Amang-amang Angkot and I

“Being me, it will not be white.
But it will be a part of you, instructor.
You are white–
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
As I learn from you,
I guess you ulearn from me…”

  • “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes

It was 16.53. I was sitting in the driver’s seat of angkot “Cileunyi-Jatinangor” when my patience began to fizzle. Not only did I have to struggle to secretly cover my nose from the unavoidable smoke of the amang-amang driver, but also I had been waiting for almost 30 minutes! In an angkot! My destination was to Dunkin Donuts, and it was located a bit far from the main gate of my uni, so angkot was my preference instead of foot.

The next 7 minutes, right before my mind forced me to get out and walk instead, this thought came across me. And that was where everything changed.

I heard the amang driver shouted “nangor” or “jatos” a couple of times with an exaggerated voice. I saw him lol his head out of the window and did what he had to do. Some times, other drivers staying by (also perhaps waiting for their turn) approached him and talked gibberish, not realizing that I had wasted more of my time as watching they two talk.

A random uneasy feeling invaded me, and I began to fiddle with my smartphone, re-re-reviewing a collection of my photos to avoid looking like some kind of loser or like a weirdo or something. Until the passengers sitting on the back-side of the car, perhaps fed up, decided to go offboard and choose another more available vehicle. I grew impatient as he turned off the car engine.

Five or seven minutes later, the car started to bulk up. As one and then another passenger seemed to walk toward the angkot, I smiled nonchalantly, but the wait was just horrible. I got angrier as the amang cried out the same word over and over again, as loudly as possible, feeling as though he people he shouted at would pay him any mind. But they, of course, just did not.

However, the more he shouted, the more I somehow became sympathetic to him. At the umpteenth shoutings, I could feel his disappointment not only on not being attended, but also on how much optimism he had exerted through his shoutings. I suddenly imagined his worriness, as he returned home and met his family, and didn’t put his best effort into his occupation.

On the other hand, what I never thought of was the fact that the amang driver does not just experience it once in his life. Being an angkot driver, who had to “narik” and withdraw as many people as possible, regarding the long distance that the angkot will go through, every day, every night, in fact he must experience that, no matter what. That same disappointment; that same pent-up feelings, that same worriness and anxiety. Meanwhile, I was judging all those things in just 7 minutes or so, which was nothing more compared to his struggle and his battle.

I then, questioned myself: who is, or should be, more impatient? Me or him?

Now that I already know the question, I must pose one last thing: I have nothing, indeed, to complain.

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