On a scale of one to ten, my sense of direction is probably nil. I always forget the way back to places I have gone before. If I get a thousand bucks every time I get lost, I would have enough money to pay the government’s budget deficit. My first experience was probably the most unforgettable. Quite obvious because I am about to narrate it eh? It happened way back in my kindergarten days but I still remember it clearly. I was on the morning schedule and it was my second day in school. Apparently, It was my first time to be alone in a huge crowd because I was accompanied by my mom on the first day, as she even skipped work that day. Mom gave me a drill about the directions until I memorized the whole thing: just walk across the quadrangle passing the towering basketball goals, then turn right passing the school supplies store and finally walk across the humongous prehistoric black gate. “If you see an old geezer wearing glasses inside the cockpit of a red jeepney, that would be your man,” she even retorted. I got every detail in my head but something went wrong. The overwhelming number of unfamiliar faces left me petrified as I walk out of the classroom. Lucky for my other classmates, they had their moms or house maids fetch them. Lucky bastards! I guess being independent has it’s ups and downs: you can develop your self-reliance but you have to undergo hardships.
I barely managed to drag my half frozen body near the gate but seeing the two security guards standing in the middle was too much to handle. Imagine two crooked guys glaring at you. One had a funny fro like Rez Cortez and the other looks like Barney the dinosaur. I completely lost it. I was embraced by fear and began to walk back inside the campus. Back then, I was still oblivious about keeping track of time and I wasn’t aware the school service yields to no one, and it will leave no matter what. I found another way out of the campus but it was too late: the red jeepney holding my salvation and my ride back home has already left.
Just like Tom Hanks in Forest Gump, I started running. I ran all I could until the great big cross atop the old Sto. Rosario Church (beside my school) was out of sight. It was becoming an adventure as it was my first time to be walking the great Nepo Stalls (equivalent of SM malls today) alone. I even bought cotton candy from a peddler pushing one of those carts that magically whips up cotton candy. I even thought that sewing machines and cotton candy machines were invented by the same person, that Mr. Singer guy. Looking back, I realized how simple the mechanism is and Mr. Singer was not the inventor of the cotton candy machine. Please hit me back in my message board if you know it. Also, I could have injured my finger with the spinning wheel every time I swipe the newly formed cotton candy when the peddler is not looking. Going back to the story, the second trip driver in charge of the p.m. kids came to rescue me. I guess it was also a matter of pure luck when he saw me wandering half kilometer away from school. I told him my story and he got angry. He lectured me until I doze off. Oh well, adults… What do you expect? (”,)
Fast forward >> at present, I still lose my way, especially when attending interviews in Makati. Though not out of fear but with a poor sense of direction. I have pushed my neurons to the limits and tried proven ways like sketching landmarks on paper, but I always get the same results: I end up at the mercy of bystanders and hope for clear directions. It is quite comforting to know that you can find your way by just asking for directions. My mom always say that you can always rely on “magtanong” if you get lost . And sure as the light will reflect on you bald teacher’s head, she was damn right.