Today, I was supposed to meet one of my favorite writers for the first time. I was fortunate to be invited in an academic round-table at a big university in Taft, Manila for his intimate discussion of Politics in Literature.
But thanks to my poor time management and awful lack of hindsight in navigating through the chaotic traffic of Manila, I have no choice but to take a rain check and go home disappointed as crap (for the lack of better word to express my current state.)
The day started out fine. I woke up early. I didn’t have to report to work because I already told my boss I’m going to meet my idol and this is going to be one of the big moments to cap off my 2015 and I wouldn’t be able to perform my best at work if I let this one go by. He excused me with a slight nod. The urge to leap and hug him was tempting that time.
I decided to drop by my university to get my transcript and other important records for my application to Law School. Yes, law school. It’s such a shame because this day is supposed to be one of the days I shall look back fondly while I’m in hell the next year.
The processing of papers went fine and smooth. I was ordered to go back by January for my Certificate of Good Moral Character (yes, the law school requires it.
hahahaha) and I still have plenty of time to commute to Taft for the seminar.
What happened was…I didn’t left right away. I stayed longer at my university than necessary. I dallied. I was on a nostalgic feels trip. I was confident I can get there on time because of the train system. Oh what on earth possessed me to think like that? This is Manila we’re talking about. A 30-minute ride on the streets to a 3-5 km destination is considered a miracle.
So what happened was, I left my common sense in Pureza and took a jeepney to go to Avenida where I’m supposed to ride the LRT-1 going to Taft. I have one hour to spare. 30 minutes to Avenida, a 30-minute-ride in LRT going to Taft. Plenty of time, I said to myself. (By this time, most of you who are reading this and are familiar of the commuting time from Pureza to Avenida are shaking your heads in despair)
Guess what? The ride going to Nagtahan bridge alone costed me 30 gob-smacking minutes. It didn’t help that the air was dreary and the whole city feels like it’s inside a colossal oven. Everywhere the jeepney driver turns, the roads are blocked and we’re always stuck in some intersection. The worse part is, I think I was the only one who’s making a big deal out of this. The other passengers just act like it’s just another good day to live in this city. Somebody should conduct a study to measure a typical Manileno’s ability to estimate the duration of his/her travel compared to the actual time he/she got there. I bet the results will be fascinating.
Legarda isn’t a better place either. We barely moved. I already chunked in 45 minutes of my time. In Kubler-Ross model of Five Stages of Grief, I was already bargaining with God. “Okay fine, I get it. I learned my lesson. Can you please speed this up? Please all I want is to see him with my own eyes and maybe touch his shirt. Just that then I’ll go home happy”
But we remained stationary in Legarda until all my time is used. At this rate, I’ll be one hour late in the seminar which only lasts for 2 hours! And I hate being late. I don’t want the attention and I certainly don’t want my favorite author to think how much of a time leech I am. (geddit? because I suck at time management) Most especially, I can’t just walk in there smelling like exhaust fume and dust, my face salted with grime and my hair dry like straws. Eh screw it, I might as well go home and hope for another time. The acceptance sits like a cold slab of meat in my tummy. It’s so queer to think that sitting there and doing nothing while time flies by is so exhausting, as if the lost time happens to drain your energy at their wake.
And so, this experience got me in a Mr. Rochester-esque brooding mood. I swear I must be giving off some dark aura on the LRT ride home. Everyone stayed away from me.
I don’t want to rant about how awful the traffic in Manila is and how the driver waits irritatingly long to get some passengers as the other vehicles around us surge forward. No, this one’s on me. Blame my poor judgment. My time management sucks. I was overconfident.
I certainly cannot bring these traits to law school wherein you are expected to work your ass off everyday, plan carefully your study habits and make the best use of your time. It will be better for me to take this awful experience into heart and learn from it than going on thinking how bad this day ended up. Most people find it hard to enjoy each day of their lives because we cannot have the good stuff all the time. It ultimately depends on ourselves on how can we end a negative experience in a positive note.
And I promise, one of these days, I will post a picture of me and that writer’s eventual encounter and how much I’ve waited for this day. What life taught me today is patience after all. (As if sitting on your ass for one whole hour fuming mad isn’t enough.)
When that day comes, I will look back at this ‘bad experience’ with affection.