Before moving back home—before motherhood—my street survival skills were way up there. Give me rush hour, a jeep with one empty seat and a throng of people fighting for that one slot, and chances are I would end up doing the victory dance. Running after jeepneys, clambering up moving buses, squeezing into crowded trains—these served as my daily agility test of sorts. I may have sucked at physical education, but I did find practical uses for the simulated sprints and the jumping jacks.
Home provided little challenge to the inner agile me. Barring a parade, a procession or a funeral, traffic is usually five minutes, max. The ride home takes 15 minutes, eight if the husband is really, really hungry, in which case he morphs into Mario Andretti. Downtown is a crowd of people, not vehicles.
All that changed two weeks ago, though. A big supermarket had just opened, promising the attendance of a minor star. A senator was also in town for the state college’s commencement exercises. And, the husband had some place else to go so I—-who was born to ride, not drive--was left with some me time.
For once, there were no tricycles at the terminal. They were choked somewhere, and the two or three that were able to squeeze past were no match for the huge wave of people scrambling for rides. Something in me clicked, and fortysomething me assumed my street savviness of two decades ago.
My first attempt was almost a success. It was a success, actually, except I realized I was boxing out someone’s grandma. The second attempt was a cinch, and I rode on with a sense of smugness. Just as I was nearing third base, my bubble burst. The tricycle made a left turn, and I ended up someplace else. Obviously, in my excitement to practice my box-out powers, I misread the sign and took the wrong tricycle.
Alas, I may (still) have the agility of a twentysomething, but my vision is 20 plus 20.