Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Squirrels Be Like, "Manila Pedestrians Are Our Heroes"

I don't know how to write this without sounding like an intolerant fool.  All I can hope for is some modicum of understanding that I am doing my best to tell the truth and represent my DAILY experiences accurately. 

So, here goes...

It is my firm belief that the pedestrians in Manila are somehow related to squirrels.  Maybe not like brother/sister but perhaps a fourth cousin twice removed by marriage situation.


Now, if you're an educated person, you know that, technically speaking, squirrels are rodents but that is NOT what I'm trying to say so you can just cease and desist with the scoffing and eye rolling.  I'm simply (and feebly) attempting to provide an analogy of my drive to and from work every day with the primary purpose of venting but also informing.  Ok Ok - this isn't REALLY meant to be educational...ya got me.  That's what is so wonderful about having a blog with 2.5 readers....very few people will hate me tomorrow so I can really just say what I want. 

I have a pretty soft heart when it comes to animals, as most people do.  When I was a teenager, I can vividly remember my mom picking me up from the Sunday matinee and driving me home through the quiet roads of my home town.   It was one of those rare chilly Texas afternoons when people tend toward indoor entertainment -- so there were no children at play and not many cars on the road.  This absence of traffic (both pedestrian and vehicle) led my mom to be perhaps slightly more careless than she would have normally been.  She wasn't going all Jeff Gordon on our city streets but maybe she was driving just a little bit more careless and chatting in a tad more carefree fashion.  Anyway, we both looked up and noticed a squirrel crossing the road and I swear to bejeebus, that thing looked right back at us and I had a moment where I thought, "Thank goodness, he knows he's doing something stupid and has decided to go back from whence he came (read: the other side of the damn street)."  

But you know where this is going right?  He did not go back.  He made what appeared to be a series of ill fated but also somehow thought-out (as much as a squirrel thinks things through) turns in the road before landing himself firmly under my mom's right rear tire.  THUMP!  Tails were twitching.  Brakes were screeching (too late!).  And mom was sucking air through her teeth in the most regretful way.  
 She was also begging me not to look in the rear view mirror.  Although honestly, I'm not sure what she was thinking by asking me not to look.  Was she sparing me the tragedy of seeing a rodent cute little animal fighting for its last breath or did she somehow think I would blame her for his PISS POOR DECISION MAKING?

Which brings me to the pedestrians here in Manila.  

1. Crosswalks cannot be trusted.  I get it. 
2. Cars do what they want regardless of when and where you decide to cross the street.    -- That sucks, I know.  I REALLY know.  I have more than a few times reached out and smacked a car that nearly ran over my dog while we were walking in a CROSSWALK to get to the park. 
3. You have to get to matter what.  Good.For.You. 

Look at me!  I'm important...I need to hurry up and get to my outsourced data entry position where I will sit and mostly check facebook all day. 

But here's the thing, it will not help your situation to decide to cross the street and then only make it half way.   As you stand in the middle of one of the busiest streets in Metro Manila, I'm sorry to say, destiny is not on your side.  You are now stuck on the yellow lines of a road in a place where lanes do not matter.  Please do not then prescribe to the misguided notion that eye contact or arm waving (in the typical Phil fashion) will help your case. You've made your bed....helping you figure out how to un-f*ck yourself is not my problem.  You must decide, all by your lonesome, what to do next and guess what?  The WORST possible thing you can do is go all squirrel on us by deciding to do something then changing your mind 17 times.  

This happened while I was driving to work the other day.  It was gridlock but kinda fast paced gridlock, if that makes sense, and this guy tried to cross at the WRONG time.  He was stuck in between me and the car in front of me.  Initially, I tried to let him pass but HE WOULD NOT GO.  I waited for a bit and then started to move forward at which time..... AT WHICH MOTHER GRUBBING TIME.... he decides it's time to go so what happens?  I graze him with my front bumper.  

Are you shocked??!?!  No, of course not!
Funny thing is, I've gotten into lots of shouting matches with drivers here (mostly with mopeds and motorcycles) who have NO situational or personal-space awareness but this guy didn't even flinch.  This tells me, in his little squirrel heart, he knew he made the wrong decision.  

So there you go.  Just felt like sharing a little bit of my world with you.  


Rod DeBord said...

Oh lord, i am laughing...hard....just too funny, and a bit sad I suppose...since you have to deal with it. BTW, you were were way too bashful about your readership....its up to 2.7 readers now.

Lindsey said...

Glad I could make ya smile. I can't wait until you experience it yourself. And thanks for adding .2 to my readership :)

Lindsey said...
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