I commute to school, and it’s quite interesting. Many think that most, if not all, people who ride trains are just dead zombies who don’t move until they’ve reached their station. But if one does observe well enough, each person moves. Although, not so much that everyone notices. I have to keep myself busy because I travel very far, and it would be a pretty boring ride if I just stood there staring out the window.
I notice that a lot of people who move the same way, even if they are completely different from one other. People who stand clutching the handrails usually shift their eyes to the slightest movement that distracts them from staring outside. People who are seated usually just sleep or relax, but they shift and adjust because the seats in the LRT are quite uncomfortable or the person next to them is fidgeting.
Here’s what I saw yesterday.
As I was climbing the steps of Vito Cruz station, I noticed that I was the only person there. I was hoping that there were no people or at least a small number of people on the station platform. After the station guard shuffled the things inside my bag, I had to race to the ticket booth because a group of old ladies just arrived, and they were right behind me. The ladies in the ticket booth must be so bored; I can’t imagine myself doing a single task for eight hours straight. Taking money then giving tickets, repeat until desired or dead.
I got my ticket and shoved it in the turnstile. I went through, and the first thing that greeted me was a swarm of sweaty people, fanning and wiping the sweat from their necks then to their face. They wipe in the wrong order if you ask me. The best pace to ride the train would be at its last car. Not many people are bothered to walk to the end of the station platform, so I walked there to embark the train.
A lot of people feel uncomfortable just standing; they shift from one leg to the other; they repeat this process until they’re too tired and have to lean against something. Surprisingly, they get tired of leaning, and so they go back to shifting from one leg to the other.
Each time a train arrives at the station, people suddenly transform into moths that are drawn into the light. They push and shove their way to the train doors, even if the doors aren’t open. Once they are, the embarking is so quick we look like we’re being sucked in. We get sucked in even before we let people out.
On the train, the area turns into a battlefield, and much of it looks and feels like the Cold War. Everyone is protecting themselves and their own property. They constantly shift their eyes back and forth, trying to catch a culprit at work.
As the train moves, we are mercilessly swayed in all directions. Our only means of equilibrium are the poles that run across the car. Although, not all people are fortunate enough to grab on, so they slam into other passengers or step on their feet.
There is one thing that everyone seems to agree upon: We hate embarking passengers. Each station offers us more passengers who are desperately getting on, and as if by some divine power, we people on the train agree that no one else would do so. People near the door make it look like there is no more room by packing themselves into sardines, blocking anyone from the station.
I got off at Doroteo Jose station and walked quickly to the other LRT line.
This was taken from my journal entry made for poetry class. It has been greatly improved and edited.