Ever since I was a kid, I always have to endure long travels on a jeepney. Since then, I’ve developed quite a fascination with it. One thing I like about it is that I can watch people. With so little options, what else is there to do? I remember a line from Jack Johnson’s People Watching: well I’m just people watching the other people watching me. That’s what happens inside a jeepney. It’s the only time I can watch, study and observe other people freely, which is kind of fun. Sometimes I make up stories about them in my mind (what a productive way to pass the time) or listen to their stories and gossips about other people (I’m an earshot away so I might as well listen). That is, if the loud jeepney music worthy of a rock concert doesn’t drown out their voices.
There’re other reasons why I like to travel on a jeepney. While I’m not people watching or covering my bleeding ears from decibels of Pinoy rap, riding on a jeepney actually is a kind of brainstorming session for me. I come up with designs, random good thoughts, a good idea for a project and so my other things. But there’s another thing that I do that makes a long ride worth it–I unconsciously meditate. Thoughts enter my mind without me knowing. Thoughts lead to another thought and then another. Sometimes I never realize that I’ve gone as far as the moon itself. Along the way I get lost because of so many turns I’ve taken. The moment I realize this, those thoughts suddenly vanish and I remember nothing of what transpired in my mind. Cursing and wishing for the nth time that there’s a mental notepad that exists in the Universe.
Maybe I can relate these thoughts to embers of a fire–dormant, almost dying; until it’s kindled by a thought then stoked by another one. Then it becomes a full-fledged fire. You’re never fully aware that a little flame of thought can grow into something as grand and beautiful. Like a wildfire, it spreads out and branches into multiples. It consumes you like a fire consumes oxygen. Hungry, never getting enough. By the time it was through you’re left with nothing but ashes, remnants of a rage that came too swiftly and ends tragically, leaving you with nothing to remember by.
But what I really love about long travels on a jeepney is that oftentimes it seems that I’m shut out from the rest of the world, even just for a moment. Temporarily, the world is put on hold, resuming only when I reach my destination.