of commuting and being Pinoy; of bills and inner peace

for three straight days, i've been punting my butt off from the refinery in the evening to lipa mediatrix hospital then back to the plant the next morning. that's the drawback of losing a car that was supposedly given the gentlest, human care but lo and behold, was not provided with insurance, unfortunately got smashed by lil bro on to an innocent lamp post, and is now stacked in my aunt's vacant lot ready for a total engine revamp. obviously it would take time before i could possibly use my ill-fated car, thus I'm back to the usual, slower, yet exhilarating bus and jeepney rides.

the first day was really a treat. i asked the plant's call-in car to bring me to the nearest bus station. apparently, all the buses that are bound to lipa have already left, thus i had no choice but to take the much slower jeepney. while counting my coins and waiting for the best sarao to pass by, a jeepney suddenly came across, honking as if he owns the whole of the road. fortunately the front passenger seat was vacant. i remember during the 90s, this was the only seat i ever wanted to settle my butt on - perfect cushion, one-seater, no one messing with my love handles - just perfect. as i unreservedly boarded, i gave the driver a twenty-peso bill. surprised, the driver's face registered a very peculiar look not familiar to a returning commuter. murphy's law i thought. i knew there's something wrong. "my friend, its thirty pesos", he said in an accented english. man, some years of not commuting and now jeepney drivers are english speakers? embarrassed and wanting to regain the confidence of being a certified commuter, i handed him another fifty peso bill eventhough i've got tons of 10 peso coins in my purse. then the not-so-expected-reply from the driver that almost send me laughing, "You a Filipino?". whatda???? I dont know what has got into my head but I didnt answer him with a firm yes or a mere no. I just stared at him then took my forty-peso change. i was wondering what nationality was i mistaken for now. in college, i was mistaken for an indonesian, my GF's family first thought i was Korean and the last one in Singapore, they thought I represent Shell Showa, a Jap refinery. 45 minutes after that incident, i arrived in lipa. crap, i have to tell him that i needed to ride off. silly that i was, i just shrug his right shoulder without saying anything, signaling that i wanted him to stop so i can board off the jeepney. fortunately he understood.

i was more challenged on the second day. due to a telecon with some colleagues from abroad, i was able to get out of the office at around 7 pm. since it is late (hospital limits visitors starting 9pm), it took me only 7 minutes to have a shower, change clothes and call the service van. 15 minutes later, the van arrived and off we went to the bus station. buses in downtown are either air-conditioned or not. fresh from the jeepney trip yesterday, i imagined the fare would be more expensive than that of the jeepney's. but it only cost me P24.00. well probably because i took the non-aircon bus but still i wondered why the heck it's cheaper. i arrived at the hospital 30 minutes past 8 pm. i went straight to my sis' room to check if she had already taken her dinner. fortunately, she did. after some small talks with her, she said that of the 18 possible antibiotics that the docs tested on her, only 3 are non-resistant. and all are intravenous - these will have to pass thru her veins. wondring how much the current bill was, i asked a printout from the hospital. i was dumbfounded when the cashier handed me the bill - one antibiotic costs Php 4,300 (USD 94), another at PhP 1,300.00 (USD 29). And my sister has to be treated with these meds 3 times everyday in 7 days!?! that's an easy Php120,000++(USD 2800) bill not including professional fees and room charges. i sat by the lobby for another hour, looking at the bill on my hand, speechless.

the next morning, i went to the office with the same shirt i used in the hospital. i had no time to change clothes for i have another telecon with a Singaporean colleague set minutes after i arrived in batangas. it was a bleak day. problems at work, personal challenges loom. though it's tough working inside the plant, it's weird that i find some peace within my work area. peace from the conundrums of life that is. it is here that i can evitably stress myself and tentatively forget the glitches of sometimes, cruel world. i remember one line saying "inner peace comes not in a tranquil circumstance but from an untroubled heart". hopefully, i can still find my inner peace.


Vince said...

pretty hard eh? but u seems to be courageous at the last lines... good on you, have faith :)

donna said...

gel, he might have mistaken you for a Jap.. hehehe! :D
i like the last line on your post. that peace of mind comes from an untroubled heart. we could all use that.. :)