1. I quit driving since 1995 so I could use my long 3 hour commute, sometime longer, depending on traffic going, and back from work, so I will spend that time on the bus reading books, rather than worrying, and getting frustrated with traffic, not to say saving some money in the process, and what it was better, enjoying reading so many books. 🙂

    1. That’s really great – maximise one’s time, learn new stuff, enjoy a good read and so forth.

      Good for you 🙂

      Have a great weekend ahead,

  2. Yikes! Glad I spend my commutes crocheting, doing science outreach, writting, and sometimes working. I would hate to think of that time as just lost 😖

    1. Hello Jess,

      Looks like you got it all planned well. Admirable.

      Thank you for your visit and comment,

      Hours spent on commutes
      Fertile time when employed well
      Choose your seed. Good luck!

      Every day, Florence spent about an hour commuting to work and she always crocheted something or other for her two children, even after they became adults.

      Over the years Florence became a celebrity of sorts and her fellow passengers, mostly women, would engage her in conversations regarding her crochets. A shy individual, she soon warmed to strangers and proved herself generous with giving crocheting tips. When a question stumped, she would promise to look into it, experiment, and the next time she met the person, offer her answer. She became very knowledgeable in crocheting

      Then one day, Florence met a woman who proved thoroughly inquisitive. She plied Florence with numerous questions which, to her credit, Florence answered in a calm confident manner.

      That woman met Florence a second time, again on the train. She was a book publisher. She commissioned Florence to write a book on crocheting. The book went on to become a bestseller.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  3. This takes me back to the simple thought of living close to work, or having the ability to do so. It’s crazy how the housing markets have risen, thus, giving people no other option but to commute to work.

    I don’t think it’s a conscious choice of wanting to waste time on the freeway each day. But unless salaries go up substantially or housing costs drop, this issue won’t change. And, as your title implies, the rat race has to take a toll on health, which is unfortunate. It also takes time away from family. So, any time with family becomes quality rather than quantity.

    Great haiku, Eric. You weave much truth into such few words each time you write.

    Have a good day, my friend…

    1. Hello Lauren, dear friend,

      I’ve been quite busy all week and only now catching up… but I know you always say, no stress, take your time 🙂

      All your observations are valid. No one wishes to waste time. With holidays, getting there is half the fun but not when commuting to work. And the rat race does exact a toll.

      Thank you for your kind words re my haiku.

      All good wishes ahead, dear friend

      Businesses stay put
      Sub-divisions move farther
      Commutes grow longer

      It was a four hour commute to and from her office in the city but Annamma, a new citizen from India, had to supplement the family income.

      To maximise her travel and collect some cash, she shopped in the city for spices and groceries, not available in the stores, for Asian and Indian families in her neighbourhood. She presented receipts and charged a small percentage for her service. These detours cost her some time but she was pleased with the returns.

      Then the recession hit, she lost her job, and knew that the chances of landing another job were slim.

      Leveraging on her existing home delivery service, she sold her car, bought a van, and reached out to more homes in her neighbourhood. The orders started trickling in and within a year, the money was reasonable and she was spending more than fourteen hours a day on her business—similar to the hours spent on her city job but much more fulfilling.

      She incorporated a company, employed people, and expanded her business to include more neighbourhoods.

      She had found more than a business. She had found her calling.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

      1. Hi Eric, yes, don’t ever worry about reading my posts. I always get behind in reading blogs; it’s a never-ending battle. 🙂 Anyway, great haiku, and wonderful story with a happy ending. My preferred kind of ending, too! Have a great weekend!

  4. I never think of a commute as lost time. It is time I can listen to the news or read on my iPad. It is more an extension of my private time.

    1. Hello Michelle,

      You’re right – it all depends on how one wishes to utilize one’s time.


      Ear plugs in, eyes shut
      Daily I traverse the worlds
      Wonderful journeys

      The company Mabel joined was highly structured.

      And two years into her customer service job, the HR lady took ill in the midst of a recruitment drive, and Mabel found herself shortlisting candidates and conducting interviews. A year later when the marketing manager missed his connecting flight home, Mabel stepped up and pitched the advertisement campaign with such panache that the client signed on the dotted line. And when the bean counters could not reconcile the numbers she scanned the ledgers and spotted the offending line of entry.

      ‘How do you do it?’ asked Jonathan Bright, the new CEO. ‘I went through your profile and your training is in customer service.’

      ‘I ride the trains daily, Mr Bright, and use the time to study, read books, and journals. Anything to expand my horizons,’ said Mabel.

      ‘Well, I’m looking for a Chief of Staff for the CEO’s office,’ said Jonathan Bright. ‘It’s a new position and the person will be working closely with my PA. I can’t think of anyone else who has a good grip of how each department operates.’

      ‘You mean?’

