Pride Cometh

“I never get lost! Well, maybe I do sometimes, but I figure a way out eventually.”

I posted this statement on my Friendster and MySpace profiles last week. You see, I take pride in having a good sense of direction; even if I’m in unfamiliar territory, I always manage to get to where I need to go once I have a general heading. Little did I know that this claim I made about myself was about to be challenged.

Last Friday night I set out for Makati (Power Plant Mall, to be exact) to meet with three of my college friends. Although I’ve been driving for three years, I’ve never actually driven myself to that place. However, I had been to that particular area at least four times and I was as confident as could be about my powers of navigation. After all, I reasoned to myself, there are road signs from EDSA leading to Rockwell Center, where the mall was located.

I arrived in Rockwell thirty minutes after setting out from my house. As I turned onto a road I thought led to the mall, I worried that I’d arrive too early. However, the road kept on going and I never seemed to be getting any closer to where I thought the mall should be, so my worries turned to whether I was about to get lost. I started looking for a U-turn slot, but after more than a kilometer of nothing like that the road suddenly spat me out onto a junction. I realized I was no longer in Rockwell Center.

The pressing matter was how to get back to Rockwell. I figured since I was still in Makati City, I could just drive along the major thoroughfares until I found a way back. I kept going, looking for landmarks — and then the road turned into a bridge that crossed the Pasig River. Suddenly, I found myself in Mandaluyong City.

With a tiny surge of panic creeping across my heart, I took a U-turn right there when the road cleared. The street lights were turned off, so I missed the way back across the bridge. I kept on going along the riverbank until I was forced to turn left. The road got narrower, I passed a market or two, and the neighborhood got seedier. Blindly, I kept pushing on, looking for road signs to Makati but unwittingly going deeper into Mandaluyong.

When I realized I really did have to turn back, I had been traveling the wrong way for fifteen minutes. Not a familiar thing was in sight; the landscape had turned from one of multi-storey buildings and neon-lit establishments to one of flat hollow-block houses with pedicabs parked on the sidewalk. I could barely breathe as I realized I had truly gotten L-O-S-T.

Once I made a U-turn, though, all of a sudden there were road signs everywhere pointing to Makati. I followed them closely and after ten minutes I was on the very same road that had taken me out of Rockwell. I sighed in relief as I spotted a sign pointing to Power Plant Mall underground parking.

Well, at least I did figure out how to get to where I needed to be. Eventually.

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