Friday, August 06, 2010


Traffic clogs the early morning streets of Baguio like hair in a drain. Only, when a sink is stuck with fragrant follicles and the accumulated, worthless collection of chin hair sprinkled randomly around the porcelain a tip of the tap will unleash water to go do what water does best -- disperse the flotsam of our lives with a forceful, almost gleeful blast of pure intent. Into the pipes, out of our physical lives, another morning ritual done, forgotten, after the piss and before the tie is tied. The gurgle of the bright green mouthwash acts as an interlude between the shave and the familiar, almost comforting sound of our own piss spraying the toilet.

No such mechanism of ordered division exists on the roads of our lives. The pavement that pushes us along. The yellow and white lines we obediently follow this way and that way, left to right, pass here, not there. These divisions are supposed to make things work. But the chrome of cars tucked all too tight into stationary positions of fumes and withheld mechanical fury, the augmented anger that inevitably arises from within the pit of one's stomach and the hood of one's car. Not the rage of a man learning his lover has left him for a smarter, but lesser, man. No, this is the percolating, daily drip of rage that somehow shoots upwards from within, out of one's stomach, detouring around the heart and egging its way into your throat and out of your prim, pursed lips after day one hundred and four of the constant inch, creep and crawl of machines in motion, as fast as an old woman with her walker doing her best. (And only seven miles to go!)

Something about the exhaust sickens these souls as they head towards work that will weaken them more. Black, brown, grey soot belches outwards from the backs of these cars like farts from an ox. There must be no regulations on these jeepneys and Frankenstein shitboxes. They barrel past the sign that claims this town as 'the cleanest city in the Philippines', belching their smoke as the ephemeral equivalent of a proverbial poke-in-the-ribs that counters the sign's claim with a visceral 'who are they kidding?'

No one.

I run by like a thief from the scene of his most ingenious new crime, bobbing and weaving between the gap between bumpers of cars that are still, avoiding eyes through the windshields that will, I know, glare with sad grit.