The basics of human communication, as applied to toll booth operators

There are a few basics to talking to people, or so we're told. Always smile. Always make eye contact. Always acknowledge their presence. Always thank them for their time.

Well, that's basic enough, I assume. I mean, that's how we expect to be talked to, right? Unless we're looking up something on our phones to aid the conversation, or we're looking out the window wistfully for effect, or we're not in the right frame of mind.

I've been driving a lot more than usual lately. (Wait, that sentence feels badly constructed.) I don't always get the e-Pass, so I have to go through the long lines at the C5 toll booths and actually pay with money. A hundred and twenty-two bucks, already set aside, a necessary delay before you leave home or the office, that sort of thing.

No tailgating, the sign says, and I do just that. I must seem weird to the drivers behind me.

Half a minute later, I finally reach the toll booth. This was last night, around fifteen past eleven, after a longer than usual - and more intense than usual - meeting somewhere in Pasig's back streets. That whole half-minute delay thing was weird, yes, and since I was half fighting sleep and half laughing over Papa Jack, it slightly peeved me.

So I pull up, open the window, and - since I was just entering the highway - I didn't give my money out. I was just reaching for a card. And now, the basics of human communication, as applied to toll booth operators.


Reach out for the card.

Make eye contact.

"Thank youuuu!"

I left the toll booth, closed the window, and realized I might have been flirty. Damn it. I might have been too flirty! And I chuckled as I tried not to get hit by a truck as I approached the highway.

And your responses...

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