It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Ayala’s all glammed up. Its lampposts are entwined with Christmas lights (lights with lights. oh the irony.). The nights are longer, the days shorter. People coming out of buildings with boxes of appliances, fruit baskets and other Christmas party take-homes. Overhearing other office workers hear about their coming performances for each other (or laughing at each other when they’re done).
 
And the long, long, long, queue for taxis.
It has become some sort of a bizarre christmas tradition, or too much of a running gag for one not to take notice, or at least make one reflect. or maybe my anger (more precisely, my feet’s) toward it can have a more positive output.

Fact I’ve had to live my working life: I live in Qc. I work in Makati. For various reasons, I don’t see myself transferring to a Makati apartment or condo soon. Ergo, second fact: It’s tougher to get a taxi home because of the taxis refusing to take me, if ever I find the unoccupied rare one. Bigger Picture, Third fact: Everyone seems to want to get home by taxi this Christmas. Whether it’s because of all the Kyowa boxes, SM bags and Magic Sing boxes they’re carrying or that there are just too many people trying to get to places this holiday season, this city just ain’t big enough for all of us.

So as a taxi driver (one of those kind ones who ferried this poor soul across the Styx that is EDSA), explained to me, there is another fact of Metro Manila life: the taxi drivers just want to make some money, too. They want to make a living. They get tired. The traffic situation forces them to be out on the road with just one passenger (or one group, as the case may be), for an entire hour or two. All that time could have been another passenger, more clicks on the taxi’s meter, another cash-in. Instead, they’re all stuck in the overeating esophagus that is EDSA.

There’s the rub.

What’s the solution?

Some hardliners (you meet some of them in taxi queues feel that you should just get in the taxi and tell the driver where to go. No questions asked. Ideally, that’s how it should be done. But i’ve witnessed – and myself been on the wrong end of – taxis stopping only after a few meters because the supposed hardliner apparently wasn’t able to force the driver to follow her. More taxis? Yeah, if you want EDSA to choke some more. Less Christmas parties? Maybe.

That’s what got me thinking.

If all this merriment is because we want to make all our friends and family members feel special this season, then I’m all for it. If it takes a congested city spewing more smog, just for you to be able to express your love at least once a year, then by all means let’s do it. Other “Make everyday Christmas!” hardliners would tell us at this point, that we should express our love more often, so that we don’t even have to get into this December BumperFest. I would agree, but that’s ideal. I’ve come to understand that there are relationships that need certain “manufactured occassions” so that they have an excuse to at least say “hi,” to remember, to finally make amends, to say what they’ve long wanted to. For all those relationships, I would gladly understand and even brave the traffic onslaught.

IF

that is what this is really all about.

The flipside (there has to be, because we are “Flips” after all), is that this might all be reflex responses to seasonal ticks. Is it really about relationships? Or compulsion? Is it about merriment? Or a blind carrying out of tradition? Have we again, fallen into a cultural spiral? Like lemmings falling into cliffs, have we instead chosen to leap into a machine-run stampede? If that is the case, then let’s forget about all this.

Let’s forget about the taxis. Let’s forget about the puto bumbong and caroling and gifts and shopping and hot chocolate and lechon and reunions and kris kringle and all the other responses to this gigantic cultural tick. Because you know what? It ain’t worth it.

There are a lot more useful things we could do instead of waiting at the taxi queue.

 

 

….

(all photos courtesy of Google searching… )

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