June 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’m proud to say that I stuck to my principles today.
Four years ago, I succumbed to the damning choice of using the easy way out. A traffic enforcer flagged me down for changing lanes from the U-Turn lane. I was barely driving by myself for a month then, so you can imagine the fear that climbed up my spine when I faced the epitome of every new driver’s nightmare: “MMDA Ticketing Officers”. He wanted to confiscate my license and make me go to a seminar plus pay Php2000. My adrenaline worked itself into flee mode and because for the life of me I didn’t have any smaller bill at that moment, I gave the epitome of every new driver’s nightmare a thousand peso bill. To this day, I am still not sure if that was really illegal or not (because people around me say conflicting things), but I have made it a habit to never stay in the leftmost lane unless I’m planning to take a U-Turn. In addition to that, I swore in the name of any self-worth left with me that never again will I give a single peso to any evil blanketed by authority just to escape the consequences of the muddled world of traffic rules and regulations.
This morning, I got flagged down again upon turning right at Buendia from the D. Macapagal Road. All my buried fears for everyone wearing a uniform while I’m driving worked it’s way up to my consciousness as I struggled to keep calm and not reach for my wallet. As I pulled over, the Pasay City “police man” asked for my license and told me that turning right from the second lane was illegal. I asked myself if I knew of any universe in which this guy’s claim was justified but I couldn’t find any. The bad thing though is that I was pretty sure I didn’t really know much about all these technicalities. What I’m sure of is that I never answered any question pertaining to that during my driver’s license examination. So anyway, the guy takes my license and reads it using my headlights and casually gets my license from the jacket and tells me to claim it in the Pasay Office and pay Php500 there. It was clear that he was having a fine time picking on me as it was 4:00 in the morning and I was a girl wearing a laced house dress with slight panic written across my face. I had two choices: give in to this guy’s game or stand my ground. I drew courage from the erosion of my self-worth during the time I gave a thousand peso bill to one of his comrades and challenged him to explain to me how it was illegal to turn from the second lane. As he started to explain, I suddenly knew that no way is my license going to get confiscated this early in the day. There is hope yet! He is totally making this up. As he handed me back the empty jacket of my license, I flatly told him that I’m calling my dad. He then groped me with questions if “kamag anak ko ba daw yung _____ judge sa Pasay” and I deliberately didn’t answer him at once and just shrugged my shoulders. I pulled up my window and talked to my dad asking if it was true what I did was illegal. My dad said it wasn’t so I pulled the window down again and proceeded to do business with this disgraceful figure we call “authority”. I told him he simply can’t get my license and that it wasn’t a violation. He then came up with excuses that they have special provisions in Pasay, etc. to which I said “bakit naman po ma-iiba ang rules sa Pasay?”. I successfully wiped out any expression of my fear at this time and I could sense that he was suddenly cowering over the possibility of losing his job if indeed I had relatives up there who find out about his dirty business. As I gave him my arguments, he suddenly buckled down and told me “sige ma’am, ibabalik ko na lisensya niyo. ” So he handed me back my license and asked me small talk things like where do I work, what did I study, etc. He even had the nerve to tell me mag-ingat ako. The moment I got my license back, I left him as soon as I could and breathed out all the fear I had been gulping down.
But nothing beats the joy I have for successfully standing by my principles and not offering that guy any consolation. It’s a small battle for today, but it’s a victory worth marking.