As someone who gets to ride buses a lot, I have often wondered if drivers don’t get bored with their jobs. Imagine that. All they have to do the whole day is…drive. They wake up so early in the morning for the first trip, go to wherever they work, plant their butts on the seat (or maybe plant the seat to their butts) and they drive. Oh sure, all the twisting and turning of that large steering wheel is positively going to give their arms a workout but, what’s next? Day in, day out, all they have to do is drive. Drivers only get to take their hands of the steering wheel when they go for a potty break and at lunch break. It’s like Waiting for Godot. Don’t they get bored?
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Oh! Yes! I forgot we are in the Philippines! Drivers here would never get bored! You ask me why? Well then, dear reader! I hereby impart my knowledge to you!
- Traffic! Metro Manila/Quezon City/EDSA traffic may not be as worse as in the other countries but what the heck! Drivers don’t effing care! To them, the traffic here is the worst, most horrible thing to experience. Thus, drivers would never get bored for it gives them the opportunity to honk their horns so loud that eardrums begin to shatter. It is also a very good chance to have spewing sessions. Drivers can curse their lungs out until their cuss dictionary runs out of entries. These spewing sessions (combined with Manila’s smog and soot and smoke) also provide excellent respiratory workout which aids in the driver’s even cussing louder.
- Police officers! Yes, these people who are supposed to ensure peace and order give drivers the biggest headaches ever! They have to elude members of the Kotong Police who ask them for money to get them out of violations. Traffic police who do not know left from right teaches our drivers the value of patience. They surely need this if they do not want to end up in jail for running over a police officer.
- Pedestrians! All Pinoys know the famous quotation ‘Masarap ang bawal’ which leads us to the fact that we are hard-headed. Pedestrians would cross roads where there is this ginormous sign saying ‘Bawal tumawid. Nakamamatay.’ (Do not cross. Deadly.) They would brave the streets even if there is an overpass a few steps away (‘Why would I take the steps and tire myself out??’). Adventurous, aren’t we? These obstacles not only provide another cussing break for our dear drivers but also a…training session! Drivers would have to use all their maneuvering skills as they try to evade the pedestrians playing patintero with them! A 360-degree turn of the wheel to the left! And then to the right! Ah…such talent! Such skill!
- Stray animals! Driver reflexes are tested as animals (most commonly cats and dogs) suddenly dart into view! A dog crosses the street and suddenly decides that he is tired and sits down. Is our driver fast enough to step on the breaks in time? Alas! He fails! Thus, killing the poor dog and staining his wheels with blood. (Note: I absolutely abhor drivers who have the nerve to kill animals. This is based on a personal experience and I stand against animal cruelty.) This is an favorable moment for our driver to school his reflexes in order not to mutilate dogs, cats and the highest form of animals, humans.
- Student drivers! Just like in no. 3, student drivers also test the veteran driver’s reflexes. As our student driver panics and hyperventilates, our driver is starting to release steam through his pores as he suddenly, and jerkily, steps on the break to prevent crashing into our student driver. Of course, this is done at the expense of his passengers, who sway and jerk at every movement of the bus.
- Other drivers! Of course it’s not only our driver who owns the road. There are millions of other vehicle-wielding creatures out there who share the road with him. And they would not let our driver beat them! An ordinary drive then becomes a battle of wits and stratagems! Will our driver be able to overtake the car next to him? Can he dodge the incoming car from the next lane? And will his passengers get to their destination alive? Find the answers to all this exciting questions in the next episode of…the adventures of a daily driver!!!