Last week we had a photo shoot in Manila that began after lunch and lasted for hours. After a hard afternoon’s work and some merienda in a restaurant along Roxas Boulevard, the team headed its separate ways. Assistant art director Raynand rode with me and we went back to our office in Mandaluyong.
From Roxas Boulevard we headed to South Super Highway via Quirino Avenue. There were plenty of cars along South Super, but we were moving at a slow and steady pace. When we turned to Buendia, that’s when time stopped. We encountered a wall of cars, and they were moving at a pace even snails would have found lethargic.
But I was in good company, and at first Ray and I passed the time talking about the usual stuff: work, girls, video games, and girls. But eventually the traffic got to me like it always does.
Being a Manila resident for all of my motoring life, I had the one-time delusion that I would get used to traffic, that over time it would get easier to deal with. I adapted in some ways. I never ventured beyond a five-kilometer radius from the office for things I wanted or needed to do. Movies, groceries, and the two bottles of beer after work are all done in establishments near Cybergate 3. If I could walk to where I was going, all the better.
Yet on that day after the shoot I was like a fly caught in a spider web of automobiles, and like all motorists I was helpless to do anything about it. One of the reasons traffic is so frustrating is that it’s so counterproductive. You can listen to music and talk, but not more than that because you still have to drive inch the car forward.
Ray and I arrived in the office two hours after we left Roxas Boulevard, more than an hour of that in Makati alone. It’s futile to think of the things I could have done in two hours, but I can’t help it. At the very least it’s a reminder for me to be more conscious of rush hour traffic patterns and anticipate them.
Here are the things I could have done with the two hours I’ll never get back. These are the things traffic takes away from us when it wastes our time:
1. Drive to Tagaytay for bulalo
2. Have an oil change
3. Watch Valentine’s Day or Invictus
4. Eat an angus burger with fries, chicken wings and Sprite Zero at Charlie’s Grind and Grill in Kapitolyo (and have a car wash at the same time)
5. Facebook (yes, some smartphones have Facebook programs, but it’s not the same and it can be expensive for your phone bill)
6. Catch up on the latest office gossip
7. Watch Top Gear on YouTube
8. Play badminton
9. Attend a car club EB
10. Drive to Pampanga for sisig
11. Take a nap
12. Read the special Roll-Out Issue (yeah that was a shameless plug)
13. Browse TopGear.com.ph and comment on the blogs and columns (okay no more plugs)
14. Play with the dog (if I had one)
15. Spend quality time with loved ones
16. Do errands
17. Organize the music collection (physically High Fidelity-style or digitally via iTunes)
18. Have an engine wash
19. Get a massage at the Happy Wealthy Foot Spa in Ortigas Home Depot (and give your car a spa treatment at Big Bert’s Professional Detailers, too)
20. Write a blog entry