Wednesday, November 01, 2006


THERE’S a sign between Windows 3 and 4. DON’T DEAL WITH FIXERS. Next to it taped onto Window 4 is a piece of paper with a fake P100 bill. Can’t read what the writing underneath says. Probably something to do with it being prohibited as well—“it” being the fake bill. The obvious never seems to be so anymore.

There are two men sitting behind me. They notice the sign. One asks the other why fixers are now prohibited. He complains that they’re taking away a means of livelihood for those people. Such is the perspective in which he’s living. There are many like him.

A lady behind Window 7 starts calling out names over the loudspeaker. One by one people dressed in everything from crisp T-shirts to torn sandos have their pictures taken by a small webcam. More than a few are tickled to be signing their names onto a black rubber thing. Their signatures magically appear on the screen in front of the lady behind the window. She tells them to get out of the way for the next person.

Every so often a name is repeated more than once. Still no one shows up at the window. The lady gets mad. She scolds everyone over the loudspeaker. Then six to seven show up in succession. The lady is happy again. She pauses to receive a banana from a manang. She peels it and starts to eat. She calls the next name. A man’s. He doesn’t show. While chewing and waving a yellow peel, the lady scolds everyone again.

A whiteboard is wheeled in front of the waiting area. An old man in polo barong walks out with a folder and a rag. He uses the rag to wipe the board clean. He writes his name, his occupation, and his phone number. Blue ink labels him a DRIVING TRAINOR (yes, trainer with an “o”). His first lesson: age requirements for getting a student permit, a non-professional license, and a professional. 16, 17, 18. Three men sitting along the front benches get up to move to the back. Some pay attention. Most are just annoyed.

It’s nearing 10AM. Was here since 7:30. Still waiting.


Happy Birthday Anne Calma (October 31)!

Thanks for inviting me last night. Sorry I wasn't in the best of moods. But I actually had fun. A slight hangover this morning is proof of that.


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