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Who has not aged a little more since 2017 began? After learning how the most wondrous gadget worked last Christmas, adding to my accumulation of information useful and useless while I aged needlessly but necessarily, I must pause and thank the amazing Ms. Waze for her incredible grasp of Philippine geography and cartography.
I wonder, how many years did Ms. Waze spend in the Philippines before she acquired her intimate knowledge of every nook and cranny, every eskinita and neighborhood, every highway and byway, shortcuts and subdivisions, too? From wherever she is, she can spot a traffic accident, an obstruction on the road, a stalled vehicle five minutes before you pass it, as she accurately predicts how long the jam you are in becomes unjammed.
Ms. Waze became a familiar voice when I rode in my son’s car with him as chauffeur during the two weeks of the Christmas rush and crush. I never met her, never saw her, only heard her, the most expert navigator to show the ways through the fastest route available, whether in Metro Manila’s maze of streets or going north to Baguio! Speaking from outer space or what sounded like it, she was a disembodied spirit quite like a guardian angel guiding our way without a compass, from an imagined spacaceship floating somewhere up there that’s not yet heaven. She spoke with an American (East Coast) accent and had a hard time saying Maginoo and Magsaysay, but that difficulty only made her all the more endearing. Imagine, an alien who cannot pronounce the names of streets but knows where they figure on her map – where can I buy such a map? Could it tell me the exact time in minutes before I reach my destination, as she does? Ms. Waze truly amazes.
Her voice, like a pilot’s, radiates cool and confidence, and she doesn’t raise her voice even when her instructions are ignored. Let’s face it, there are times when driver and passengers suppose she’s crazy to be pointing them in the wrong direction — only to find out that it was crazy not to have believed her, okay?
I was told that besides Ms. Waze, the Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman can also be hired, for a fee, to help you avoid traffic while you drive and obey his orders. It would be creepy to hear Mr. Freeman’s voice, though, after watching him as God the Father in a movie and following his series on cable TV’s The Story of God. (Jullie Y. Daza)