makes his way up the aisle with concise steps. Everything in his carriage and his attention to his attire, even on such a simple assignment as getting breakfast and the morning papers, spoke to me about self-respect and self-discipline.

In the late mornings, toddlers and their caretakers are the main entertainment. The more ebullient ones drum their fists on the window panes, squealing out commentaries of the passing scenery in the gibberish that only mothers can understand. There are also the shy ones who stare doe-eyed and transfixed when they catch the eye of a stranger, then grin abruptly and burrow their heads in their mothers’ necks. The ones who reach out confidently to grab your finger or to exchange an unspoken conversation of cheeky grins and poked-out tongues, have the ability to light up my day.

I often share the back of the bus with teenagers who seem to only gather in groups of at least three. There are the evocative ones who yell out their conversations, seeming to revel in the stares of fellow commuters as they joke, tease and curse. Sometimes, the more public-spirited ones think to share their music with the bus, blasting tinny rock music from their cellular phones and completing the free performance with head bobs and leg twitches.

Then there are the young adults who, with their earphones plugged in, stare off into space, deeply engrossed in their own thoughts. There are the rare occasions where I catch a young lady, secretly wiping away the tears that seem to slip out of their own volition – a glimpse of someone’s inner pain.

Long bus rides are slices of stolen time in the midst of the hustle and bustle of city life. Here, life stories can be condensed into snippets, to be viewed by the observant and understood by the imaginative. All it takes is for one to keep awake to enjoy them.

Comments

Charmante said…
Lovely post. I wonder which I would be; or, indeed, which I was...
I love the way you write - very beautiful!
Sunny side up said…
I am a people watcher too. Great read! :)

Popular posts from this blog

There must be more than this
Oh breath of God come breathe within
There must be more than this
Spirit of God we wait on You

Fill us anew we pray
Fill us anew we pray

Consuming fire fan into flame
A passion for Your name
Spirit of God won't You fall in this place
Lord have your way Lord have your way in us

Stir it up in our hearts Lord
Stir it up in our hearts Lord
Stir it up in our hearts Lord a passion for your name

As Sy Rogers said today, there are things we can look back on, our memorial stones, that encourage us and give us strength to move forward. I rmb a time I was so far away and so tired of people in general, cos really it's relationships that really get me down - n when Jean would walk in on me crying or just sitting and not even having the energy to do stuff, she would listen n say 'just cry out to God alright?' and that would be the last thing i wanted to hear. sometimes you know what to do, and you know what the advice will be, but when the emotions are not there, an…

ex-clusivity

Haven't given much attention to the news ever since work started, so yeah, the General elections were an eye-opener, but absolutely no clue about the upcoming Presidential elections. Something I don't like about the media (and ironically, social media): its limited scope - it cannot possibly capture the feelings of the mass majority, yet so much weightage is given to what is published. Inevitably, the loudest voice gets heard, not necessarily the wisest or the more representative.

Just watched American History X again. Dunno, some days you just feel prepared to take on the violent stuff you know? (As evident, movies like this just give me sleepless nights...)

So, 0236 hours. What am I thinking... Well, it doesn't take much for us to hate. Us, as in, any human. It doesn't even matter if we really went through stuff, like how the main characters' father got murdered. All it takes is for us to get the perception that we were wronged, our rights were withheld or stolen…

on mountains and perspective

Kept awake by a bout of traveler's diarrhea and the ensuing abdominal colic. Just been back from an attempt at Mount Kinabalu, 'highest mountain in Southeast Asia'. Okay, those apostrophes are there out of bitterness... it really is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. And I couldn't even attempt the summit. Made it to the base camp at 3067 m though... that's what it says on my black-and-white certificate - colored ones are only for successful summit-ers.  Crrr!

But I made it back with my life. And I'm humbler for the attempt, though how could I resist the parting shot: "I'll be back!"?

But on a more serious note, it's an awesome thing, a beautiful gift to be able to get out there into as natural a surrounding you can get (without dying a slow tv-less death from cold, altitude sickness, projectile vomit and did I mention cold?). It truly seems like one never can be happy - despite all my first-world comforts, I'd gladly pay to painfully…