My Weird Neighborhood People

Who doesn’t have one?

I come home from work being greeted by a dog who magically appears from the dark; a dog whose bark was a little hoarse months before like a prepubescent pimply high school kid; a spitz I’d like to cuddle but really, it would gnarl and bite my arm without those metal railings.

I sleep at night being lulled by a demon-like cat who laughs and cries like a demon-vampire and I wonder why the neighborhood isn’t out there with their pointed bamboo poles to put holes to its furry body.

I open my eyes in the morning being woken up by a rooster with the soul of a dog. Its repeating crows transmute into barks like those of a rabid dog gargling its drool.

These days, the roaches are out hiding, maybe in the drainage where they will emerge dead upside-down during the rainy season when it’s flooding. The mouse and rats, I haven’t seen them lately. No creature is crawling over my feet as I twist the key in the gate lock. That old rat who is un-frightened or just plain deaf — it’s gone.

My weird neighborhood people — they are awake at night and asleep in the morning. I hear muffled grungy guitar exhibition in the midnight like a recital for the nocturnal spirits; I sip my coffee while a live acoustic session plays early in the morning — whoo-hoo-hoo, whoo-hoo-hoo, who can ask me for more? — they’ve been practicing The Cardigans in a looped succession.

My weird neighborhood people — I belong to this place; a domicile I choose over pearly white walls and deafening silence.

Here’s Shake Yer Head by Eraserheads:

I was born upside-down
I felt my grandma put my feet on the ground
They put a spoon in my mouth
And everyone was shocked to hear me shout

Flowering Macopa
Kalantiaw St., Cubao Quezon City, 8:10 A.M.

Flowering Macopa. It’s the season of Macopa and it showers the ground with flower-dust once again.

Reverse Painting
Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City, 8:23 A.M.

Reverse Painting. The man was painting the asphalt with black paint to contrast the white STOP sign painted on the ground.

Solid R
EDSA near MRT Cubao Station, 8:36 A.M.

Solid R. Solid ride in this taxi.

Well I knew I couldn’t take all the dog food that they make
I’d just as soon as put myself on a stake and burn

EDSA near MRT Cubao Station, 8:36 A.M.

Lala-Mon. Jejemon’s gluttonous cousin.

Express Makeup
Somewhere along EDSA, 8:37 A.M.

Express Makeup. I feel pree-tee… Women all around the public make up their faces while they commute.

I saw it comin’ around
I saw it comin’ around, yeah
I saw it comin’ around
So I just, yeah
Shook my head and walked away

Red Light
EDSA near Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City, 8:38 A.M.

Red Light. Pedestrians waiting to cross EDSA.

EDSA, Cubao, Quezon City, 8:40 A.M.

J-Biel’s. Have you eaten at Jessica Biel’s Food Express?

Nice Hat
EDSA and B. Serrano Ave., Quezon City, 8:44 A.M.

Nice Hat. Mr. Police officer, why smirking?

I grew up in a town
Where everybody tried to push me around
The girls were alright but the guys were tough
They’re always buggin’ me with macho stuff

Bus is Crossing
EDSA and B. Serrano Ave., Quezon City, 8:44 A.M.

Bus is Crossing. Killer buses on the loose – it’s my breakfast news.

EDSA, 8:48 A.M.

Freedom. Ride the Kalayaan taxi and fly like a bird.

Well, I ain’t no stupid fighter
I go for flower power
I’ve been running every race
Just to save my face, yeah

EDSA, 8:48 A.M.

Terno. Sweet ride — arms wrapped around.

Joy & Bebz
EDSA, 8:49 A.M.

Joy & Bebz. Appending a letter z to your name is equivalent to adding a letter h somewhere in the middle of it — only a little classy. Bhoy, Ghirlie, Jhun, Mhonette, Lhinda, Jhessie — you encountered these people at one point in your life.

EDSA, 8:50 A.M.

Chedeng. My grandfather used to own a white Mercedes-Benz 280S (or a related model). Since it was already worn-out from years of usage, we decided to jampack it with ten people to save up fare.

I saw it comin’ around
I saw it comin’ around, yeah
I saw it comin’ around
So I just, yeah
Shook my head and walked away

Willy Boy
EDSA, 8:50 A.M.

Willy Boy. Everyone in Philippines has his or her Tito Willy and Kuya Willy.

Big Wheel, Small Wheel
EDSA, 8:50 A.M.

Big Wheel, Small Wheel. An attention-grabber for a Castrol GTX sludge protection oil advertisement.

EDSA, 8:50 A.M.

Learned. Maybe they mean “some lesson learned“.

Well, they try to see if you care
It’s just a matter of not begging for more
You know, it’s really suicidal to just give in
With people you can never really be sure

EDSA, 8:50 A.M.

Jebs. This taxi is always in a hurry. Jebs is the Filipino word for shit.

Roll Down
EDSA, 8:50 A.M.

Roll Down. Once, I threw a consumed cigarette out of a taxi; it bounced off the half-opened window, fell behind the backseat.

If There is Smoke
EDSA, 8:52 A.M.

If There is Smoke. Someone’s cooking (or burning dried leaves) under the flyover.

Oh-oh, when it gets down to this they’ll eat you up
When the words get in your head they’ll get you up
It’s a saving grace to have enough
When you find yourself in a compromising spot

MMDA Means
EDSA near Ortigas Ave., 8:52 A.M.

MMDA Means. Marangal Matapat Disiplinado Ako (Honorable Honest Disciplined Me).

EDSA near Ortigas Ave., 8:53 A.M.

Towards. Walking while texting has, so far, not caused any casualties.

EDSA near Ortigas Ave., 8:53 A.M.

Bare. Street kid wandering around in his birthday shoes.

You should know, you shouldn’t take all that dog food that they make
You’d just as soon as put yourself on a stake and burn

MRT Ortigas Ave. station elevator, 8:56 A.M.

Button. All elevators in MRT stations are moving in turtle-speed.

My Bed in the Middle
MRT Ortigas Ave. station bridge, 8:56 A.M.

My Bed in the Middle. This is his territory.

Well-groomed Guitar Man
From MRT Ortigas Ave. station, northbound, 8:58 A.M.

Well-groomed Guitar Man. He sings Rey Valera or Freddie Aguilar songs as people pass by.

You’ll see it comin’ around
You’ll see it coming, comin’ around
When you see it coming around
You just, yeah
Shake yer head and walk away


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