Riders, or Why We Should All be Maarte

While they’re a thing with celebrities like rock stars and other celebrities, riders aren’t really a thing with us regular folk.

From Wiktionary: definition of “rider”

A singer could have a rider that says she’ll eat only vegan food or her dressing room must be completely white. Some of these requests (demands) range from necessary to frivolous.

I like the idea of having a rider because I believe in boundaries and having standards.

For instance, several years ago after reading a certain news item, I decided I would never ride on a Cebu Pacific flight ever again. I’ve turned down job opportunities because I wouldn’t compromise on this. One time I was supposed to fly to somewhere with a bunch of other people for a job and my client suggested that I could pay the extra cost to upgrade my cebuPac ticket to PAL using my own money.

Fortunately they realized we would be at risk of arriving late if we flew with a carrier that was famous for their flights being late, so they just decided everyone was flying PAL.

(Also AirAsia offers cheap flights too so I use them during the times I couldn’t afford PAL. Hey did you know they accept Paypal payments? I found out only a few years ago just before the pandemic started when I had to flee the fallout from Taal’s volcanic activity which made the air full of particles so toxic we needed to wear masks. That’s why when the pandemic hit, I already had a bunch of n95 masks on hand. But I digress. Sorry.)

Anyway my point is, having a rider for your life can make your life better. It’s especially important now with COVID still around. In fact, at this point in the pandemic, I have a couple more items to add to my rider:

  • No eating indoors in restaurants. If we still have to be masked when indoors (and we absolutely should) there’s no reason for me to believe it’s okay to take my mask off to eat. The virus isn’t going to give me a break just because I’m having lunch. I do recognize that some folks do not have the privilege of staying home all day and just getting pho delivered wherever they’re craving it. But I do, so only outdoor eating out for me until this blows over (I’m going to pretend to be optimistic and say the pandemic will end someday despite the US being quite happy to be the world’s Petrie dish for developing new and exciting COVID variants. God bless America.)
  • Stay away from antivaxxers. This one needs no explanations.
  • No swimming in public pools. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the loud annoying children in the Marriott who convinced me that I did not want to go near the pool years before I found out how gross they were.
  • Jasmine rice whenever possible. I’m more flexible on this but man once you’ve had only jasmine rice for a couple of weeks, you’re suddenly too good for any other rice.

Pinoys have this culture of shaming you for being “maarte”. Suspiciously enough, it’s mostly reserved for people who are not rich. Like, unless you’re an heiress to an hacienda, you should be grateful for what you’re offered. If you’re happy to eat lunch al fresco with flies buzzing around, you’re “cowboy” and therefore better than the stuck up snob who left to find a jollibee. We should be grateful to have any boyfriend even if he shows up on your days looking like he just rolled out of bed and grudgingly put on a pair of shoes while you’re there in a dress that took you an hour to pick out in makeup that took you the same amount of time to apply.

If by “maarte” they mean we “have standards” then by God let us all be maarte. Find that rider and make sure everyone in your life knows about it.

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