Monday, April 03, 2006

A Conspiracy Against the Carless

As I edge my way to the footbridge after work, I find myself a hair’s breath away from speeding buses and motorcycles. If they swerve just half an inch on my side of the road—well, we will then have to include “humans” somewhere in the definition of roadkill.

If you’re thinking, "Hello! Why don’t you use the sidewalk?” Then, you, dear reader, are obviously not from my beloved motherland, the Philippines. In most streets here, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) deem it more “efficient” for pedestrians to “share” their paths with motorists, food vendors, ukay -ukay entrepreneurs, vulcanizing shops, PLDT and DPWH diggings, carparks for shops and banks, etc etc etc. Sigh.

Anyway, once I get to the footbridge, I prepare for a long climb. For some of us who lead somewhat sedentary lives, this exercise may be welcomed—but I wonder about the old man with a limp who struggles his way up with his cane, or the vegetable vendors who have to heave their carts and goods up the stairs—if you are on a wheelchair, forget about crossing! Because pedestrian crossings, along with traffic lights are fast becoming extinct…all in the name of less traffic, never mind the pedestrian.

When you get on the bus, there is a sign that says, “Sa Fast Lane lang po tayo pag hindi pumayag ang MMDA mag ilalim.” (If MMDA does not allow us to use the underpass, we will have to use the fast (ehem) lane.) Meaning, the bus you ride will have to shoulder its way through millions of other buses that bottleneck at EDSA-Cubao because the underpass is just for private motorists, company vans, and anyone who can afford to take the taxi! Sigh (again).

And please don’t get me started about what the situation is like when there’s a downpour!

Sometimes, I have the blessing of hitching a ride with a “car-red” friend, and as I gaze out to the pedestrians and commuters edging their way down the roads or frantically dodging cars to get to the jeep they want to ride, my heart goes out to them.

Well, there are two good things that come out of this which the anti-carless conspirators can never rob me of:
A. Developing a sympathetic spirit (at least to fellow carless citizens)
B. Deeper understanding of what it means to step out in faith!

So there!


Beng said...

Hmmm, blogging every three days. It gets worse you know! haha. Next thing you know, you'd be categorizing your day's events as bloggable and non-bloggable. (I'm serious).
Amusing to read about your life's ordinary challenges. At least two good things have already come out of your pedestrian woes.
Go tell people you already have a blog; share the delight. :-)

Gilchrist said...

Congrats on your latest "hobby" - later your "career" :). I'm no blogger but I love reading blogs. Yours is interesting. Can't wait to see more of your mindboggling, truth-savvy, reality-laden blogs. Am definitely going to apply in your fan's club!

Gypsy said...

Thanks, GilChrist. Great to know that you enjoyed it. :-) Drop by anytime!