Thursday, May 5, 2011

Metropolitan Madness

Amid good cheer, friends and bottles of beer (I’m not drunk but decidedly sober enough to write this post), I’m quite inspired to write down some notes about the experience of a few days here in Metro Manila, the bustling metropolis which has the honour of being the place where I was born (hahahaha). I’ve been here in the City since Monday in order to work on the travel papers for my upcoming return Spain. So far I’ve been able to work on the NBI clearance and I’m dead set at completing the requirements for the medical certificate. I’ll be going back home on Saturday, where I hope to recount more things about my stay here in Manila.

It’s a mad, mad city…well, especially during rush hour. Which brings me to one unforgettable experience which I just had this evening as I was making my way home with a friend, also a priest. Everybody knows that the universal surge to get home as soon as possible after a hard (and humid) day’s work creates that phenomenon called the rush hour, and really makes people behave in very strange ways. Being one of the fastest ways possible to a blissful rest before the television in the comfort of one’s home with the company of family and friends, the MRT is jampacked with commuters at this point of time, so packed that the Darwinian theory of survival to the fittest finds a full expression here. So as the train laden with its human load came to a full stop, I did what any commuter would usually do: squeeze for precious travel space in a place where there wasn’t much. There was a group (which I think was a family) who really had a hard time squeezing in, partly because I did get in first, partly also because they were really big. Fr. Pol was lucky to squeeze in next. Having settled into place, the couple began to berate and badmouth me with all kinds of invectives. As I felt the angry scowl of the woman dig itself like daggers deep into my back, I was just whispering forgiveness with Fr. Pol. Another passenger quipped understandingly, “Idaan mo nalang yan sa tawa”, which I think was quite reasonable, and which I did. This seemed to egg the lady on, who was most angry at me. And when we finally had to get out, the lady made sure that I were to experience all the hell that I was supposed to have given her moments ago. It was really pathetic, I couldn’t help but laugh as I felt myself being jostled as I forced my way out by an infuriated obese and enraged matron (who might as well be suffering from some physical ailment, the cause of her crankiness). “Kalooyan ka..” I whispered as I went past her scowling countenance.

I was still laughing when I finally got out…heat and pressure (and other things besides) do very strange things to people, and we oftentimes have to bear with them with a lot of good humor.

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