Passenger’s Seat Activism

by joanabagano

Except when I’m in a rush, getting stuck in a traffic jam is actually a good place for reflection. There’s something productive about seeing the world go by when I’m in a full stop compared to when I am part of the hustle and bustle, a thousand faces passing by me and not one finding its way to my long-term memory. When the cars start to slow down and bumpers become too close for comfort, my eyes look for a focal point. The busy glory of Manila is ever ready to offer something to weary but willing eyes.

The sight of homeless children is not something that one gets immune to, except by choice, and that choice could begin with a tinted, rolled-up window and a bolted door. When the traffic moves, empathy proceeds with it. The kids will stay where they are on the city’s dingy and dangerous streets, and our good intentions will go as they have come.

Guilt from a growing apathy could be the very reason I am writing this now, and not a single word would justify my inaction. I am counterintuitively trying to sound philantrophic in front of a glaring computer screen. It is telling me to quit this selfish introspection for a while, roll down my windows, get out of the car, and reach out my hands that are normally pressing keys on whatever gadget they find themselves holding. On second thought, I shouldn’t be doing this just to feel good about myself.