I drive myself to work and to my appointments every day. What I go through daily—from my house to the office—to contribute to the country’s GDP:
Just past our neighborhood’s guardhouse, I stop at the intersection not because there’s a traffic light, but because a tricycle is right smack at the corner, loading passengers. I steer away from it even if I end up cutting corners.
The traffic light at the main village intersection looms—it’s green. Lucky. So I step on the gas and, just at that precise second, two motorcycles flit across my path. In my mind, I zap them into thin air.
Before I hit the national road, there’s another intersection—no traffic light, just the traffic aide manning it today, more specifically, the village idiot (sorry, I don’t mean to be insulting, just honest) who’s again showing off his latest dance and pantomime moves. I can’t quite figure out if he’s telling me to stop or proceed.
After a slow drive out of the main subdivision—during the morning rush hour, it takes 30 minutes to exit our subdivision—I hit the national road, where—but of course!—there is a mammoth mall at the corner. More mall traffic aides stop traffic to allow the pedestrians (target shoppers) to cross the road.
Finally, I hit the Skyway. Bliss! I speak too soon. There’s a pileup at the pay toll. Minor inconvenience. Driving on the Skyway (or Slex, Nlex) is my forte. At 80 or 100 kph is when story ideas come to mind, because I’m truly alone—until a bus zigzags away from the bus lane onto your fast lane, or, a vehicle ahead of you cruises way below 50 kph.
Urbanites have yet to know what speed limit means. National Artist Rolando Tinio was right when he said that a license must be required of Filipinos—just to step out of the house, since they’re potential public hazards.
Then you exit into Makati. The main adventure. You have right of way—which a taxi takes away from you as it air-kisses your bumper. Zap! A bus, no, make that two buses, sardine you. Size is… evil! (I have a friend who once, on a road rage, a justifiable rage, blocked a bus, got out of her car and hit the front of the bus with her—umbrella.)
But you manage to slip past the buses, alongside the bikes coming from your left, right, across you, like flies drawn to the aroma of garlic. Zap! Gotcha!
Then, just when you think you have re-appropriated your space, a jeepney stops right smack at your nose to load up passengers. The king of the road is taking his sweet time. Grin and bear it? No, zap to bits!
You hit the main city road—a two-lane affair that tries to expand to a four-lane miracle, with more bikes and pedestrians co-opting spaces. And that’s not counting the occasional peanut vendor.
There’s a half-a-vehicle space between you and the car in front. You keep that because you still remember what your dad taught you—never tailgate. But another car tries to squeeze itself into that hairline space just to get ahead of you. Forget daddy.
My daily commute is the ultimate video game on my mind. I want to zap them all. Blast! Ka-boom!
And that’s even when I don’t take Edsa.