I’ve been commuting since first year of college so I’m used to experiencing the third world by foot: streets littered with yosi, half-finished buildings and the noise of urban honkers (jeeps and the kuyas in those jeeps). If i’m not lost in thought, these are some of the things I usually casually observe when I’m in transit.
But earlier this afternoon while I was walking along Anonas on my way to the LRT station I took some time not only to look at my surroundings, but of the people in it. And not just any old apathetic glance that skims over broken tsinelas and disregards sleeping side walk vendors mind you. But a genuine look into the eyes of my passerby’s, to find meaning beneath the sweat upon their skin and the weariness behind their expressions.
Then i wondered: How come I’ve never done this before? In my four years of commuting why have I always just walked on by, absorbed by the noise, but only skimming the surface of the chaotic commute? Why are we hesitant to really look?
Because it’s scary to face reality, reflecting in the eyes of those who are affected by it.
So we focus on the the yosi filled streets, half-finished buildings, noise of urban honkers, broken tsinelas, and side walk vendors… We’re used to this clutter. They have no feelings. Ironically, sometimes the pervasiveness of problems makes it appear normal. Somehow in the daily commute of life we forget that it’s actually not.
But we can’t drudge on forever. It’s unnerving to look at the problem in the eye, but one day when we’re brave enough to, even if we don’t want to, we’ll never see the daily commute the same way again.