Snakes and Ladders

I do not know why I had to be good Samaritan today.  It was almost disastrous. I went to a COMELEC satellite office to register.  As I had registration forms filled-up (download here), I did not have to wait in the line that was now a zigzagging serpent devouring time and sanity. I marched up to the front, handed my form, and in a mere 15 minutes, I heard them holler “Aberasturi”.  Liberated from the hundreds waiting inside the dank room turned cell, I went inside the final frontier. Picture a makeshift office with a few tables, Step 3 wobbly hanging in carton and only five COMELEC officers multi-tasking a mountain of tasks: transferring details, taking photographs and scanning thumbprints.  Now, how are they going to register the hordes of citizens still queued up outside? But I was the Wise One and since my registration had been pre-filled and my name gloriously called, I finished my tasks.  Said: “Cheese!”, punched my index finger and thumb, right-left right-left, and sealed the digital deal! Thumbs up filled with ink, I was done.  Off to brag about COMELEC registration in one hour!  No snakes to devour me, no ladders to climb either.

Now, enter the good Samaritan. Aspiring to replicate my one-hour happy registration, I printed out COMELEC forms from the Internet, photocopied 50 sets, and returned to the satellite office.  I had a foolish notion of saving 50 citizens from the zigzagging serpent. It worked for me and saved me an entire day. I infiltrated the now dank and dreary room, asked who was first in line, then distributed my manna from heaven.  Or so I thought it was. COMELEC-appointed police officers with blaring voices (potbellies too) came. Scolded me for disturbing their peace.  Told me off. “Ginulo ang sistema!” (Oh, there was a system?) Close to crying or having a fit (I don’t know which one), I countered: “I was just trying to help. These people have been queuing since 7a.m. for the very same forms! They were here hours before I arrived and yet I have been registered, because I had these forms.”  Two continue to berate me and I waved my white flag. Told them to forget my act of supposed good.  Nothing was lost. Only time.  A lot of time. There is no use arguing over spilled milk, especially when the milk has been spoiled. I left the same way I came, but I heard the sound of clapping. I saw a few faces of gratitude, faces that understood why I did what I did, and faces did not want to dash the hopes of a girl who tried to help.  Went home, emotions jumbled, happy and sad. There were no snakes to devour me, only a ladder to climb.

P.S. Two more days to register. Three tips that did it for me: (1) Download, print and fill out the Registration Forms before you go to COMELEC; (2) Have a photocopy of your ID which has to indicate your home address.  If your ID does not have the address, bring a Proof of Billing; (3) Before you queue, go to the front, check what the queue is about and find out where to go if you have forms ready.

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