12/07/2011
I don't know where we are going now

For anybody who lives in what I'd like to call "further south" - you know, folks like me - Daang Hari is a bit of a godsend. It used to be that, to get to the Alabang area, we had to drive westward to the other side of Bacoor, then northward through Las Pi├▒as, then eastward towards your destination. Now we just turn left and go straight.

In the early days a significant chunk of the road was just two lanes wide - more an issue of land rights, if anything. You'd go past Ayala Southvale (or, in our case, get out of it), drive a quarter of a kilometer, and then see the four-lane road, complete with center island, shrink to a two-lane side road sitting beside the perimeter fence of Ayala Alabang. It would go for a kilometer or so before opening up again. Just a little quirk.

In recent years - maybe five years back, I can't recall - the road was expanded. You used to go straight to the two-lane part; now you turn slightly to the left and it remains a four-lane road, at least until the very end, when you return to the two-lane part. (I know, it sounds confusing, but there is no good way of describing this in words alone. Call me ridiculous, but I'm getting to something here.) Anyway, the two-lane part, now just a quarter of a kilometer long, stayed because there is a house at the point where the road expands. Again, I assume it's more an issue of land right. Who'd want their house be replaced by a road anyway?

This setup proved to be a pain in the ass, especially recently. Every morning there's be a big traffic jam at the point where the road shrinks back to two lanes - and while it's always been an issue, it's gotten worse now that you have to turn slightly to the right rather than just veer in that direction. Add to that the usual inconsiderate drivers and the fact that the two-lane part, made of asphalt, gets crinkly after a bad downpour, and you have hell for the impatient.

Thankfully that problem's going to end soon, it seems. The road is being widened again, and this time, the last two-lane part is going to get two extra lanes. The house at the bottleneck has given way. I felt a little bad about it.

That meant a slightly more confusing set-up traffic-wise, at least while the roadworks are on. I'm seeing extra traffic enforcers (and ones that are actually doing something) in the usual choke points, complete with glow sticks. Construction, after all, is going on all day and night. But it is still a choke point, especially during the rush hour - you'd be stuck there for a good twenty minutes. So, tonight, they did something unusual; they opened the old two-lane road, the one we all used to go to, the one beside the Ayala Alabang walls.

It's been closed for years. Too much grass on one side, and even some old flood water (is there such a thing?) in the middle. No lights, since they moved them to the new four-lane road. All vehicles headed north were sent there; we all ended up occupying just one lane because of all the obstacles.

Yep, I was one of the drivers. I was going to pick up my brother from school, since my parents had too many Christmas parties to attend. I knew something was up when, at six in the evening, I was stuck in traffic where I wasn't supposed to be: the intersection between Daang Hari and Ayala Southvale Drive. And I was there for twenty minutes. That usually happens a kilometer ahead from where I am.

I had my iPod with me. I decided to plug it into the car. And I started singing.

You know that feeling? You're driving in an empty road, you have the radio up, a good song comes on, and you start singing along to it? And then you imagine yourself doing just that while in a television commercial, with multiply dramatic camera angles? Only I was stuck in traffic, and there was nothing dramatic about it.

But my iPod remained on, and it was almost an hour later when I had my empty road. Also at the Daang Hari, only on the opposite direction, as empty as the other side was jampacked. I wasn't singing anymore, though, since my brother was there and I know I'd look stupid and maybe get some "what the hell?" looks. But you can't stop it. You're driving. You're the driver. You own the car at the moment. Thankfully, there is a difference between mouthing the lyrics to the song, and singing without a sound.

The Stereophonics' Dakota came on, and as I sang silently, or whatever it's called, I realized I was singing the hell out of it. Or whatever. I was feeling it. Really feeling it. More than usual. Driving on an empty road, spilling my heart out... you get the idea.

And there really was something worth spilling, I thought.

And your responses...

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