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Lessons we Failed to Learn

I hopped off the pedicab and found myself on an empty street corner. Well, it was empty of any tricycle which used to wait for passengers on that area. But as for waiting commuters, they seem to be more than usual. Why am I surprised? Students are back on face-to-face classes in schools. I knew I should have gotten up earlier. It took me some time before I could convince a driver to let me take a ride. The three-wheel coach I was sitting in passed through a long queue of cars and trucks, of various models. After some time, we managed to get through the detour to my destination. That stretch which should take less than 5 minutes took more than 15. I knew I should have walked when I had the chance. I think we had traffic jams before the pandemic, but this is crazy.

If that was the morning experience, of course, the principle of direct proportionality would logically determine that the afternoon experience would follow suit. One has to trace the ride back to the spot where most passengers unload to have a better fighting chance of getting a comfortable seat. That would be just part of the battle. The ride home which used to take a while, has now become an arduous time of anxious anticipation in contemplation of the question, “Are we there yet?”. I talked to someone whose work shift starts at 12 noon. Before I could tell of how I envy how she is safe from the morning rush hour, she goes on ranting about the inconvenience of trudging the traffic of morning session students going home, afternoon session students going to school and everyone else going about their business. Okay, I guess, you can’t run and you can’t hide. If only, I could stay home, I’d quickly sign up for it. Then, to make the experience more exciting, it had to rain and it had to rain really hard. I like it more when the rain is due to typhoon signal no. 2. At least, in that case, it would be clear that the kids would go home. In heavy rain without warning signal, people get confused whether to go or not to go. Suspension of classes is left to the discretion of the authorities who have different opinions of how heavy enough is “heavy rain”.

One thing more, why do sidewalk repair, construction or whatever it is right smack in front of a public school with a large population has to be timed on the resumption of in-person classes? I know it probably has something to do with release of funds, contracts, schedules and whatever, but come on. There had been more than two years when that road had light traffic.

In the spirit of fairness, the travel experience has gotten relatively and somewhat significantly better. I think the powers that be closed some roads and rerouted traffic, and stationed personnel to manage the exchanges of stopping and going through on the roads. Commendations to the ingenious intellectuals who have crafted this creative scheme. But still, there simply are too many cars and commuters out on the road.

Didn’t they preach the gospel of the new normal? Wasn’t classes going to revert to face-to-face gradually? Now, it seems the last bastion of new normalcy is the wearing of face masks. We sit and stand too close to each other. We have disowned distance learning and work from home like ex-lovers whose names we would feel disgusted to hear of.

Actually, that was the solution. We just have to fine tune it. In the past two years, services were delivered in the virtual modalities. Of course, you still could physically report to catch up on the latest gossip straight from the horse’s mouths. But is some percentage of the students and employees do what they have to do online or by assignment at home, people out on the road would significantly decrease, traffic would be lighter, and fewer students or employees would be running late. I hear people say that there’s always the issue of Internet connectivity and lagging electronic devices. Now, why don’t I hear that complaint when it comes to dancing to TikTok and watching Vlogs with toilet humor, conspiracy theories and pure nonsense on Youtube? Our population would not decrease. On the contrary, population would continue to increase. It would be difficult to widen roads. Relocating schools away from downtown would only cause longer travel time for commuters; and cable cars are simply a ridiculous option. If you all want to go out, this is the way it’s going to be, and it will just get worse.

“He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” Psalm 25:9


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