Flash Floods, Fast Food, etc.

There are two things I personally do not like about the color coding scheme: it’s needing to wake up at 5 a.m. every Monday to get to the office on time, and having to leave at 7 p.m., when the coding is over. Even as a reporter, I took pride in not using my profession then as a media person to escape color coding.

I would use my free time before and after work to catch up on my reading and writing, and sometimes, to attend commitments. Today, of course, was a special day in the Church, being Our Lady’s (2025th?) birthday, and I took a cab to attend the 6 p.m. mass at nearby Don Bosco Church along Pasay Road. The mass was about to end when it started to rain tremendously.

In just minutes, portions of Pasay Road weren’t passable, and many vehicles were left stranded. And naturally, there were no cabs. No problem for me. I finally had the chance to get some exercise and walk back to the office — since I had also been wanting to find out how long the trip is. Never mind the rain, and never mind if I was wearing a suit sans tie. I didn’t mind at all wading through a little flood water. Good thing I had a huge umbrella.

I realized that walking gave me advance info on what streets to avoid once I get to my car and start driving. While on foot, I was relieved to see that the side of Amorsolo that was going to the Sky Way was free of traffic, and so were V.A. Rufino (previously Herrera) and Legazpi. Great! So a quick freshening up, I started my drive home.

But I was to meet disappointment. The situation along Amorsolo had quickly changed, and I was stuck for more than an hour. I was so bored that I had enough time to memorize all the establishments at Mile Long. But I wasn’t impatient or angry. I suppose that I’ve learned to count my blessings, knowing how such a situation pales in comparison to coverages I’ve done in the past — people losing their houses because of heavy rains (sadly, a landslide killed at least in Mindanao over the weekend, by the way), as well as kids not being able to go to school. So I really had no complaints.

Still, I found enough room to laugh — and this is why I am writing this. Many drivers would agree with me that you’re in for a really bad traffic jam when you start seeing candy, cigarette or peanut vendors on roads they are not regularly seen (the EDSA-Ayala underpass, for example). I was on the watchout for them tonight since AM radio did not have specific details yet. What I saw was this…

Along Amorsolo Street in Makati - September 8, 2008

I apologize for the grainy picture (used my cell phone).  I saw three or four service crew from a fast food chain along Amorsolo, going car to car, taking orders from stranded drivers and selling products to them!  How’s that for drive thru?  I wanted to pleasantly laugh at the ingenuity of the fast food chain, but I also found it silly.  I found it interesting that the service crew even went barefoot on the road.

The fast food aside, one cannot help but still wonder at how much time and resources are wasted to flood control projects that don’t work.  But a great realization for the night was that at the end of it all, poor discipline among drivers is too blame for incidents like this.  The traffic along Amorsolo could have easily been prevented if vehicles stayed in the proper lanes.  There were drivers, who, wanting to always be ahead, stayed on the right-most lane to turn left.  And so, those who wanted to turn right (to the Sky Way like me), could not move.  And the traffic enforcers weren’t doing anything!  So I guess it is sometimes true that a traffic enforcer is part of the problem.

Once I surpassed Amorsolo, it was easy getting home. Total time spent driving from Makati to Muntinlupa: two hours, compared to the 30 to 45 minutes on a regular day.

Interestingly, I saw PGMA’s convoy on the Skyway.  The convoy was unusually slow, thanks to the slippery road — I even got to overtake the lead motorcycle escort.  There were no official schedules on Monday, and one wonders where the President was going in the middle of bad weather.  Could she be going to a party?  Or to Asian Hospital again, since she was heading towards Alabang?

Well, I do know that there are agencies directly in charge of traffic and flooding.  But I hope the President knew what was happening tonight, knowing the micro-manager in her.

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