Rush Hour

In all its undeserving glory, public transport is a necessity for many of us. Personally for me, taking public transport has become my...

In all its undeserving glory, public transport is a necessity for many of us. Personally for me, taking public transport has become my normal since I don’t have my full license. Whether we might like it or not, our lives are often structured according to our daily commute from point A to B.

Rush hour is the few hours that commuters dread and complain about even with the knowledge that they can’t avoid it. This love-hate relationship for public transport persists and becomes a metaphor for settling. You settle for the frustration you feel when the bus is running late and allow that emotion to reside within you. Your complaints about how “that was a crappy start to the day” defines your morning or even the rest of your day as your heart still races after jayrunning during the dash from the bus stop to your workplace. You settle for the annoyance you feel when the bus is at capacity and the person sardine-packed next to you has their backpack constantly shoving the side of your arm. You start making subconscious judgments about them and without even realising, you probably have already made judgments about other commuters the moment you stepped foot on the bus. Even choosing who you sit next to on public transport calls for that subconscious judgment. The only way your face lights up on public transport is if you are you constantly glued to your LED or LCD smartphone screen. With headphones in and with no intention to spark conversation, the standard facial look of “I don’t want to be here but I need to pay the bills” is written in red permanent marker.

But what if you don’t settle for this rush hour experience? What if you choose to be the red dye dripped into the body of clear water? Stepping out of your comfort zone puts convenience to shame. 

You may not have the chance to have a lengthy conversation with someone on public transport or evoke a deep sense of understanding for the other person. However, don’t underestimate casual encounters. There is no substance in making silent judgments and assumptions about a person. Many of us put up walls that are built on plastic smiles and low expectations for the day. Initiating an innocent and trivial conversation can have the ability to break down those walls; and believe it or not, there is vulnerability and beauty beneath the surface.  

Heavy eyelids and running low on fuel is no excuse for you to settle for the rush hour experience. Take ownership and control over how you want to live out the start of your day instead of letting the start of your day define the rest of it. Don’t settle for familiarity because hey, doesn’t it breed contempt?

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