The One With A Series of Unfortunate Events

I have just come back from a very, very tiring experience. In a span of two hours—two frickfracking hours—I got to experience distraught, relief, horror, frustration, anxiety, misery, hope, and more relief.

This is one of those times when I feel like a character straight out of Lemony Snicket’s books; I was a magnet of misfortune (but only for a day, thank God).

All of this may sound weird and confusing right now, but don’t worry—I am more than willing to share this epic that may even rival the Odyssey*.

Note: this is a very, very long and text-heavy post full of curse words. I also wrote this post on October 29th.


TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Pt. 1: Prologue
Pt. 2: Independent Woman
Pt. 3: The Advice I Will Never Forget (the highlight of my epic starts here)
Pt. 4: A Very Unfortunate Jeepney Ride
Pt. 5: Purgatory
Pt. 6: Hope Against Hope
Pt. 7: Epilogue

Part I: Prologue

As you know (or not), I’ve just turned 18 about a month ago and being 18 in the Philippines means a lot of things; one of these is that I’m finally eligible to vote for the 2016 elections. Great!

Of course, before having the freedom to exercise this right, I had to register as a voter first. Which means going to our town’s municipal hall an hour before my next class. Which means waiting 5hours in line while leeching off of a stranger’s WiFi (to the person who was kind enough to bring his/her password-less pocket WiFi with him/her: bless your soul).

Things were going well so far:

  • I was with my older sister, so I had someone to talk to
  • I was sitting on a comfortable chair (as opposed to the others who were sitting on the stairs)
  • There was a charging station, so my phone would never run out of battery even if I browsed the internet for hours
  • There. Was. Free. WiFi.

But then, 2PM struck and I knew that I had no choice but to skip a class two major classes because my call number was 337 and the announcer had just called the 210th person.

It’s fine, I told myself. It’s not like I’ll miss anything big or something.
Note: I did miss something big (ie. apparently a good-looking guy from MTRCB was invited to our class to swoon my classmates).

So I kept my chill and just calmly waited for my number to be called, until my sister uttered a string of words that would have me mildly panicking for the next few hours.

Part II: Independent Woman

Kailangan ko na umalis (I need to go),” she said. “May klase pa ‘ko ng 4 (I still have a class at 4).”

It was half past three and the number that was being called by the announcer had not even passed 310.

I was irritated; I sacrificed two classes just to complete the registration process, and here she was telling me that she has to leave because she didn’t want to miss her class.

I mean, to be fair, she did ask me earlier if I wanted to complete the process on another day so I could attend my classes. She also asked me if I was coming with her, or I was going to stay.

This would have been an easy decision if not for two things:

a.) the municipal hall was a 20 minute jeepney ride away from the university and it was my first time stepping foot on the area
b.) I was a very dependent person (I know I’m 18, shut up)

If you grew up independently, you wouldn’t be able to relate to the fear that I felt when I imagined the thought of myself being alone for the next few hours in a place full of strangers who were much older than me. It was scary, okay.

But I decided to stay. Again, I was 18—it was about time that I start doing this kind of thing alone.

So my sister—the girl who insisted that we go to the municipal hall an hour before my class because it was her only vacant time—bade goodbye and I was left with no one to talk to, but myself. On Twitter.

There was also a Halloween-themed Zumba happening near the registration area, so that kind of kept me entertained for a while.

I’m not going to narrate the whole process, but basically I waited. A lot.

While I was falling in line for the biometrics thingy, I realized that it was almost 6PM and I was still far from being done with the whole thing. This was when I started to actually panic.

I needed to hand over my CV for org-related reasons to an organization member before 7 (this particular org is strict when it comes to time) and I was still not fucking done with the registration. I was very far from done.

It was 6PM, I was 20 minutes away from the campus, and I needed to hand something over by 7. Great. Fucking great.

So I asked a volunteer if it was okay for me to continue the process on another day, and the answer was a firm noAgain, a moment of panic. I texted my sister for help (fuck being independent), and then I texted the org member that I had no choice but to pass the CV later than what was expected. Luckily, I was pardoned.

I was able to pass Stage 3: Biometrics of this incredibly tiring game that is the Voter Registration, and at this point I was just wishing that I was 17 again because it was nighttime and I was tired and I just wanted to sleep for a year or two. God, Philippines, if I wasn’t so keen to make you a better country, I wouldn’t even have cared to vote for the elections. But I love you too much to let you be ruled by a blameshifting asshole.

Part III: The Advice I Will Never Forget

So here I was, relieved that I was so close to accomplishing the registration process by myself. The final step, which is putting a thumb stamp on the form, was a cinch so I didn’t even have to worry about that. The man in charge gave me some kind of stub (it’s a receipt, I think?) and, as usual, I asked him what I should do next.

Wala na (Nothing),” he nonchalantly said, not even bothering to look at me as he handed me the stub.

A mother who was waiting by the table jumped in the conversation and told me, “Itago mo. ‘Wag mong wawalain ‘yan, kakailanganin mo pa ‘yan para maka-boto ka,” or somewhere along those lines. (translation: Keep it. Don’t lose it because you’ll need it in order to vote.)

I put the stub inside the envelope and hopped onto the next jeepney (which had a bright green light that blinded me) that was about to go to the university. Up to this point, I was still kind of restless, since I still have my CV to worry about.

But it’s fine, I thought. I still have about 20 minutes before 7. I can submit this on time.

