JANUARY 26, 2007
I came to LTO around 1 pm thinking that there would be a lot less people in the afternoon. I was wearing a plain shirt and my favorite chevignon faded denims. Due to the wound on my left foot, I decided to wear slippers instead. It would be my first time to renew my driver’s license alone, usually my mom accompanies me, but this year I decided to do it myself. Honestly, the idea of renewing it myself amused me. It was like a baby step towards independence. For all this time, I was always dependent on my mom when it comes to stuff like this. I felt like a captain of a stranded ship searching for a lighthouse so it can reach shore.
Within a few days I would be 23, and I think I should be more proactive. The time is not too early and not too late. Another climatic change is on its way. Based on the new system it should only take 2 hours or less to have a driver’s license renewed.
As I entered the front gate, a pair of hands held me back. Without even the chance to ask why, I was rescued by a guy, which obviously was a fixer. He veered me away from the entrance to the sidewalk. Seconds later, we had a deal.
He led me to the adjacent stalls along the stretch of East Avenue. The place was like a wet market – cramped and grubby; the difference is that it was teeming with testing centers and notary public instead of usual meat and vegetable stalls. Our deal was that he would accompany me through the process of renewing my license. Well, so much for thinking grand visions of independence. I thought how lame I was letting manong guard screw me effortlessly. How am I supposed to stand for the girl of my dreams when I’m blown away like hay in the field?
So much for my high hopes of renewing it painlessly: I miscalculated the inefficiency factor and the under the table negotiations. The LTO has been known to be one of the most corrupt agencies in the government and true enough it lived up to its reputation. I got my new license at almost 5 pm. I have to amuse myself listening to the Koreans seated near me. I also have to bear the people who are above the line! Those people who use their influence to avoid the hassle of lining up are ugly as Puma Ley-Ar.