Why commuting makes me smile alone

Posted on November 7, 2010


Why do you commute, I am often asked, when you can drive your car?

I think it’s the journalist in me: every jeep or bus or train that I ride is a story. Amused, I even sometimes catch myself grinning alone.

A baby in front of me whose feet are bruised, her flesh exposed. (Why? What living conditions in her community led to those bruises?) A man in long sleeves beside me on the train, reading a manual for job interviews. (He seems nervous — what job is he applying for? Did the manual come from his school? What an accommodating school then!) A middle-aged woman boarding the jeep with a live chicken. (What province does she come from? Oops, that’s too assuming — just because she’s with a chicken doesn’t mean she’s from the province. But why do we, in the first place, always associate that image with people from the provinces?)

I am a journalist because I want to enjoy the stories of the world, the way I enjoy the stories of commuting. The beauty of the job, I think, is in getting myself amused at the world’s peculiarities, and also captivated by its wonders. There is, of course, blood and drama and terror and hunger…

But that’s the beauty of journalism — to plunge into emotions, to dig into stories, simply to get curious, as they say in metaphysics, to know all that there is about what there is.

“I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.” — Time co-founder Henry R. Luce (1898-1967) 

*Originally posted on my old blog, “Knock, Knock,” on April 21, 2008