Today, EDSA was an abomination


June 18, 2015 –

After an exhausting albeit productive day, I was eager to watch The Grandmaster or to continue my Shingeki no Kyojin marathon at home where my good bed awaited my return. Mona, a girl with a bladder the size of a peanut, accompanied me in one of the most capricious bus rides and treks I have had in months. Perhaps it was the integration reports or perhaps it was the sudden shift of activities that distracted me from bracing myself for what my friend Ivan would describe as an “anathema,” but I was incredibly blindsided by the traffic in EDSA. The seemingly fluid-like bus ride turned into an unforeseen snag as rain drowned the streets, and all vehicles halted half way through my journey home. It wasn’t quite a big deal at first. Most of these things happen frequently, and I estimated that our stranded status would be lifted within thirty minutes. My inference, however, was far from accurate. Mona did divert my attention from the huge amount of time we spent on that bus, discussing a range of topics involving the usual moral arguments, our work life, broad-spectrum insights in life strategies, and ice cream. She is very much like a clown filled with positivity and innocence – a trait that amuses someone as jaded as I am. After so much laughing and alienating random people inside the bus, I felt a sting of mild despair. Realisations were fast; adrenaline was running high. I knew right then and there; I needed to take a leak.

Thus, I finally decided to leave the bus and seek my fortune outside the sleet-covered pavements and misty streets. There was a blanket of running water below, and I was forced to do my ninja jumps, much to my dismay due to the overwhelming amount of eyewitnesses. Mona honored my decision and followed me. I devised a plan to get to the malls as swiftly as we could by telling her that we had to power-walk to avoid the impending debris of people, waiting to hurl themselves at us. She was eager to get home, so she agreed. We tackled haphazard plants and people who were taking advantage of the “refugees.” As we trekked across EDSA, we noticed that most of the motorists hardly moved at all. I felt some pity for people who brought their cars into that hellish abyss.

The sight of Pioneer was enough to get me back to the world. I had dozed off, and I do not think Mona had an idea of what was going through my mind at that time. Pasig River’s waters were a raging mass of dark lava, hungry and raring to go swallow the cities nearby. Please let there be a jeepney. I knew how choosy our drivers could be when rain floods the streets and covers the cemented floors that  have once welcomed motorists with care and solemnity. However, even with the ultimate urge to go home and lay in my warm bed with a nice hot chocolate or perhaps some Malay tea, I went straight for the Forum Robinsons to eat some chicken chops because my stomach was eating itself inside me.

The mushroom soup was ambrosial. The warmth and simplicity of it made me think that it was some sort of magic nectar which was very effective in rejuvenating my nerves and more importantly, calming my tummy. Mona had some mashed-looking burger steak. Her meal wasn’t appealing. I pointed it out. She was just happy to eat some rice. She must feel famished and was in denial about it. After a little bit more natter, I realised that I just lost two hours of my life in that bus ride and almost an hour in that dreadful walk. I was just fortunate enough that I had some company. Thanks, Mona. You were hilarious.

The minute I stepped inside my dingy house, everything was welcoming. The sight of my bed was consoling and awesome. Now, that I think about it, today is not such a bad day. In fact, I had a lot of fun. I was so worn out, I didn’t even get a chance to take a photo of that appalling traffic jam.

Image credit: Robert Aipmc