Saturday, July 08, 2017

In the dark

In the dark

NIGHTMARES happen. Last Friday, I was working late at the office when the power went out.

The tinkling of the piano that had been soothing on Spotify a moment ago now turned sinister. The glare emitted from the laptop screen cast long shadows on the walls.

I was alone in the office, the entire second floor. Or so, I hoped.

I cleared away papers while straining my ears for any sound. When I did hear something, I was brushing my teeth.

Investigating the open door to our office, the evening shift guard heard the unmistakable sounds of choking.

The squeaking of the door he pushed open made me almost swallow the toothpaste, as well as the toothbrush.

Catastrophe averted, I moved to the lobby, lit by the stretch of Gorordo Ave. that was crawling with cars.

Students from the nearby night high school walked in counterflow to the stalled vehicles.

In the resurrected debate over the bus rapid transit (BRT) versus the light rail transit (LRT), the right of pedestrians has been sideswept again.

Many people walk home when getting a ride entails a long wait. Walking is free.

I walk because I need the exercise. Many a dog performs a public service by dragging its overweight owner for a walk.

The sidewalks fronting the campus must be among the most pedestrian-friendly in the country because of the ancient acacias.

What can be more magnificent than the crown of a century-old tree? What is more vulnerable?

The most harebrained scheme I read about was a proposal to implement an LRT-MRT system to “complement” the BRT for Cebu.

A transportation official said that the LRT-MRT railways will be set up on an elevated platform and not interfere with the BRT traffic below.

I wonder again if our planners ever commute like we citizens do. Nothing but carbon emissions and urban blight thrive under the LRT-MRT in Metro Manila.

Wary of the predators prowling under the belly of the public transport system that has so far not delivered the masses from Edsa hell, commuters like me choose mall transit points.

“From the frying pan to the fire” comes to mind when malls go on weekend sales, and the metropolis descends into a different kind of madness.

Last Friday, as traffic crawled, the sidewalks of Gorordo Ave. became lanes dedicated to those who have nothing but the power to walk.

When I shifted my glance slightly, I saw how the sidewalks disappeared under the press of street commerce. Across these nightly transformations is the barangay hall.

Why do I not wonder if some form of power failure keeps our officials, and by extension public service, perpetually in the dark?

( 0917 3226131)

*First published in SunStar Cebu’s July 9, 2017 issue of the Sunday editorial-page column, “Matamata”

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