Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday Bedlam With K And E

“Hey, join us in Bed,” Chronicles of E invited me over YM. I knew why; Kane is in the middle of a painful break-up, and a night of friendly counseling capped by dancing seemed like the thing to do on a Friday evening.

As always I arrived earlier than they did. I’ve always known K to arrive in Bed no earlier than 3am, so I wasn’t surprised. This particular Friday crowd, always a little sparser compared to Saturdays, had a lot more pamhin; or was it that there fewer pa-girls? But I wasn’t on the prowl; I gave that up a long time ago. I was there to dance.

And to tell E that Tristan Tales said hi and requested a kiss from him—preferably on the lips. Yes, I tweeted my plans for the evening and Tristan requested for that kiss and to dance in his usual place on the ledge: front and center.

* * * * *

It was past 1am when the two arrived, but by that time the music stopped to make way for the Bed Bodies competition. So we stepped out to drink and chat at Che’lu (which was located on a temporary venue along the same street while their place was being renovated).

While we were chatting over bottles of San Mig Lite, E spotted a familiar face in the crowd. “Tita Malou!” he called out to her and went over to a thin, friendly-looking woman in the crowd. After exchanging pleasantries, he dragged her over to meet me.

“This is Tita Malou of the Social Hygiene Clinic,” he said as I shook her hand. “They’re conducting free HIV testing right now here! Gusto mo magpa-test?”

“Huh?!” I was thrown off-guard by the suddenness of it all. But after a pause, I said, “Sure!”

I have always wanted to have myself tested again. It has been years since I last had a test, and truth be told, while I’d like to think that I’ve been practicing safe sex, one can never be too sure. It’s very difficult to be coldly careful and logical in the heat of sex.

And so on a Friday evening, on a makeshift stand along Orosa Street, in the presence of passing vendors, street urchins, mendicants and party-people, I found myself clenching my fist as a volunteer sprayed something on my forearm and pointed a needle at my vein. Usually when I get injected I look away at the last minute so that I don’t anticipate when the needle pierces the skin. But for some weird reason, maybe because it was being done so out in the open, I decided to look straight at the needle as the volunteer plunged it into the vein. And I kept looking at it as she extracted my blood slowly.

I was given a code number and a date when I could call them, give my number, and they’ll tell me the results. Highly confidential—they never even asked me my name. It will take them several days before they get the results; for 100% accuracy, they took a lot of blood because they will run several tests to check and counter-check the results.

A male volunteer approached me: “Sir, may questionnaire lang po kami.” Apparently the number of HIV+ cases among men who have sex with other men was on an alarmingly steep rise, and they wanted to gather as much data as they can. I agreed, and he held up a voluminous questionnaire that, if each question was judiciously asked, would take 15 to 20 minutes for a respondent to finish answering—and that’s with the aid of an interviewer!

Lucky for them I was in a very chatty mood. The volunteer told me, “Sir, I’ll just ask you the important questions, we’ll just skip the others cuz it’ll take too long,” but I replied, “Bring it on!”

Ten minutes later (he decided to skip questions anyway), I was done.

K wanted to go back to Bed, so we bade Tita Malou and her crew adieu.

* * * * *

Inside the party was in full swing. The ledge was already full of people (though not as crowded, it being a Friday). I spotted EM, a former officemate of mine, in the crowd; the last time I’ve seen him was almost half a year ago. “Joeeeeeeeeeeeeeel!” he squealed and hugged me tight. Then he yelled to my face, “Let’s daaaaaance!” and dragged me up the ledge. Front and center, just as Tristan wanted.

“When Love Takes Over,” “Boom Boom Pow,” and “Hush Hush” came and went in quick succession. I was getting lost in the music. I saw K and E bopping just in front of the ledge. The whole place was rockin’ to the beat. But then Mariah Carey’s “Stay In Love” came on.

Baby, baby, I stay in love with you….

I saw K looking sheepishly at E as he fell into emo mode. But since E was there I knew K was in good hands, so I stayed dancing on the ledge.

And then Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone” boomed from the speakers: Remember all the things we wanted….

“Oh my god!” I yelled at K. “Number na natin ‘toh! Hahaha!” and I gave in to the music and lost myself in the dance.

But I want you to move on, so I’m already gone… already gone….

I glanced again and again at K. He wasn’t snapping out of his emo mode. Uh-oh. Okay, I’ll be selfish and just finish this song, I said to myself. It’s got a bitchin’ beat I didn’t want to waste. So I grooved and danced for the both of us, as if shimmying would shake the blues away.

So I’m already gone.

I jumped off the ledge and asked Karl, “Wanna go now?” and he quietly nodded. I turned to E and said, “And we’re gone.”

* * * * *

As we dropped off E at EDSA, I turned to face him and said, “Hey, you have a kiss from Tristan!” I had told him about it earlier, but that was before four bottles of beer; his reaction that time was just an embarrassed “Ay ganoon?” followed by a laugh and a flattered grin from ear to ear.

Ay, oo nga!” He had opened the back door to step out, but he leaned in again and planted a smack on my lips. “Bye! Ingat!” he said as he stepped out and slammed the door shut.

O ayan Tristan, may sayaw ka na, may kiss ka pa.

* * * * *

(For those interested to get tested for HIV, please contact Ms. Malou Tan of the SOCIAL HYGIENE CLINIC at 711-6942.

And P.S. – Yes, ruff nurse-du-jour, I was the one in the gray t-shirt making a fool of myself on the ledge. Yes, you should have introduced yourself. ☺)


MrCens said...

a complete movie package... SUSPENSE, HIV testing; ACTION, dancing; and ROMANCE, the parting kiss.

hahaizzz... i miss malate!

sir McVie, sana makita kitang sumasayaw. is doc tony took snapshots from you? hmmm... let me check.

joelmcvie said...

@McCENS: I rarely see Doc Tony there unless Saturday evenings. Even then hindi na siya madalas kumukuha ng pictures.

Tristan Tan said...

I've been having the lousiest weekend so far but seriously this post changed everything. Haha. Thanks McVie for taking front and center, it's just the way I'd like to dance. And to Chronicles of E, that kiss was magical. Haha. I'd get one myself next year. Haha.

joelmcvie said...

@TRISTAN: Random fact: you, E and I are all Pisceans.

Tristan Tan said...

Ha ha so that explains it. Ang gaganda natin. LOL

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

i'll muster the guts to introduce myself next time.

so, when'll be that next time? :-)

joelmcvie said...

@RUFF: How about this Saturday? See you there!