Monday, January 16, 2012

on my daily commute

i take the bus to work everyday.  depending on the time i leave the house, i arrive in the university an hour and fifteen, twenty, or thirty minutes later.  it's easy to catch the bus in the mornings, especially if i'm early enough.  i almost always get a seat.  it's quite comfortable, and i usually fall asleep (which i really shouldn't, knowing the dangers of public transportation in this country).  if i'm in the bus by six-thirty, and barring any event of road mishaps, vehicular problems, and worse-than-usual traffic, i get to the office at around seven forty-five.

going home is a different matter.  considering that my work hours coincide with majority of other people's work and school schedules, i'm doomed to evenings of waiting hunting for a ride along with the throng of students and employees going home from their respective schools and workplaces along the university belt.  there are a lot of routes i can take going home, though.  i'm lucky if a bus comes around with seats to spare, or if a van drops off someone at the exact spot i am standing on, and we have the same destination.  those moments are real treats for me.  otherwise, i can pick from the jeepneys passing by.  by jeepney going home can take as much as two hours, and it comes with free dust, smoke, and sweat.  when i get home i'd be doubly tired, too drained to even eat a late dinner.

but i've been doing this commute since i was thirteen, so what's my problem?

well, when i was a younger student i had a different schedule, and traffic wasn't as bad.

when i was an older student, i had more free time to work on school stuff in school, so i didn't have to rush home.

but now, it's getting tiring, especially when i had graduate classes and had to finish reading whole books overnight.  i always complain that it's more difficult finishing my studies now because of my (regular) work, because i'm just simply so drained in the evenings to read--i get sleepy after a few pages, and i still have to wake up at five the next morning.

it's been especially tiring the past few (and the coming) months, as a major intersection i pass through undergoes a major construction.  vehicles are made to pass though one lane out of four, on a thirty-second window, with vehicles passing in eight different directions.  riding a jeepney or a bus it takes me thirty-forty minutes to pass through half  a kilometer's stretch.  most vans are able to drive around the sidestreets and shortcuts, lucky them.

sigh.  enough babbling.  my point is, my daily commute is taking its toll on me and i feel like the time i spend on it (from waiting for a ride to the walk home) could be better spent reading a book, writing, crafting, watching a good documentary, catching up with friends, taking photographs, eating a leisurely dinner, and all those things i said i'll do while i still can.

the tiring job-related* commute is one of the reasons why i won't be working (in an 8-5 job) by june: i figured that if i finish my graduate studies, i'll have better work opportunities elsewhere (perhaps somewhere nearer), somewhere that won't take three hours of my life from me every single day (stuck in traffic).  it would be refreshing to work on something that doesn't require clocking in the biometric machine four times a day, five times a week.  it would be nice to look forward to quality time in the evenings doing something more than attempting to read/fighting off sleep. 

i think there's a difference between complaining and reasoning why something isn't good for you anymore.  for some time it's been a choice between a regular job (steady income, 13th month pay, benefits, some travel opportunities that are all usually work-related) and finishing my graduate studies (a degree in the field that i love, opportunity to teach courses in the field that i love (in a tree-surrounded, liberal, progressive environment that i love), be a more credible freelancer in the other fields that i love, and just being able to do what i love, and love what i do).  i'm sure you already know which direction i'm taking.

* * *
of course i wouldn't mind the commute to manila if i'm going to see my friends, or hang out with ige, or if i'll be checking out stuff at hidalgo.  all the negativity of this post is really just centered on the daily (monday to friday, six am to nine pm, chasing-after-buses) work commute.  oh, you know what i mean.


Tin Rementilla said...

Commuting is the one thing I hate about being a working adult. If you want, there are home-based jobs which also pays well, and even includes a 13th month pay! Just take it slow. Everything will follow. :) Good luck!

kayni said...

It is quite similar to my commute. It takes me about two hours to and from work. I drive my car for an hour then take the train for another hour. It does take a lot from me too.

lauren said...


Wow, that is even more demanding! I hope your roads are so much safer than 'Pinas. :) Ingat!

Thank you for the tip & well-wishes! :) Meh, I think I'm just justifying why I'm quitting my day job for a grad-student-freelancer-housebummer's life. Yep, will do some home-based raket work (writing probably) while I'm studying (or else how will I even go to school, right?). Gah, grownup responsibilities! :P