It's January again. Many people make the effort to change their lives at this time of year. They consider January as the opportune time to start anew with regard to relationships, attitude, habits and other idiosyncrasies. The events of the past serve as their guide to perhaps a better present. As a result people make ‘new year resolutions' to hopefully improve their lives. Years ago I made one resolution that ended up giving me so much happiness.
Guess what my resolution was? Was it to read more of "Chicken Soup for the Soul", to get more inspiration from Kahlil Gibran? Was it to bet on the lotto or sweepstakes so that if I won I could achieve instant wealth and happiness? Sorry my friend - you're way off the mark. My resolution was simple. I just decided to handle bus tickets with more care.
In the past I never paid any importance to my environment. Whenever I rode buses, I would crumple up bus tickets. I would play with them like a ball, fold them into a paper plane and let them fly. Sometimes I would fold the ticket into a neat triangle and insert it into the back of someone's seat. But I guess I'm not the only one who does this right?
Anyway I talked to respectable people I knew but to my surprise, the people I expected to lead by example revealed they were doing even crazier things. People said that they even used bus tickets to wrap chewing gum or as toothpicks. But there is one person I really admire, Jowett, a member of a successful British rock/indie band. Let me quote from his internet blog.
"I do collect something, bus tickets, although I've only been able to admit this recently. ‘I just keep them' and ‘I'm not really a proper collector, so to speak'. That was how it started. I'll just keep the ticket. I'll just keep another. I don't know why, but there was something appealing about the workings of the bus service around here. I think I'm beginning to get to the route of all my problems. This is gold for a psychiatrist. Although I'm adamant that nothing is wrong with me. To collect tickets is a fine collection, indeed, and one I'm proud to admit to. At least until they become valuable and I can sell my 2001 ticket for a small fortune sometime in the future when I'll probably need that money for rent."
In Thailand, I have changed the way I handle bus tickets. I don't want to make clean buses dirty or messy. I've realized that I need to handle bus tickets with care. That realization dawned on me the day after I lost my passport. How did that happen I hear you ask?
Well, I went to Chatuchak Weekend Market to buy a shirt for a school activity and I took bus 104. Upon reaching Chatuchak, I got off the bus with my passport in my shoulder bag. I then spent nearly an hour in the crowded market finding the shirt that I wanted.
Later on, I reached for my bag to look for some money - but the bag was gone. I suddenly felt panicky. I retraced my steps but to no avail. I couldn't find my bag anywhere. I had a sneaking suspicion that my bag had been snatched.
In a last desperate attempt to locate the bag, I went to Morchit Bus Station to try and find the 104 bus that I had come in on. I still had the bus ticket in my pocket and I showed it to the kindly lady at the BTMA information counter. She then contacted the actual driver of that bus and lo and behold - the driver had found it! I was told to go to the bus garage in Pak Kret to collect my belongings. What an amazing stroke of luck!
That resolution that I made years ago made me more careful with my bus tickets. And without that number 104 bus ticket, there is every chance my bag and passport would have been lost forever.
My American friend told me that he always puts bus tickets in the same pocket so that he never gets into a fluster when an inspector comes on board to check tickets. So every time I'm on a bus, I make it a point to keep tickets in a safe place. I always have it ready for inspection. I keep my bus tickets not only for the bus inspector, but for my own use. Who knows when I might lose something on the bus. It's happened to me once, who knows when and if it could happen again. Does lightning strike twice? You bet it can.
So "may I see your ticket, please?"