“SOME NIGHTS OUT ON THE ROAD” in “LIFE IN THE TIMES OF CORONA: On A Mass Exile”

  • April 6, 2021, 2:42 a.m.
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(*This was written on January 2021):

I must say, I used to travel alone at night, out on the road. I’ve had jobs with odd or unusual working hours.

For example, your 9-to-5 is actually my 12-to-8 these days. The good thing is, I may not always have to wake up super early for that. (Of course, unless there’s a freelance thing that I have to finish.)

There are other great things about having to #WFO (Work From Office). For me, it helps to cure my boredom. Of course, I’m still wary of my surroundings. I still have to wear my mask and keep my safe distance from people every time I go out.

No more handshakes and high-fives, unless from a few feet away. No more hugs either.

I know. Quite depressing, eh?

Other things include more chances to be out and about again. Of course, this also means lack of proper sleep and rest – since the travel time may take 1.5 hours there and another back.

These days are crazy and hard. I’m not going to lie or pretend I’m always tough.

Still, at least I only need to actually go to work twice a week. The rest is still done at home.

I still allocate some time to write, though, no matter how busy I am. I don’t think I could really enjoy living without writing anything.

So, how have my #WFO days have been so far?

Honestly? It was exhausting, but that’s to be expected after almost a year of staying mostly indoors. At least I’ve got to experience some other nights out on the road.

The first night I called a cab home, the driver was chatty. We had quite a decent, impersonal talk about general stuff. He said he’d been rather worried about the effectiveness of the vaccine and more.

Most of the time, I responded politely and as short as possible. It was already late at night, out on the road. I was already too tired to put up my usually cold, steely front. Besides, the guy was probably in need of another person to talk to. Being on the road all day can sometimes get really lonely.

The second night, the cab driver was nicer. Why? He understood that I was hungry. He suggested that we stop by first at a place that was still open that night. (You know, despite the social distancing and all.)

When we stopped by at that place for a while, I suddenly turned to the driver and asked him: “Sir, have you had dinner already?”

“Uh, no.” He sounded hesitant. “Why?”

“Would you like some fried rice and eggs too for your dinner?” I offered. I imagined it would be a long journey home for him too.

“It’s up to you.” I understood. He didn’t want me to think that he was taking an advantage of my (rare) generosity.

However, I could tell that he was also hungry that night. I imagined it must have been hours since his lunchtime.

So I did. I ordered another takeout and a bottled drink just for him. He accepted both with a gaping mouth.

“Uh, thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” I said with a smile. “Okay, carry on.”

I got home feeling lightheaded that night. Perhaps I was just tired. It had been ages since I last traveled that far.

R.


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