I was curled up reading The New Other Woman: The Contemporary Single Women In Affairs with Married Men as soon as I boarded the bus. I just finished the segment about single women's increased opportunities for casual encounters in social settings like, ehem, travel when, to my disappointment, a senior citizen took it upon herself to sit beside me. She didn't bother to visit the ticketing office to purchase her pass, meaning someone else had the actual ticket for bus seat # 10. What if he were one sexy stranger who would make me drop this book for some "pleasant, healing and instructive" gabfest?

I heard the bus conductor argue with her that what she presented was NOT a bus ticket and that she still needed to pay for her fare. She provided her senior citizen's discount card and mumbled on her reason why it didn't have her ID photo. How lousy. I didn't like this old lady already!

For some strange reason, she felt the need to start counting her different set of bills (there's a wad of bigger bills like P500, there's another for smaller ones like P20 and there's her coins) as soon as the bus was in motion. She did this repeatedly for a total of 70 minutes! Well, she momentarily ceased to change earrings and clean her ears then went back to her favorite activity. But, wait, there's more: she slightly directed her cash near enough for my peripheral vision to capture. I can understand if she were avoiding attention from fellow passengers, but heck, all passengers were seated and sleepy. I am yet to meet a passenger who's willing to go on standing room to the highlands of Baguio! Who else was she protecting her cash from?

I got a direct order from the birthday girl to sleep away during the trip since we'd party hard until Sunday morning. Close friends know how I struggle with sleep on a daily basis. How harder can it get if I were on the road?

When my eyelids finally felt heavier, my seatmate committed this mortal sin of giving me a nudge to ask a stupid question like, "How to register for UNLITXT?" What part of my reclined posture, tightly shut peepers and hidden book you don't understand, I wanted to ask back. In attempt to appear polite in spite of my mounting rage, I simply shook my head. Technically, I really didn't know. I have long abandoned UNLITXT in favor of IMMORTALTXT, remember?

This happened again a few hours later. She asked me what time it was when she had been texting as if there were no tomorrow for the past hour! Wasn't she aware that her mobile phone shows the time? Still, I informed her it was past 13:00. I yawned for emphasis.

And the worst question with equally bad timing? "Are we there yet?" I was tempted to retort, "Second childhood, eh?" I never fell back to sleep after.

I was told here to be kind to the old folk because I'd become one someday. Try telling that to someone who has no plans to die old.

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So we're just 500 meters away from the final stop. The jeepney driver called the attention of the 3 teenage girls seated next to me, requiring them to pay more. Turns out they only paid the minimum fare of P7.00 each for a very distant ride from SM Molino to Zapote Kalinisan. Which was stupid as my fare from the mentioned mall to San Nicolas, my own baranggay, already amounts to P10.00.

If that were not amusing enough, wait till you hear how they reacted. Little Miss Bully repeatedly asked Little Miss Kitikitxt to settle the deficit. "Bayaran mo na!" The latter was too occupied to take heed. Little Miss Henchman initially aired excuses then echoed Little Miss Bully's line in a more encouraging tone. Little Miss Kitikitxt momentarily removed the mobile phone out of her face to stare daggers at Little Miss Bully then fished for her wallet.

Little Miss Kitikitxt approached the jeepney driver and clearly stated she's only paying for herself. Since they've already reached their stop, both girls reached for their pockets and, I, the riveted chismosa, had the perfect view of the bills they had in store. Lovely!

At least the seemingly rift was over as soon as they alighted.


The same evening at work, I overheard the tenured specialists' discussion on how to wa-tu-tri (spell check please) successfully. The best trick, according to them, would be to sit behind the driver (NOT beside him, all right? I've tried that before and it was beyond stupid!) and hand him other passenger's pay and NEVER say "Bayad daw po!". Make sure to display ownership by saying "Bayad po!" instead. For a bad actress with weak knees like me, I won't give this a try.

As a finisher, they say it is best to say, "Para po! Thank you!". In my commuting experience, I am yet to hear passengers who enthusiastically express their gratitude for reaching their destination. Hence, I find this suggested spiel a hint to the driver and fellow passengers that you just enjoyed a free ride. But what do I know? I'm not an expert.

How about you? Have you tried faking it? Isn't it still better to just pay the fare?