Thursday, February 22, 2001


I was supposed to pick up my girlfriend ILYN from work at Alabang today. It's usually no sweat. It's usually a comfortable 1 hour or so commute from our house to her office, in which time I'd be riding 1 tricycle, 2 jeeps and a bus. I was supposed to pick her up at 2pm, so I left the house at 11am. Why so early? Because I hate being late for appointments. Some of my drawing work may be late, but that's only because I sometimes go overboard with the details and sometimes I redo drawings altogether if I wasn't totally happy with them. But when it comes to appointments and meetings with people, I HATE being late. And I hate it even more when people I'm supposed to meet are late, and when they do arrive an hour later, they act as if nothing's happened. I HATE that.

Anyhow, after 3O minutes of travelling by bus from San Pablo to Alabang traffic suddenly stopped and refused to move. We were told by some ambulant vendors that there was a town fiesta several barangays ahead. I thought, shit! Fiesta means monstrous traffic. And it started to rain. But I wasn't worried. I was early. I had plenty of time. I even briefly planned on passing by Tower Records first at Alabang before going to my GF's office. Forty five minutes and a few meters later, I started to get pissed and annoyed. I was going to be late! I can't be late! After hemming and hawing for 10 or so minutes, I said fuck it. I got off and started walking. I had an umbrella, but the highway shoulders were really muddy. The mud lost no time in happily attaching to my pants and shoes. After walking for some 15 minutes, sweaty, hot and wet, I reached the town that was having the fiesta and I resisted the urge to go berserk and curse everyone for causing me such misery.

The traffic started to clear so I hopped on the nearest Alabang bus. And we were off! Not 5 minutes later we were stuck again. Double shit!! I resisted the urge to get down again because we were moving, albeit slowly. But when my watch hit 1:15, I knew I just HAD To get down and start walking again. This time the rain was harder and the roads muddier, but I didn't care. I got out of there quick and started to walk. The driver and conductor couldn't believe I was going to walk. After walking for some 15 minutes, I finally saw another bus, and just in time too because traffic started to ease up again. I ran for it! But as soon as I'd pull almost next to the bus, the traffic would move, this time faster, and I was left behind. This happened a couple of times until I was TOTALLY left behind as the traffic finally cleared completely and vehicles started whipping past me. In no time at all the 2nd bus I had left caught up with me. I thought, Oh SHIT, how embarrassing! The driver, conductor and other passengers would be bound to recognize me and start laughing. I tried not to look at them as they passed. But they stopped and they honked the horn at me. The door opened and I saw the conductor gesture me inside. Gad, how embarrassing. But I was in a hurry and not having any other options, I sheepishly got inside.

I collapsed in the seat that I had sat in previously, wet, tired, pissed, embarrassed and dirty. I looked at my watch and it was 1:30. If this bus is fast, I can still reach Alabang in 20 minutes. I'll be late, but that's still acceptable. And just as the we were off again, the bus stopped for gas. SHIT! 5 minutes wasted there. Damn. I just figured I'd get a taxi once I'm in Alabang instead of the usual jeep so I can get to Ilyn's office quickly. We arrived at Alabang at 1:15. By this time I was on pins and needles. I imagined Ilyn pacing angrily back and forth wondering what the hell happened to me. I looked for a taxi, but none came. One passed by, but the driver refused to take passengers. OK, I'll take the jeep then! No jeeps. Now what? A tricycle pulled by and offered to take me as far as Alabang Town Center, which was OK since it's on the way to the office and there jeeps are easier to come by. Once there I hopped on a jeep. Deep inside me I was jumping up and down trying to telepathize the driver to drive faster. As soon as we started going, the jeep stopped for gas. FUCK! Shit! Damn it! What the fuck is going on???! What is this? A fucking conspiracy? Let's get the fuck going God damn it!! This time I just couldn't contain myself. I wasn't shouting of course, but I was loudly groaning and the other passengers started to look at me funny. At the very last stoplight we had a red light, and this time I just couldn't take it anymore. I got off and started running. God damn it all! I wasn't going to be late much more!!

At the end of it all, I was 30 minutes late. The latest I ever was on ANY appointment.

The rest of the day went well. We had a late lunch, watched Pay It Forward (which I liked), and went home. And here I am writing it down.