On life (and death) during the rush hour train

Dear Sir,

This was written 11 months ago, I believe it was the last week of October before the Undas-season (Filipino version of Halloween). Makes me squirm a bit but I’ll share it anyway:

          As I braved the Friday night rush hour, coupled that this coming weekend is a holiday, I need not describe the throng of people going to and fro the metro. I sat on a bench for 30 minutes, waiting for a train that doesn’t look like human-canned sardines. I don’t like city railways, they make me think of things I carry after leaving literature class: birth, death, and the in-betweens. To pass time, I pulled out my copy of Into The Wild – an account of Christopher McCandless’ hitchhiking to the Alaskan wilderness (intrigued and deeply moved by Sean Penn’s graceful 2007 film). McCandless isolated himself from civilization to “find himself” and the truth. I should’ve known it wasn’t a good read during that moment. I felt heavy and heard myself sighing.


           Trains, city trains, they’re grave reminders of the lives we’re living. As I watched the sea of strangers, all a blur, I wondered if they’re living their purpose, if they’re even aware they have one. And then I realized that most of them don’t. Thoreau was right as usual, the mass of men do lead lives of quiet desperation. And I can’t accept that. I will not live like that.     



Whaddya think? Emo mode. Pathetic no? But at least commuting during Manila rush hour has its benefit. It makes me pseudo-philosophical.



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