July 14, 2010 may very well be the worst day of my life. Ever. But I have no way of telling, do I? Since I'm still alive, yes? So let's just put it at it's the worst day of my life, SO FAR.
Here's what happened: at around quarter to ten in the evening of July 13th, the lights started flickering in my apartment. I was alone, my companions always arrived late, and I was already lying comfortably in my air-filled bed, trying to lull myself to sleep. A second time, the lights flickered. The winds were howling outside, and I could hear trees and things smashing on walls, but paid no heed. That is, until the power completely went out, which sent me hysterically texting my housemates, asking for their whereabouts, hoping not one lost soul would start to creep beside me in the bed, otherwise I'd just die there from screaming my head off.
Seconds later, the lights went back again. Whew,
I thought. No more fears of darkness and being alone and unsuspecting ghosts lurking nearby. That is, until a few minutes later, when the lights flickered and totally went out again. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!
I thought to myself. I once again panicked and text-shouted at my friends, asking, begging them to come home already and provide much-needed company, also, protection from ghosts and ghouls.
As in the first time, the lights went back again. Major Whew,
I thought to myself. Thankfully, one housemate came home already. While we were talking, the lights went out--for the third time. I was waiting for it, for a few minutes, to come back on, to no avail. He said that's usually the case, that the third time the power fluctuates, it never comes back. I prepared myself for a chilly night, both from the gushing winds outside, and for possibilities of dead souls walking past my air-filled bed.
At around two in the morning, I felt a watery sensation by my foot. Strangely enough, it didn't bother me a bit. Until I felt it again. And again. And then again. My mind was all slushy from everything that's happening, but it was at least able to process that the succession of watery sensations meant water was dripping. FROM UPSTAIRS. I suppressed the thought of a blood-stricken bloody murdered woman hanging loose from the ceiling, and sat upright. I inspected the foot of my air-filled bed. There was a trail of water tracing its width. The water continued to drip. I stared at it for a few more minutes, trying hard to decipher what was happening. It took about two whole minutes for me to realize that it was rainwater dripping on our bed, and that I had to do something about it. But I didn't know what. I swear, that was the first time in a long time I ever felt THAT stupid. But just you wait. It gets worse.
I stood up, opened our cupboards, and scooped out a bucket. I roused my housemate, asked him to push the bed out of the water's way and placed the bucket where it was dripping. But then, I heard no drips in the bucket. Instead, I heard it elsewhere. It was dripping on our sofa. Instinct told me to put the bucket there. But the sofa's back rest was in the way! I pushed the bucket onto the back rest, holding it in place so that it would catch the water. So do I have to hold it 'til the water stops dripping? I asked myself. I was doing that for a few minutes or so until my housemate suggested to move the sofa so I could put the bucket on the floor. TOINGK! Why didn't I think of that?!
All was good that minute. I climbed upstairs to check where the water was coming from. I entered my other housemate's bedroom and was flailing aimlessly inside, for several minutes, trying to piece everything together, like where the water came from, how much the upstairs room was flooded, how about their beds, their stuff, everything??! At that moment my other housemate woke up, and saw the ignorance on my face, and together we traced the source of the water infiltration. We concluded it was coming from a wall near the floor landing, so we put rags and other thick cloths to contain the water.
After that, I went downstairs, thinking, how the hell did the water make it down here?! I was looking at the bucket from the stairs, looking for where the water was dripping from. I held out my hand near the ceiling, and nearly freaked out when I felt no water dripping on my hand. I looked again at the bucket, and saw that it's still catching droplets of water. I held out my hand again, and still had no water dripping on it!! I started to freak out. I thought, how could that happen?! Where is this phantom water coming from??! A few minutes of investigating and poking around and the stupid me eventually found out that the water ran the trail of the stairs, so it was resting and dripping from the foot of the half-floor landing. TOINGK!
After getting the situation handled, I went back to my air-filled bed and tried to doze off. But the chilly winds from outside and the sound of the water dripping loudly into the bucket (think having to count droplets instead of sheep, and still not working!) kept me up for a few hours still. Finally, I was able to doze off at around 4am.
But then my alarm went off at 6am, prompting me to wake one of my housemates who need to go to work. It was decided that hitting the snooze button was the best decision at such a bed weather, so the alarm rang up again one and a half hours later. At this point I decided I won't be going to work anymore, that it would be impossible to be productive and that I'd end up wasting my time at the office eventually. And we still didn't have electricity by then.
I continued to doze off, knowing I have all the time in my hands, and woke up at around 11:30 am. That's when I remembered I had a deadline for my Singapore raket, which was about two hours ago. Damn! I quickly took a bath, clothed myself, and dashed off out of the apartment, with the goal of submitting work in mind.
Upon stepping into the frigid halls of Burger King E. Rod--which, surprisingly, lights, aircon, and Wi-Fi to boot--that's when it hit me: I only have sixty pesos in my wallet, plus some coins in my bag. I hurriedly went to the nearby BDO to withdraw money from my Unionbank account. Apparently half the world's population was thinking of the exact same thing at the exact same time, so the line was kilometric. I waited and waited for everyone to finish, but when it was my turn, the ATM just made me wait for about 5 minutes before spewing out: We cannot process your transaction. I could've died right then and there, but thank God I didn't.
This time, thankfully, my mind was working already. I decided to just use my credit card and make a cash advance at a nearby RCBC bank--which was offline. I walked a little further, and tried my ATM on a Chinabank ATM, still to no avail. I went back to the BDO ATM, which was mockingly empty at that point, and tried doing the cash advance. But the damn thing needed a password pala! Eh malay ko naman! It was my first credit card, and the package didn't come with a PIN. Later on I would find out that I need to have six months of good standing with the bank before they send me my PIN. OH DRAT.
