Whatever magazine or ad I took that line from, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to plagiarize. I just can’t think of anything more apt than this. Six words that speak volumes!
Today I woke up with a sore back and an empty wallet. Don’t be surprised, that’s normally how my day starts out. The only difference is that this time, my wallet was REALLY really empty–with only an old five-peso bill Jason asked me to watch over. That bill has been sitting idly inside my wallet for several months now, filling the void that should have been full of useful cash. As far as I knew, I only had HK $100 that Jason used to pay me back for some stuff. So except for a five-peso coin (plus the green Aguinaldo bill), I had nothing financially.
I’m not afraid of leaving the house without so much as liquid cash. I bring food, I just gassed up, I had no bills to pay. So despite the poor circumstances, I woke up only with the conviction that I WILL NOT GET CAUGHT BY THE MMDA. That was the only expense that could possibly go my way.
And quite the lucky duck I am. I didn’t get caught by the sly blue folks that prove to be more of a menace than anything else. But because I am me, and something always has to happen, I got flagged down anway–by a man in a Barney-purple uniform. A uniform too purple to be taken seriously. I was turning at the corner of White Plains and the street I’ve come to know as Drag Race Road.
I rolled down my window and he told me that I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. (I don’t, the material scratches my skin and the binding makes me feel claustrophobic). I agreed, fastened the seatbelt and gave him a big, hammy “I learned my lesson” face. He still asked for my license.
Unfortunately that was lunchtime and I’m sure he and his other purple friend haven’t eaten. I kicked myself for not putting on makeup (forgetting I don’t know how); for not spraying some perfume (ignoring the sad fact that it makes me dizzy); and for not knowing how to cry on cue!
He enumerated my punishment–confiscation of license (proceeding to wave a bunch of cards at my face), fine, ticket and seminar.
Me: Kuya, I read sa MMDA website that they can’t confiscate licenses due to impracticality saka hindi rin sila nagbibigay ng seminars.
Purple Man: Hindi po kami MMDA galing po kami sa Quezon City Hall.
Me: Ah okay. Sige. So magseseminar na lang ako. Okay lang. (I won’t pretend I’m this honest, and I said this because I knew my wallet only contained empty ATM cards).
Purple Man: Pwede naman natin ito ayusin dito e.
Me: No kuya, ayaw kita bayarin noh!
Purple Man: Para rin po huwag ka na maabala, saan ka ba papunta?
Me: Makati po (so tempted to say Inquirer, irereport kita noh!)
Purple Man: Dito nalang natin ayusin. Ano po bang gusto mo mangyari?
Me: Gusto ko po na isabi niyo sa akin yung schedule ng seminar ko para makapaopisina na ako.
Purple Man: Mabilis naman po akong kausap eh.
Me: Kuya, honestly wala talaga akong pera. Meron lang akong dollar.
Purple Man: Okay lang po yun.
Me: (rummaging inside my bag only to realize that I left it in the one I brought to Subic yesterday) Shet shet shet! Kuya, just let me take the seminar. Okay lang talaga. Naiwan ko pala yung pera ko.
The Purple Man from Quezon City Hall rudely walked away from me and trotted to another person wearing the same outrageous outfit. I watched them from the rearview mirror. I saw Purple Man mouth “Wala raw e, wala.”
After a minute, he walked back to me, handed over my license and said, “Sige po, sorry sa abala.”
I drove off feeling like a winner and much richer than when he first flagged me down. I doubt I can pull off that stunt again but for now, I can gloriously yell: “Honesty kicks bribery’s ass!”
As for my non-seatbelt-wearing ways, Ms. Alya put it perfectly: “It’s discomfort–or DEATH!”
Oh and by the way, only the Pope can wear that kind of purple and get away with it.