Jakarta is a very angry and impatient city.
The other night, I had just arrived back from Medan, another big city, this one located in North Sumatra and with a better temper and more patient people.
I was waiting in line, hoping that the bus would come soon after a tiring day and a scary flight.
Apparently, everybody else was even more exhausted and probably had a worse flight because I heard grunts, complaints and many others unpleasant words that I can’t print here.
“Stupid buses, stupid incompetent government, they should’ve provided more buses,” a man grumbled while dragging his bag.
Then the bus came and people rushed to hop in. An elderly woman was trying to put her boxes in the overhead compartment, delaying angry passengers from finding a seat.
“Ma’am, move aside or be quick, other people want to sit down, you know,” a young man scolded her.
Then the bus reached the final stop and I hopped out. I hailed a cab and put my baggage inside.
Dozens of angry road users honked furiously, obviously unhappy that the cab was delaying their trip for five precious seconds, even though it happened at an official bus stop.
I cannot even write what some motorcyclists yelled at the poor taxi driver. Those words only belong in rap lyrics or on Ozzy Osbourne’s reality TV show.
Seriously, people, do you really need to be that irritated and angry all the time over every trivial thing? I know Jakarta’s weather is blistering and the traffic is frustrating, but that doesn’t mean you can vent at anyone, anywhere you feel like.
We hear impatient people everywhere: in the queue in front of the ATM, on toll roads and in restaurants where customers yell at the waiter if their meal is not ready within 15 minutes.
Raise your hand if you’re one of those who relentlessly honk and curse in the middle of a heavily congested street, as if by honking and cursing you could move some of the cars and make way for yourself.
Unless you’re a surgeon or a firefighter, a few seconds of delay won’t make a big difference. You are just putting extra pressure on your poor heart.
The horrible traffic, the incompetent government and the barbaric road users are not going anywhere anytime soon, pals. Screaming and cursing is not going to change anything.
In the meantime, just try to relax more and complain less. It’s better for your blood pressure.