      ‘That’s right, Mabel. That’s what I mean.’ And Jonathan Bright gave a wide smile.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  5. Dear Eric,

    An eye-opening poem there, my friend. And by the above comments, there appears to be a myriad of solutions to such travel, especially whilst driving. Books on tape are always a good idea. (Do they still make tape?…)

    Your haiku does, though, point out the preponderance of time spent hauling our tired souls to work. If only we could always work at home.

    warmest wishes,
    Paul 🙂

    1. Dear Paul,

      Have been rather busy all week and hence my late response.

      I believe for some service industries, working from home is a definite possibility. But old habits die hard. Many business owners have this overwhelming fear that staff will malinger and this combined with their need for control stifles work-from-home initiatives.

      Nevertheless, there are many industries that do not allow work-from-home: construction and manufacturing, logistics and transportation, to name a few.

      All good wishes, my dear friend,
      Eric 🙂

      Business trail blazers
      Afraid to attempt new modes
      Locked in comfort zones

      ‘You’ve built a thriving business, HomeMakers, and employ mostly home-makers,’ said the TV interviewer. ‘Share with our viewers the secret for your success.’

      ‘Well, I approach it as any cottage industry of old. Back then, women made mittens or whatever for the local store who then sold the wares and split the profits.’

      ‘But HomeMakers is a service provider,’ said the interviewer, ‘you write articles for magazines.’

      ‘Same difference. The prerequisites are confidence in oneself and trust in your staff. And clear timelines for deliverables. Know your business as well or better than your staff. By that I mean, know what it takes and how long it takes to write articles.’

      ‘Can you elaborate?’

      ‘Sure. I once took an assignment in a small business. The owner wanted me to write three articles a day, well researched with deep links to authoritative sources, and complete with photo images that I had to source from the internet. Plus the articles must be SEO optimized.’

      ‘Three articles a day?’

      ‘Yes, and at least 500 hundred words each. Obviously, the man has never written an article in his life. But just because he was paying me a salary, just above minimum wages by the way, he was demanding; and unreasonably so. I quit after one week. But the upside was, that stint drove me to launch HomeMakers. I know how long it takes to write the type of articles we deliver to our clients. As long as my staff deliver the quality and on time, I don’t care how much time they take.’

      ‘And how much time do they take?’

      ‘Some take a normal working week to write one deep article. Others do so in half the time or less. But they all get paid the same.’

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  6. If only we can “apparate” like Harry Porter’s magical beings or teleport as in science fiction, transportation will go out of business. But it is also a scary thought, because there are those who can commit crime and disappear instantly.

    1. Wow! Your utopian mind is on overdrive, Windy dear.

      Special hugz for you 🙂

      That will be the way to go, a flick of a button and we’re off to wherever. But it can also be scary. Think lost baggage—or worse, someone else retrieving and walking away with your bags.

      Got you thinking, I hope 🙂 Check out the flash that follows.


      Utopia tempts
      Reality lags behind
      A matter of time

      Mapiko brimmed with enthusiasm and pride as he stood beside the capsule, which looked like a shower booth, and addressed the five men gathered in his laboratory in Singapore. These five, who had a net worth of ten billion dollars, were the foremost venture capitalists in the world.

      ‘The subject enters the booth,’ said Mapiko, ‘selects the long-and-lat coordinates of his destination on a keyboard, and hits a button. As simple as riding an elevator. And he is off, to wherever he wishes to be teleported.’

      ‘What is the science behind this?’ said one VC.

      ‘The science is complex but put simply, the subject’s molecules disengage, get teleported, and reengage on the other side,’ said Mapiko. ‘The future has arrived gentlemen. My partner and co-designer, Professor Koyoh, is standing by in London in another capsule. Watch.’

      Mapiko made a call over his hand phone, and said, ‘Professor Koyoh will be here soon.’

      Mist filled the capsule and when it cleared a man appeared. As clapping erupted among the select group, Mapiko stepped forward and shook hands with Koyoh.

      Mapiko’s eyes widened in horror but Koyoh seemed dazed and unsure.

      ‘What’s wrong with his eyes?’ asked a VC.

      ‘And his skin, his clothes,’ said another VC.

      ‘Looks like he is covered in grit,’ said a third VC. He stepped back prompting the rest to back off too, as if from the plague.

      The vacuum protocol had failed.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

  7. Makes you ponder the meaning of our everyday activities doesn’t it? Fairly easy to do research and study on an airplane commute between cities or even in the waiting rooms. Much harder to do it hanging onto a handle standing on a commuter bus though isn’t it? I have seen students in Korea with their nose buried in a study book going to school and coming home from the universities standing and holding onto that strap with their other hand supporting a study book up near their eyes in the dim light at 9pm.Time is a gift we can use even under the most unideal circumstances. 🙂

    1. Hello Ian,

      You’re right, we can’t escape everyday activities other than to review and lessen or discard those which we can do less of or without. Commuting is a given for most people and the time spent can be maximised.

