Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Post-Mortem Lesson 1: Learning To Drive

Photo from this site.

For what seemed to be an eternity, Je has been my driver. For him, driving is his therapy, his de-stressor, despite the impossible state of affairs of traffic here in Metro Manila. I had perpetually postponed my driving lessons due to a combination of schedule conflicts, procrastination, and, partly, Je's lack of enthusiasm: he thought that I have the makings of a reckless driver. And so, for about six years, I was driven around by a (practically) 24/7 chauffeur, like a spoiled brat.

Roughly a week after Je's interment, I headed to the LTO office at Pillilia St. in Makati to secure my student driving permit. Damn, I said to myself, I feel too old to be applying for a student permit, but hell, I am doing this out of necessity. Going from clinic to clinic via a taxi cab is getting to be very very tedious, stressful, and expensive. (I computed my gas expenses and it turned out that it is actually cheaper for me to use the car.) Public transport by bus, MRT, or jeepney, snobbish as this may sound and I'm sorry if I come off that way, is definitely NOT an option.

I must say that, contrary to what I initially thought, getting a student's permit in Makati is an absolute breeze. The staff was very courteous, the waiting area was cool, and in less than 30 minutes, I already had my permit.

Because I haven't touched a steering wheel in more than ten years, my sister made me drive around last Sunday. "Just move the car around and we'll go to the trickier parts later," she said in the vernacular, as I struggled with the clutch and gas pedals. In better times, learning to drive around like this session we had, in a quiet place with trees and the sun lazily setting in the background, would probably make for a good, refreshing experience. Instead, I got frustrated for the most part, as I was unable to smoothly maneuver, doubting if I will ever be able to confidently take on the EDSA jungle and do a deft parallel parking (something that Je is soooo good at) in a span of TWO WEEKS. I know it can be done, BUT.

Whenever I lie on my bed every night since that fateful day, I find myself in the middle of conflict. Part of me tells me to fast track everything (driving lessons included). So far I have accomplished all the things I would have normally completed in six months within just one week. Part of me, however, asks: What is the point, anyway?!!

And then I fall asleep, without any answer as always, only to wake up three hours later and realize again that things have changed, life has changed, and the car key has suddenly, unwittingly, found an unlikely refuge: my hand.

No comments: