Jeepneys have been the symbol of Filipino ingenuity and unique creative flair for decades. Whenever anyone mentions the word “jeepney”, the first word that you associate with it is “Pinoy”.
And since my beloved city is the unofficial second capital, it’s only to be expected that you’d see our streets dotted with these colorful symbols of “Pinoy-ness”. But do you know that the people who frequent these vehicles are as colorful as the pretty mini buses themselves?
Read on and find out the types of People You Might Spy in Jeepneys.
1. The Hair
She’s (most of the time it’s a “she”) the person who sports the proverbial crowning glory of females but doesn’t really know what to do with them. She lets her hair fly free… straight to the mouth of the person sitting beside her. Or worse, she tries to be all cutesy and flips her hair all over the place.
Suggested Reaction: Give her a tap on the shoulder and hand her a scrunchie.
2. The Fare Snob
The Fare Snobs think it’s beneath them to do their fellow passengers a good turn and refuse to hand over other people’s fare to the driver… or in the driver’s general direction anyways. It’s not really certain whether they’re just overly apathetic and generally don’t care… or they just think other people’s money is ickily crawling with invisible germs.
Suggested Reaction: Touch their arm or just hand your fare (with a smile) to the person sitting across from you.
3. The Sleeper
There are two kinds of “Sleepers”. The first one is the I-don’t-care-if-I-rest-my-big-heavy-head-on-your-shoulder-and-drool-on-you kind. This one is a bit of a nuisance, especially if you’re a girl and he is a smelly old guy. The other “Sleeper” is the amateur somnambulist. He or she can close their eyes and get to REM sleep with amazing self-control, a.k.a. knows how to perfectly balance their head on their shoulders and incredibly wakes just in time to not miss their designated stop.
Suggested Reaction: Take pictures of them and post them on facebook. Kidding!
4. The Mother Goose
She is the proverbial Mother Hen(excuse all the fowl allusions–I mean no disrespect to mothers out there). You’ll never miss her because it takes a bit of time for her to organize her chicks(or goslings) and herd them inside the jeepney. And once inside, it usually takes her half the jeepney ride to verbally reprimand all the aforementioned chicks(or goslings) into sitting still and the other half apologizing to fellow passengers for all the injured feet and bruised shins.
Suggested Reaction: Pretend to be charmed by her unruly brood or help Mother Hen make her chicks sit still and behave.
5. The Leaner
He or she believes that it’s perpetually siesta time, and he thinks his or her seatmate is a nice sturdy piece of furniture and proceeds to lean back as far as her seat mates would allow. And when you had the luck to sit beside this person and give them the “evil eye” for being so rude, they’d either give you a fake apologetic smile or ignore you altogether.
Suggested Reaction: Tap him/her on the shoulder and tell her he/she is not at home and you’re not his/her sofa. Use a sickeningly sweet voice when doing so and sport a big pleasant smile after.
6. The Touchy Feely a.k.a. Don Juan
He(for I’ve never encountered a “she” :P) is the guy who has insidious snakes for arms. He has sneaky limbs that slither to a pretty girl’s back with the pretense of clinging to the jeepney window sill for support. Sometimes he just tries to off-handedly put his scaly appendage at the back of the girl sitting beside him. Careful to let only the side of his hand touch her in order to have the ready option of feigning ignorance if caught. Other times he gets bold enough to let loose the reptiles free and actually give them permission to ickily crawl a girl’s side, back, or worse… the side of her boobies.
Suggested Reaction: The best one would be to give the sicko a straightforward slap on the face… if you can dare to. Or you could go “the evader” route and just change seats the first chance you get.
7. The Hanky
This person is someone who looks like his or her nose is in perpetual olfactorial torture. He or she always has a piece of cloth or tissue at the ready to keep out the dust, fumes, and any of the usual bad smells–imaginary or not. But who could really blame him or her? You can barely find a jeepney-ridden street in the city that is not also dust and exhaust fume-ridden.
Suggested Reaction: Here you have two options; 1)go the “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach and strive to find something to cover your nose with or 2)try not to look and end up copying his or her habit and control yourself from giving in by holding your arms as far away from your nose(or from any hanky or anything that resembles a hanky) as possible.
8. The Pusher
This person is half in love with the jeepney’s entrance and insists on sitting near it, come hell or high water. And his or her butt seems to get more stuck to the seat the farther he or she is from the driver. He or she won’t care if you’re limping to get to your seat, they will never move. He or she is the one most likely to get angry if seated next to The Fare Snob.
Suggested Reaction: If you want to sit beside this person, just feign sitting down on their lap and most likely they’d move to avoid your big butt. Or just assertively push aside their knees and plop your behind down while they’re still sporting their “I’m appalled!” expression.
9. The Dialer
He’s the one who unceremoniously picks his nose–and most often, thoroughly too–during the entire jeepney ride. Worse, he would unabashedly make sure to be super helpful with the fare and eagerly hands the driver people’s fares or people their change.
Suggested Reaction: Just make sure to have some hand sanitizer handy and just slap some on your hands after each encounter. Or you can simply refuse to touch anything that has come into contact with this person’s icky hands. If it’s your change he’s handing over, you can tell him to keep it. :P
10. The Chismosa
The Chismosa is someone who can’t survive a second without dishing out something scandalous about someone he or she knows. And he or she would gladly announce the juicy tidbits to anyone who’d deign to listen, whether they like it or not. Usually, he or she would be chatting–albeit loudly–with a fellow passenger who’s a friend… or to someone on the phone.
Suggested Reaction: Put on those earphones/headphones and drown out his or her irritating voice. Or you can just do nothing and gladly eavesdrop on the chat. It would be like watching The Buzz up close. And who knows? You might know who they’re talking about. Stories about other people’s shenanigans are always good entertainment.
11. The Earphones
This person is the one who feels that he or she can’t survive without music for even a second… or is just someone who’s extremely antisocial and doesn’t like to hear other people’s voices… or someone who thinks it’s cool to look all emo and apathetic about their surroundings, especially about people handing over their fare. Obviously, this person is someone who empathizes with The Fare Snob but only does it more subtly.
Suggested Reaction: If you’re trying to hand this person your fare, just tap him on the shoulder or arm. He or she would have no excuse to ignore you then. And remember, do this with a smile and the magic word, a.k.a. “Hoy!” Kidding! I meant “Please!”
12. The ADHD
The ADHD is someone who thinks everyone who makes eye contact with him or her is a close friend and would not hesitate to ask you extremely personal questions that would make you squirm in your seat. And they do this so nicely that you find it hard to tell them to get lost and mind their own business.
Suggested Reaction: Give them a big smile and monosyllabic answers. Sooner or later, they’d feel the awkward silence in between questions and stop bugging you. Or if you want to, you could gladly entertain their questions and make a new friend in the process.
I bet you’ve met one or two (or all) of these types of people in jeepneys before, that is if you’re a serial commuter like I am. Some may be unpleasant. Others may be downright annoying. But you can’t deny, there are many colorful and quite interesting peeps inside jeepneys.