      Have a great weekend,

      It’s how one spends time
      And not how much time we have
      A gift not squandered

      The only time Rui got to study was on the bus to and from school. He considered himself lucky as his village was near the bus terminal and he was always assured of a seat. The ride back in the mid-afternoon was during off-peak period and quite often he managed to find a seat.

      Once home, he would have his lunch and iron his school uniform for the following day – his mother having laundered the clothes before leaving to help his father – and head to the hawker stall to assist his parents. Dinner time was the busiest part of the day and his parents needed the extra pair of hands.

      But his father will let Rui off by ten so that he can have a quick shower and work on his school homework before going to sleep at midnight, about the time his parents returned.

      His day, and his parents’, would start again at six in the morning.

      But Rui considered himself lucky. There was always food on the table and he always got a seat on the bus.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

      1. Hello Ian,

        When writing Mechanic Leigh, I discovered that you and I (including many other readers of my blog) shared a somewhat similar childhood.

        Yes, back in the old days we all had our morning and afternoon chores to attend to – with school wedged in-between.

        My routine was to draw water from the well and fill the barrels in the morning to help my mother with her washing. After school, I tended the chicken in our small backyard farm. Weekends were for washing and whitening the white canvas shoes for my siblings and myself, and marketing for my mother at the wet market.

        LOL! Those were the days 🙂

  8. Sadly true, although the public transport commuter can read and those who drive can listen to the radio or books on tape, while those on bicycles or foot are exercising! So the time is not competely lost..

    1. Spot on, Jane dear.

      It is not how much time we spend on commuting, but how we spend it.

      Hope you’re having a great week,

      Time not to be blamed
      Spent time, or invested time
      We decide, we reap

      The drive to his office was about thirty minutes and as soon as Steven slipped behind his steering wheel, he would get into business mode, mulling the emails and outstanding issues of the day before. By the time he reached his office, he had considered all his options and would push open the glass door, ready to take on the world.

      Haiku: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

    1. Hello Rab 🙂

      Unfortunately, for most people it is true.

      All good wishes,

      One cannot hoard time
      Maximise it or waste it
      Enough time for all

      Martha takes the tube to work. As soon as she boards the train, she’ll whip out her handheld and log onto Facebook. Her thousands of “friends” kept her glued. She too posted her life on Facebook, right down to photo images of her daily meals. And she updated her status by the moment: “on the train – the guy next to me wears a cool deodorant – OMG, the woman sitting opposite me is so fat…” were some of her more cerebral posts.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

    1. Hello Sarah,

      You’re right. If that time is not spent well, it is lost.

      Trust the week has been good,

      Use it or lose it
      Money does not buy, it saves
      Time enough for all

      ‘Make every hour count,’ said Mac.

      ‘That’s what I do, Mac,’ said Mitch.

      He was getting tired with his older brother’s proselytizing. A year older and Mac thought he knew it all. If only he were not bigger and stronger, Mitch would have brought this conversation to an end.

      ‘Three hours in daily commute; eight hours of beauty sleep, though it does you no good,’ said Mac, and he ruffled Mitch’s hair.

      ‘Leave me be, I tell you.’

      ‘Or what? What will you do?’ said Mac, and Mitch fell silent. Satisfied he had his kid brother’s attention, Mac continued,

      ‘Another three hours spent on the pedestal, bathing, and brushing, and eating and chores. Though your room looks and smells like a sty. What does that make, fourteen hours?’

      ‘And two hours listening to you,’ added Mitch.

      ‘Smart guy, eh?’ said Mac, and he slapped the back of Mitch’s head. ‘This is not time wasted, it’s time invested.’

      ‘Yeah, I can feel my pockets bulging with dough.’

      ‘Hey, you’re getting warm,’ said Mac. ‘Time is money, bud.’

      He gave Mitch’s head another light slap and took off.

      Mitch watched with relief as his brother disappeared round the street corner. He muttered,

      ‘Thanks, bud.’

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

      1. Oh dear. How often does Mac provide these little pep talks? I can see why Mitch might be a little fed up. Such a great sibling relationship you paint here.

    1. Hello Jane 🙂

      You’re right. We have to be mindful of how we spend our time and energy.

      Thank you for your hugz – coming right back to you, buddy.


      Not good, and not bad
      All energy is neutral
      Make the most of it

      Aunty Mary—as the staff addressed the elderly office cleaner—had a soft spot for Halima, the office manager.

      Halima was a fastidious person who made life hell for everyone in the office and miserable for herself.

      But Aunty Mary saw beyond Halima’s ready red anger. She was a single mother and had broken many glass walls and ceilings to get to her current position. What was more, she did not possess a college education and there were many better positioned contenders after her job. Her hijab did not help. She feared losing her job.

      One late evening, Aunty Mary spied Halima sobbing in the pantry. They hugged. They did not exchange words but simply hugged.

      Aunty Mary knew that at least for the next few days, peace and happiness will prevail in the office.

      Haiku & Story: Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

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