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)

Sunday, December 25, 2011


D has a particular gait, a shuffle almost, that he does when he’s particularly happy. It’s like a cross between a penguin and someone who’s constipated, or at least one who’s in dire need to do number two. His head swings left and right, and his steps are in small shuffles. He usually has a shy grin on his face as he shuffles, and when he stops, he more often than not says something like, “Yay!” or a variation thereof.

I know D needed to be home in Bataan for Christmas day, but I also know how difficult it is for him to get a bus ride home. So a week before Christmas I offered, “Let me drive you to Bataan.” I’ve always loved driving, and I don’t shy away from long road trips. Given his work schedule, he gets off Saturday morning, so we can only leave after his work.

7am, day before Christmas, D woke me up. “Let me just get my things and we’ll go,” he said. He packed just enough clothes for three days, and he counted the hundred-peso bills he’d distribute to his pamangkins. A quick shower and change into shorts and a t-shirt, and I was ready.

EDSA traffic wasn’t as heavy, but there were expected bottlenecks, especially in the areas where the provincial bus stations are located. But once we got to NLEX, it was a smooth ride all the way. D took a nap from my place to our first pit stop at a gas station. After that we were listening to music and watching the Luzon flatlands whiz by. I decided to skip San Fernando and the other Pampanga towns before Bataan because I didn’t want the holiday traffic and the slow, ubiquitous tricycles that slow down the drive. So I took SCTEX, which I think was also the first D passed through there.

“Wow, ang ganda ng view!” he yelled excitedly, as we saw the mountain ranges of what we suspect is where Subic is located.

Prior to the trip, I didn’t even check Orlando’s oil and water; I only had his tires inflated and his gas tank filled. I trusted he wouldn’t break down on me.

We got to the Dinalupihan exit, and after a few minutes we were at the plaza of D’s hometown. There was a convenience store nearby and I decided to buy a bottle of water to drink on my trip back to Manila.

“Thank you, hon! Happy holidays!” D beamed at me. He then grabbed his bags, including a paper bag containing shampoo for his dog May, and got out of Orlando. “Wala ba akong naiwan?” he looked around the back seat. “Do one final check,” I said. “All here!” he happily declared.

“See you in a few days,” I said to him.

And then he walked to the front of the convenience store, where the pedicabs were waiting for passengers. No, not walked; he shuffled his happy shuffle. I saw him flag down a pedicab, and waited until it drove away. Then I drove away.

At a constant, leisurely pace of around 80kph on the highway, I made it in around 5 hours (shorter had there been no traffic on EDSA leaving from and coming back to Manila).

I felt like Santa bringing a special gift to a family in Bataan. It was one happy road trip all the way.


Ms. Chuniverse said...

Ahhh... that is so sweet! Happy Christmas McVie! :)

Anonymous said...

ongsweetnaman ni papi! merry christmas sir!

fried-neurons said...

Sweet naman. In contrast, I can't even get my partner to drive me to the airport whenever I have to go on a business trip. "Call for a cab and expense it," he says. Take note, ha, the airport is only 10 minutes away from our house. lol