Tuesday, September 10, 2002


On the way back from my meeting with the spice client, I got stuck in horrible traffic along EDSA. One would think, having grown up in Manila, that one would be used to the inevitable slowing down of everything once a certain time approaches. Sadly, it isn’t true.

It’s remarkable how everything just…stops – that odd time when people on the buses look down at the people in cars who in turn busy themselves with their radio, CD player or cellphone.

Once in a while, eye contact is made. Sudden, baring and uncomfortable, a tension line of common ennui broken by the social imperative that it is not polite to stare. At least not for long.

My mind, bored to shreds, sought a story from those eyes I met, hoping for a dazzling epiphany of sequence and progression – what brought him to this time and place? Why is she so sad? Is that child really his?

Why is she looking at me like that?

Crossing our impudent gazes, the occasional vendor hawks his wares, candies, cigarettes, tabloids and peanuts, and I realize that the story I seek cannot ever be found, certainly not by itself. And even if I did manage to eke out the narrative hidden in the margins of the space between cars and buses, I am certain I wouldn’t know what it meant, if it meant anything at all.

We are all held in stasis, waiting for the light to change, the light whose semiotic significance is the only common thing understood by all in a place where tabloid headlines tell us nothing at all.

Then we all move without moving, the vehicles carrying us lurching a few precious feet, and the illusion of progression takes sway again, and we all believe we are getting somewhere.



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