everyday life · personal

Personal connections

The honking of the garbage collector truck early this morning startled me. I forgot to put the trash in one black trash bag, so I quickly got up like a mummy from her tomb and ran downstairs to get the trash. I don’t know whether they would be collecting the bio or non-biodegradable today, and I guess it didn’t matter so long as garbage is collected. I don’t even think anyone follows that rule anymore. For one, there are no clear guidelines on when biodegradable or non-biodegradable will be collected. Although we throw our trash in that order, it makes little sense if the others just dump whatever trash they have and your efforts of being orderly at garbage collection are wasted.

For being out of work for a few weeks now, I can say I’ve been granted longer sleeping hours. And when I want to know what time it is, or when I need to wake up early, I only need to rely on the garbage collector. Usually, they come in at around 7 or 8. And they did arrive at seven this morning, just when I needed to wake up that early.

Today is one of those ‘adventure’ days for me. Another commuting experience to a not-so-far province, Bulacan, for a much-needed dental checkup at my tito’s clinic. Before you react, let me tell you that I come from a family of doctors. My lola and two aunts are optometrists, one uncle is an ophthalmologist, another aunt is a dermatologist, another uncle a dentist, another one a head nurse, and 3 cousins in the medical field. So whenever we need, say, an eye check-up, we get it for free. When I need a facial, I just go to my tita’s clinic ten minutes away from our house. And when we need regular cleaning or tooth extraction or even surgery, we also get free treatment.

So yesterday I went to my tita who’s a dermatologist and had her check my 3-week skin allergy. It’s been bothering me because I get red lumps from nowhere, at any time of the day, in all parts of my body (save for my face) and I can’t quite figure out what’s causing any of this. We clean the house, I don’t have any food allergy, and I don’t think it’s airborne because I’ve lived in Makati all my life, so I’m very well adjusted to the pollution.

She advised me to take lab tests: urinalysis, CBC and take Claritin for 2 weeks. She also asked whether I had teeth problems or infections lately because if I have, the infection can manifest in the skin. Isn’t it amazing how everything in our body is connected?

So anyway, my dad told me yesterday to go to my dentist uncle and have him check me. I wasn’t doing anything anyway and I’ve been bored just staying at home so I decided to go this morning. Between spending a possible P750-1500 of cleaning and maybe tooth extraction from my local dentist to spending only 55 pesos for a one-trip bus ticket to Bulacan and getting free dental service, I’d take the latter and savor the free treats.

After getting the instructions from my dad on how to go to Bulacan, I reminded myself that I’ve been to places farther than this. And I’ve also been to similar situations where I had to commute to some place I’ve never been to. I remember during my AFAP days, when I was staying in Cavite for a month and I had to go home to Manila to return the toga and get the refund in DLSU, Dr. F only gave me instructions on what bus to take, where to be dropped off. Same goes for going back to Cavite, and it may not be the scariest thing in the world for you, but I’m known for my lack of street smarts. I always manage to get lost even with the instructions given to me. And commuting has never been a favorite hobby.

Well thankfully, I did not get lost today. I only took one bus and one jeep to get to my tito’s clinic, and the travel was only a little over an hour. But I did have two freaky experiences on my way to Bulacan.

Freaky experience no. 1: Modus Operandi

I was told to take a bus in front of SM going to “Sta. Maria”. Because of misinformation (SM to me meant SM Makati, to my dad SM Megamall), I ended up going to Cubao to wait for a bus going to Bocaue exit, which according to some helpful MMDAs, would lead me to the same route. It was a public bus, meaning no air-condition, and it was only my second time to ride in one.

As the conductor was collecting my ticket fare of 35 pesos, he said the lady in front who was seated on the third row had asked him to tell me to seat beside her. “Miss upo ka daw sa tabi nung babae, kababayan mo yata. Ay, kamag-anak mo daw pala siya.”

“Sino po?”

“Ayun o.” he points to this lady, and then the lady looks back at me, motioning me to come seat with her.

I was like, “eew, I don’t know her.” She looked like the manloloko type that you usually see on Imbestigador, the ones that are caught during entrapment operations. Something tells me it’s a modus operandi, so I was quick to tell the conductor that I’ve never seen her in my entire life, and that I don’t know her. And if I did have a relative, I’m pretty sure I won’t see him or her in a bus, least of all, in a non air-conditioned bus.

I was irked at that lady for thinking she could fool me just because I looked like a lost, spaced-out commuter. Okay, so looks can be deceiving. Pero bobo lang ang mga naniniwala sa ganun. At hindi ako bobo. I may have gotten lost on more than one occasion, but I am not stupid to fall for tactics like that. And who does? You don’t even have to seat beside her to know she is NOT a PART OF THE FAMILY. You just have to look at her and know, “hindi ganyan ang Abesamis.” And I made sure I did not let her get away with it. When she motioned for me to come for the second time, I snapped at her out loud, “Hindi kaya kita kilala”. People stopped and looked at her. And she got off afterwards.

FREAKY EXPERIENCE No. 2: annoying officer

I dislike MMDA officers because I have this general perception that they’re kurakot. I know that doesn’t hold true all the time, but when I think of MMDA, I think of lagay. While I was still in Makati waiting for the bus going to Cubao, this MMDA officer approached me and offered to help.

MMDA: Ma’am, saan po ba punta ninyo?
KZ: Sa Bulacan. San po ba yung sakayan papuntang Bulacan? Anong bus pwdeng sakyan?
MMDA: Taga san po ba kayo? Taga Bulacan?” (The logic of his question escaped me. Duh. I wouldn’t be asking what bus to take if i was from Bulacan).
KZ: Taga dito lang po.
MMDA: San, sa Makati?
KZ: Manong, san po ba yung sakayan?
MMDA: Sa Bangkal ka ba? Palanan? San Isidro?

Okay, he freaked me out. He was asking what baranggay I was from. Like, what does he need it for? Then he checks my slippers, and he goes, “Uy, Habayanas. Siguro taga village ka.”

He was such an annoying man. Instead of telling me where I was supposed to wait, he was checking up my on personal profile. And just as I was about to board the bus, he tells the conductor, “Paki-ingatan yan ah.”

Maybe that’s why that freaky little lady pulled up that trick on me. She might have thought I was this rich girl or whatever. Again, like teeth and skin, everything seems connected, doesn’t it?

More connections

And speaking of connections, it’s funny how people are quick to bring up connections whenever they’re in trouble, kind of like a troubleshooting mechanism. “Dont you know who i am?”, “Hindi mo ba kilala tatay ko?” “Kilala kami sa lugar na ito”. Power tripping. to some, just purely imaginations. Just like the driver of the taxi I rode this afternoon. When he was pulled up by this MMDA officer (I wasn’t even aware he violated anything), taxi driver was quick to bring up a name. “Si — pinsan ko po”. And the names kept changing and his relations with that person seemed to grow more and more bizarre. “Hindi po, dati po kasing pinsan yun nung asawa ko taga Marikina, mga kababata.” Ano daw?! And you know what made it funnier? The MMDA officer had the best answers. “Sino yun?” and “O ano ngayon?”

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