Part IV: A Very Unfortunate Jeepney Ride

As the jeepney sped through roads while the winds were disheveling my hair, I was thinking of a game plan. Should I get off the jeep near 7-Eleven, or near Ministop (which is basically another version of 7-Eleven)? In the end, I chose the former because, based on my inaccurate estimations, my destination was much closer from there.

But here’s the thing: when I shouted, “Para po!”** and stood up from the seat, I clearly saw something fall. I ignored it, which was the single most regretful action that I have ever done for the month of October.

Because it was the stub. The fucking stub fell from the envelope.

And I thought it was one of those 7-Eleven receipts that I always kept in my bag because I was too fucking lazy to throw them away.

I literally made eye contact with that piece of paper lying on the floor and my brain just thought, oh. And then I got off the jeep.

The moment I stepped foot on the concrete sidewalk, I felt myself turn white. I immediately checked if the stub was in the envelope. Fuck no.

I glanced back at the jeep. I still saw the paper on the floor. I immediately weighed my options, but before I could decide on what to do, the jeep had already left. Fuck my life, am I right.

Side note: for those who don’t live in the Philippines, know that it is almost always impossible to find the jeepney that you’ve previously ridden, unless you took note of its plate number. Which I didn’t do, obviously.

My head was spinning. My throat was closing up. I had no idea how to retrieve that stub—I didn’t even know if the Comelec office will give me another stub after this. But I knew I needed to focus on my other dilemma, which was the CV.

At this point, I was already calling the Grim Reaper to just lead me to the afterlife because I was a mess and I couldn’t handle my existence anymore.

I wanted to cry so badly, but I needed to keep my composure because (as a longtime crybaby) I can confirm that crying over a situation like this wouldn’t bring back that damn stub. So I headed to where the org. member was and successfully handed my CV on time. I think.

Part V: Purgatory

What the fuck do I do. I have the Comelec Office’s number do I call them oh my God. I waited for 5 hours. 5 HOURS. And it’s all for nothing. Fuck. If I could just turn back time.

These were my thoughts as I walked along Raymundo with an invisible dark cloud above my head. Complete with thunderstorms. I was still trying to keep my cool, but the fact that I waited so long and missed two classes just to get that fucking stub made me livid.

Another game plan. I decided to wait a bit near the CEM building because that was one of the jeepney routes and I was still hoping to find that green-lit jeep. But even then, I was already doubtful so I decided to call my sister; maybe she could give a good solution.

The moment she answered the call, my tears started flowing. I told her everything while trying to hold back my tears because damn it there were people nearby and I haven’t cried in public in a very long time. Hell, I shouldn’t even be crying in public at all.

She didn’t find a better solution either, so I decided to find a place to sit (the nearest I could think of was the Carabao Park) and try calling the Comelec Office.

Part VI: Hope Against Hope

It was past 7, meaning the office was already closed. I felt miserable, depressed, and drained. 5 hours of my life were wasted and it was all because of my damn fucking irresponsibility. The mother’s words kept replaying in my head.

‘Wag mong wawalain ‘yan.

‘Wag mong wawalain ‘yan.

‘Wag mong wawalain ‘yan.

Which translates to “don’t lose it”. I still had another group meeting to attend, but this wouldn’t do. I would only be a useless fuck in the meeting since my mind would be occupied with the stub that I would never see again.

I figured that I should just go home and cry my heart out in the room. Yeah, that would be better, I thought.

Despite knowing that I had a slim chance of encountering the jeep again (it had probably left the campus), I was still hoping that I would see it and that the paper would still be lying on the floor. But I dismissed the thought; I didn’t want to disappoint myself further. I should probably stop by the church and ask God for comfort.

I was about to head to the direction of the church when, Lord Almighty, I saw a jeepney with a bright green light. It was the same bright green light that blinded me before all this shit happened.

Without even thinking twice, I speed walked to the direction of the jeepney, ignoring the miniature stairs that could have tripped me on the way. The traffic was quite heavy so I was at an advantage.

I wasn’t actually sure if it’s the same jeep, but I was already desperate at this point and I wasn’t going to let the jeep leave without me again. Another green-lit jeep was behind it, but the light wasn’t bright enough to blind me so I immediately knew that that was not it.

Without focusing on anything else, I kept my eyes on the jeep as I waited for a chance to get in. I didn’t care if it would take me a kilometer to board that green thing—I JUST HAD TO GET IN NO MATTER WHAT.

And I did get in. And, oh my goodness, the moment I saw the paper still lying on the ground, I internally cried out of joy. The stub was within my reach again. I could peacefully live my life again.

I AM THE BITCH

I AM ///THE/// BITCH

NAHANAP KO ‘YUNG JEEP —a text message I sent to my sister

Part VII: Epilogue

Para po,” I called out. This time, I made sure that the stub was inside my bag, safe and sound.

Even though I was a happy kid again when I got off the jeep, I was still physically drained. I contemplated on whether I should still attend another group meeting for an artsy-fartsy subject or just chill and rethink everything that had just happened.

As you can see, I picked the latter. I mean, God, I still feel like this whole situation is surreal. Imagine if I didn’t decide to go to the Carabao Park, or if I walked faster than usual along Raymundo. I wouldn’t have had the chance to find the stub (seriously, what the fuck is this thing for) and I would have still been a walking misery right now.

Thank God.

I just want some rest now.


*I’m kidding, obviously. Comparing this shitty experience to Homer’s work is an insult to humanity.

**”Para po” is what we say (yell?) to the jeepney driver if we want to get off the jeepney.

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