I went back to BK tired, sweaty, and feeling like a downtrodden and defeated warrior. Clutching my sixty five pesos on one hand, and my credit card on the other, I approached the counter and ordered a cold Mocha drink, thinking that if my credit card didn't work, at least I have cash on hand to pay for it. You see, my credit card has not been working during my last several attempts, probably due to my outstanding balance. I crossed my fingers and gritted my teeth, but eventually rejoiced upon seeing the thermal paper from BDO slide out of the card machine: IT WORKED! Thank God. I proceeded to order lunch in addition to my Mocha, and I found myself a seat to merrily work on.
While working, I remembered I had a 3pm event to attend to, which will be held at Newport City near NAIA 3, which is in, like, what, the other hemisphere? I immediately contacted the office asking if the event will push through. It was about 1pm. I got a reply minutes after, not confirming anything. I asked fellow reporters who were invited to the event, and luckily on of them replied, to the affirmative. I quickly finished my work, wrapped up, and headed out of BK and onto EDSA to catch a bus.
Problem 1: I didn't know how to go there. I know there's a Jayross bus that passes by NAIA 3, but chances of riding one, especially in the midst of a blasted typhoon, would be comparable to getting laid in the middle of an arid desert. The only thing that can get me there was if I rode a taxi, which leads us to Problem 2: I only have sixty pesos in hand, plus a few coins inside my bag. Oh, dear Lord!
Head already throbbing from all the troubles I had to deal with, I flagged down a MIA bus, which passes by NAIA 1 and NAIA 2 (but not NAIA 3, such pointlessness of it all, when they're all right beside each other!). I threw my hands in the air and exclaimed: oh, what the heck! I'll figure it out when I get there.
When I did get there, I was 38 pesos poorer. I held 22 pesos on one hand, and scouted my bag to see how much coins I had left. The plan was to alight somewhere in the MIA/NAIA/Domestic airport area where there's a bank, and see if I can withdraw money from there. I counted all my coins: all I had was 28 pesos. Together that made me 50 pesos richer. Oh, I feel lucky already! NOT.
I dropped off at the intersection of MIA road and Domestic Road, right where Park N' Fly stands. At the ground floor was a BDO branch. A lady standing next to the ATM machine was holding a "temporarily unavailable" sign, and I had to suppress the thought of asking if she was the one unavailable, or the ATM, and if her, why? Haha. As I approached the bank she cleared up my confusion by saying, "Sir, offline po." I didn't know what to feel then: comforted that she's not the one that's temporarily unavailable, because, hell, how can one be temporarily unavailable, yes? Or frustrated that the ATM was unavailable, which meant, I wouldn't be able to withdraw, which meant I wouldn't be able to flag down a taxi and ride my way towards NAIA 3.
I decided to take the high road. Literally. I walked from the busy intersection all the way to the domestic airport, stopping at the famous Air Force One complex of whorage, spotted a Metrobank ATM which was, as expected, offline. I moved on. Walked longer, still, until I saw an Allied Bank ATM which was, expectedly, offline. At this point I was losing all hope. A street kid was begging for 10 pesos. I desperately wanted to throw all my coins at him, thinking, heck, I don't even have money to pay for my taxi! HERE'S YOUR GODDAMN 10 PESOS, WITH ADDITIONAL 40 PESOS TO BOOT! and throw all the coins and the money on the busy, busy street for him to collect. Thank God I didn't do that. Thank goodness my patience could really be counted on. Thank God I'm not a trained actor, or I would've milked the moment and made a scene out of it right then and there.
I crossed the street and thought intently. Should I just go home, or flag a taxi to the event? If I go home, I'd miss out on the raffle for five laptops (aminin na natin, 'yun talaga ang agenda ko! Mwahahahaha joke lang). If I don't go home... where will I go? Again, I gathered my wits and flagged down a taxi.
When I settled I laid down my cards to the cabbie: Manong, take me to near NAIA 3, but here's the catch: I only have 50 pesos! Surprise, surprise! The cabbie laughed at me. I felt more humiliated than ever, practically begging the cabbie for a ride. I made small talk, told him all the ATMs were offline so I couldn't withdraw, commented on the bitchy weather, which is usually what strangers talk about. I told him that if the meter reaches 50 pesos, he should just drop me off right then and there. He gave a hearty laugh. I sank deeper in my seat in embarrassment.
Luckily, the meter ran 50 RIGHT IN FRONT OF NAIA 3. Weakeningly, I told manong cabbie to just pull over and open the doors, I'm getting off right on the busy street. Good thing manong cabbie was a good soul; he offered to take me to the other side of the road, where Newport City was, kasi baka mabundol pa daw ako, kawawa naman ako. I gushed, literally. I wanted to give him 100 pesos for his kindness, but alas, my wallet was deep yet empty.
I alighted the cab, and never felt lighter. At that moment I thought to myself, hey, I can literally say, I don't have a single cent on me! Haha. I walked into the event venue with a bounce on my feet, thankful for the kind cabbie who understood the situation of a helpless man. Going home wasn't a problem, since I can always flag a taxi and just borrow money from a housemate to pay for it. Luckily, I didn't have to, because I was able to withdraw money already after the event.
It would've been nice if I won a laptop to compensate for all the trouble, right? Too bad I didn't. :( All I took home was a backpack and a set of universal adapters (which I badly need, anyway). But it's okay. I'd like to believe the universe owes me one, and that he/she/it will pay me back someday, all I'd have to do is wait. :)
Still, I can't help but say this: PUTA NAMAN BASYANG, GANYAN KA BA KATIGAS?! Bwahahahaha. Ganun!