8/01/2011
A lesson on road rage

I'm not the best driver in the world, so I tend to get excited when I manage to make my way around some moderately-confusing road situations. Say, yesterday, a rainy Sunday, where the slippery roads and the weekend crowd converge to make a guy like me quiver.

Why was I on the road anyway? All I wanted was to get a haircut and buy myself a toothbrush. (And, as it turned out, a David Cook CD, a copy of GQ with Mila Kunis on the cover, and two packs of Yakult.) And I was stuck at home for quite a while now, so I somehow itched to get out. So I was surprised when my dad virtually allowed me to use the car to head to the mall. I've done it before, but the gap between then and now doesn't mean I'm a really good driver now. But I'm getting a bit better.

So there I was, driving along Alabang-Zapote Road, dealing with road works (they still exist) and slower than usual vehicles and the fact that I'm on the innermost lane when I'm supposed to be turning right. I was a bit wary, really, because who knows what might happen? Filipino drivers are civilized for the most part, but when worst comes to worst, things get pretty bad quickly. Which goes for everybody else, I presume, but then again, I've never driven a car in Singapore.

I was at the intersection, and the traffic enforcer was waving at us, asking us to move. The traffic light did say go, so I stepped on the pedal and went, slowly veering to the outermost lane so I could turn right with ease. I somehow did it.

I know, I know, the situation isn't the end of the world, but I found myself making a fist pump. I was quite glad.

I tend to talk to myself while driving. It's like I have my own driving instructor, keeping things in check. "Check your rear mirror, Nicksy," I said, and I knew nobody was approaching behind me, so I changed lanes, flicked on the signal lights, and turned right. That was easy. "Sometimes you just know what you're doing," I say, and then I flick on the signal light again, and turn left. And then I'm grinning.

But I'm not the best driver in the world. I still struggle with a few things. Sure, "who doesn't?" but people my age are better drivers than me. With their own cars. I'm just driving my dad's car, the one he got from the place he works with, the one I've been driving for the past year or so, whether it's a trip to the car wash or a trip to my relatives whenever my parents are out. Add to that the fact that I'm not the most patient guy in the world, and the fact that when things get so bad, I literally tremble.

It was a Sunday. A rainy Sunday. And a Sunday where families set out to watch Captain America. Simply said, there's little parking to be found.

"Full parking na po, ser," the lady that gives the parking tickets told me. "Iikot po ba kayo o aatras?"

"Iikot ako," I said, and I went in the parking lot, hoping to see some slot open up for me.

I've been in this situation before. A couple of months back, when my parents were in Europe, I had to buy some groceries, and being the only guy who can drive, I set out to the mall to do my errands. I went to two full parking areas before finding a third with one empty slot that I can use, which means I had to deal with a bunch of other drivers with their hazard lights on, waiting for that one driver to leave, so they can take that slot as their own. And me going around, being as vigilant as I can, looking for a slot I can use. Oh, and that one foreign family who stared at me as if I was a killer when I decided to back up and leave that parking lot. Those entitled bitches.

It's funny how some people manage to make things about race. Say, Phillip Sheppard and his "nigger" epithet back on Survivor: Redemption Island. Me, I manage to make things about class. It's always about people feeling more entitled than others. It's always about people who use their status or their connections to get their way, whether it be a job or a parking slot.

I was in my fourth parking lot, and I was getting pissed off. The construction work at the Alabang Town Center - more mall, less parking! - was getting to me, and the fact that cars who came after me manage to get slots before me was pissing me off. Even worse, I found a slot, only to have some vehicle come from out of nowhere and take it. Welcome to Alabang, Nicksy. You're surrounded by people who live in that posh subdivision behind you. They get everything because they must.

"Fine, get that slot, you motherfucking asshole," I said the first time.

"Fine, get that slot, you motherfucking asshole," I said the second time.

"Motherfucking asshole," I said the third time.

I spent 45 minutes looking for parking, until I finally found a slot, somewhere much farther than either the barber shop or the grocery. Not a good scenario, since it's a rainy day and I don't have an umbrella. But it's a fairly empty parking lot, which meant I can practice my reverse parking without worrying too much about maneuvering too much - I don't want to be stressed more, like the last time I struggled to park because some SUV, possibly from some rich, entitled Alabang resident, wasn't parked properly. So, go past your slot a little bit, hit reverse, turn your steering wheel to the left, and slowly back up. The next thing I know, I was aligned perfectly, but I thought I still had some way to go, since my hood hasn't aligned with the SUV beside me yet. So, I looked back, and then at my rear mirror, and slowly backed up.

Thud.

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