For those unaccustomed to the intricacies of Quezon City traffic, C.P. Garcia is the fastest route to Loyola Heights, Marikina City, Antipolo, and even to the famed C-5.
But that’s in theory.
Since the four-lane thoroughfare has become everyone’s little secret shortcut, C. P. Garcia has been transmogrified into the street that traffic regulations forgot. (Then again, that could be EDSA but I digress.)
During rush hour, C. P. Garcia is thoroughly inhospitable, a mish-mash of flashy SUVs, dilapidated trucks, overloaded tricycles, and motorcycles carrying everything from oven-hot pizzas to day-old babies.
The holiday season only made it worse.
Any vehicle that dared enter C. P. Garcia during rush hour immediately fell prey to a kind of mechanical catatonia, in which anything with at least two wheels were absolutely incapable of forward movement.
One morning, while on an errand to buy beer, I avoided C. P. Garcia with the stealth of an errant Ninong on the run from a long-lost inaanak.
Instead of taking the avenue on the way to Cubao — where I was headed to buy party provisions — I took Commonwealth Avenue from UP, where I had earlier dropped off my wife.
All I had to do was to make a U-turn at the nearest slot, make another U-turn at the intersection of Commonwealth and Quezon Circle, bringing me to the Philcoa area. Once I made a right on Masaya Street, I would be able to reach Kalayaan Avenue, which would then bring me straight to Aurora Boulevard.
But on that fateful day, my short trip to Cubao seemed like the road to perdition.
As I approached Masaya, I hit the signal light, indicating that I was going to make a right.
My intentions were casually ignored by a bus that cut me off.
It cruised right by, confident that its sheer size and heft allowed it to flout road courtesy.
I stopped and immediately made a left, thankful that the brakes worked, allowing me to avoid a collision.
Besides saving my life, the strategic move helped me fulfill the important role of providing joy and goodwill to my wife’s beer-drinking buddies that night.
But that would come much later.
When I veered away from the uncouth six-wheeled behemoth, I struggled to keep my cool.
After all, it was holiday season, a time when road rage and murderous intent is muted because spending Christmas in a funeral home is not a fate wished on even your worst enemies. (The arrangement sits well with undertakers working overtime though.)
But I absolutely blew my top when another bus immediately came barreling down on my left, intending to invade the lane I had already occupied halfway.
There I was, avoiding a bus-driving jerk on my right, and here was another bus, on my left, driven by a similar Neanderthal, threatening to plow into an old, rickety Toyota.
What was I to do?
I went absolutely postal.
It ticked me off, got my goat, made me fly off the handle, and countless other idioms that pop up whenever I type in the word “angry” in my laptop’s thesaurus software application.
I swerved to the left — immediately blocking the bus’ path — got off the car, and showed everyone else why I was the best argument for tighter gun control, and to a lesser degree, legalized abortion. (I’m not a gun owner, never will be.)
I went up to the bus, pointed to the driver, and asked him to step out of his vehicle. Although apologetic, he refused to open his doors and his companions — a bunch of conductors and ticket inspectors — gave me a look that said: “Would somebody please give this man his medication?”
Now, what good did that outburst do?
By the time I simmered down and eased the car out of the bus’ way, I was too far off to take a right at Masaya.
I was forced to enter C. P. Garcia, the very same road I had planned to avoid minutes before.
As I sat there in traffic, looking at the congestion brought about by the holidays, I said to myself: “Bah, humbug.”
Also published at GMANews.TV. Can’t figure out a way to align the map with the borders supplied by WordPress.