It’s A Bus Thing

One of my dilemmas every time I go to my muay thai training, along with getting in a skirmish with my laziness, is always getting on that darned bus that will take me from Phahonyothin to Viphawadi Road. The best buses are the ones labeled with the number 24 but these buses rarely pass by the area at the time when I usually commute. If I insist on waiting, I would end up wasting 30-45 minutes of my time and this does not include the allotted minutes for travel and traffic. (For those who do not know, traffic in Bangkok is a killer!) Of course, I have an option to get on other buses but surprisingly, I seem to always forget which of which, despite my countless efforts of writing them down on a piece of paper that I had a habit of misplacing. Even my friends have given up on repeating the bus numbers to me. My brain, they say, has an uncanny love affair for selecting rubbish and deselecting significant things. I disagree but some days, I wonder why this is always so.


What usually happens when I wait is (like what often happens when I’m not physically doing anything) my thoughts start scurrying around my head and I end up creating meaning in all the most prosaic things.

In this case, I started entertaining thoughts about getting on the right bus, getting on the wrong bus, being uncertain about getting on a particular bus, running after the missed bus, missing the right bus for the lamest reason, refusing to get on the bus because you have to wait for someone, getting on a bus that takes the longer route to your destination, hopping on a bus that will take you farther than where you are only to hop off in the middle of nowhere, flagging a bus for a joy ride, standing in a bus (and how long, if I may ask), sitting in the bus (Were you seated by the window side? Did you offer your seat to another person who needed it more than you did?), riding a cramped bus, or riding a bus with dangerous thugs.

DSC_6869While waiting for a bus that will take us (me, Doi, and Ed) to Hualamphong Train Station at 3:00 in a chilly January morning

Isn’t everything like any regular bus story? Relationships, opportunities, plans, vocations, employments, beliefs, or preferences – life by portions, generally, is like any bus experience. A failed relationship can symbolize getting on the wrong bus; an accomplished goal can signify getting on the right bus, missing a bus may mean that what you hoped for was not intended for you; running after a particular bus is similar to chasing after your dreams; a cramped bus points to getting on the bandwagon (yes, like that ‘be- a-nurse-fever’ in the Philippines because there was such a huge demand for nurses overseas)  or being entangled in a sick romance that just makes your world smaller than it already is; giving up your seat could bespeak your sacrifices for people you care about; and to borrow a quote from a movie which noted that “dimming your light so that someone else’s could shine” is likened to refusing to get on YOUR bus.

bus ride

I have capitalized ‘YOUR’ because I believe that each of us owns a seat in a particular bus during a particular time. We can’t all be in one bus but we are guaranteed a seat somehow, somewhere. There will be countless buses that will pass us by and it’s really up to us to hail the bus meant for us in that instance.

I don’t believe in the “one-bus-one-lifetime” crap but I believe that although we all end up in one place, our journeys will vary and every journey deserves a fitting ride, as fit as how we perceived it to be.

If you want to get lost or experience a broken heart (you should at least have one) then go for the wrong bus. Try it. Savor it but walk away with enough grace so that you can truly say that you still won despite your loss. If you want to be yourself then for your own sake do not get on that cramped bus. If you want to test waters then just get on any bus. Let it take you to adventures that you’ll narrate to your grandchildren one day, but remember to swim only up to where you can muster. You know your limits.

busesIf buses are not your thing then by all means, get on a plane, boat, car, or spaceship. Whatever fancies your panties, wherever you may be – just get on it and make every day worth writing about.

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