Blocking the Driveway
As I was in the jeepney on the way home from work this evening, the jeepney driver stopped at the middle of a small road in Paco, Manila not because of traffic congestion, but because he decided to chat with the driver of another jeepney going the opposite direction. In so doing, he did not stop because the road is blocked by heavy vehicular traffic; rather, the driver caused many other vehicles behind us to stop, causing vehicular traffic congestion.
As I was thinking of the driver's lack of discipline, I could not avoid thinking of things that we also do which are quite similar to what these drivers have done. Akin to stopping at the middle of the road to chat are our day-to-day chatter with people whom we meet moving in a direction opposite that of ours.
In school and even in work, we would often meet acquaintances and colleagues going to where we have come from, and we often go beyond simply greeting them. Oftentimes, we would engage in a short chatter. We would talk about things related to work, our interests or things which are relevant to both of us. In so doing, we even forget that we are in the middle of the hallway, or that we are in the doorway. Rather, we often chat as if we are in the living room of a house.
Don't get me wrong. It is not wrong to chat. It isn't even wrong to start a conversation with an apprentice or a colleague we last met long ago even if we are at the middle of the corridor. What is wrong is for us to continue doing so without giving the passers-by a way by which they can use the route we have blocked.
This sounds simple because it really is. All we need to do is to steer away from the hustle and bustle of the doorway, of the busy hallways and of passageways we tend to block without really using them for their own purpose. In spite of this, we still find it difficult to get away of that public scene where many eyes can see, and where many ears are listening. Perhaps this is a good motivation to find a better place for a long conversation so that we do not waste the precious time of those passers by whose paths are blocked by people chatting and telling stories at the wrong place at the wrong time.