Sometimes, I think people are inherently selfish. Let me specify: that each person has a mean streak waiting to be unleashed.

It was the long weekend and I was finally going home after a month of school and restlessness. If it’s not sembreak or summer break, I usually commute by taking the bus. Back in college, I took a tryke from inside Ateneo, walked to the front of the LRT station, and finally rode a jeepney to the Ali Mall bus station. It was tiring, especially during the afternoons and the travel to the bus station itself would discourage me from going home (especially if I had so much stuff to bring, like school books – which I never read anyway).

Now, I take a cab ride from in front of the village to the bus stop in Buendia. It’s a lot more convenient, but it’s also a lot more expensive. My mom has been telling me that there’s a jeepney route from Guadalupe to Buendia, but I’ve never bothered to try it because I’m afraid to get lost (which always happens). The problem with cab rides, however, is that if you don’t know the streets or exact route, the driver can take you for a spin first in order to increase the fare. I’m always wary of these drivers, and I always feel as if the driver is purposely taking wrong turns so that I’ll pay more because it’s patently obvious that I don’t know where I’m going.

Last Friday, I took a cab ride. It was late, a little after 6PM, and I was tired. Traffic was excruciatingly horrible and we passed by streets I swear I’ve never seen before. Then I noticed that we were passing familiar train tracks, which, according to my calculation, we should have passed way earlier. It was almost an hour before we reached the bus station, and the fare was Php 180. A trip that normally cost around Php 80 more than doubled! Needless to say, I was not in my best mood.

When I handed the driver Php200, he refused to give me change. “Wala na yun, lugi naman ako sa traffic eh.” Normally, I’d let these things go. Even if I felt annoyed, I’d just shut up and let them have the extra money. But that night, I couldn’t keep silent. I told him, in a snide snippy voice, “Okay lang yan kuya, malaki rin naman nakuha ‘nyo eh.”

I felt that he thought it was okay to get more money because I was a spoiled little girl who could just throw away money for cab fares. I always feel angry when cab drivers think like this – and you know when they think like you’re not entitled to your change because you have enough money and they need the extra cash. Sometimes I want to hurl at them, “Kuya, pare-pareho lang naman tayong naghihirap kumita ng pera eh.”

So I don’t earn the money. But my parents do. And I’m thankful that they give me enough to offer me a little luxury, like taking cab rides. And I hate it when the drivers think that I should just give them the money because I don’t need it as bad as they do.

After I told off that particular cab driver, I hurriedly got my stuff and walked away. I wasn’t fast enough, though, not to notice his silence after my little speech. And then I felt bad, because maybe I was wrong about him trying to squeeze extra money from me. And maybe he was right that the traffic was just that horrendous that we had to go through different routes. And I felt bad about lashing out at him – because he was just working and trying to earn a decent living.

And because I let my mean streak get ahead of me. And by doing so, I became the exact spoilt, entitled bitch he imagined me to be.